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How to password protect a USB drive in OSX Mountain Lion

Do you carry sensitive data on a USB memory stick or external hard drive? Would you feel better if all the contents were protected in case you lost it? If you’ve updated to Mac OS Mountain Lion, a handy new feature will let you protect your personal files in a flash.

Firstly, a few notes to bear in mind before we begin:

  • Your USB stick must be Mac formatted, and therefore will not work on a PC. For help formatting your USB drive click here.
  • Your USB drive will not work on a Mac which is running OS 10.7 (Lion) or earlier.

Step 1
Plug in your USB drive. Open finder and locate it on the menu on the left hand side. It is listed under the heading ‘Devices’. Right/Control click and select ‘Encrypt’

Step 2
A new window will appear asking you to choose a password and hint. The password will be required each time you plug in your USB drive. The hint will help you remember your password in case you forget. Be careful, if you can’t recall your password there is no chance of retrieving your data.

Step 3
Wait. It can take a good few minutes to encrypt your drive. It will disappear and remount once it has finished. Thats it! Your disk is now password protected. Each time you plug in your drive you’ll be presented with the following screen:

Encrypting personal data is an extremely important and offers piece of mind, especially if you are responsible for other people’s sensitive data too. Use the links below to share this info with a friend.


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