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how do i password protect an external hard drive windows 10? – Explore all details

Data security is becoming more important as technology continues to advance. You need to protect the sensitive information on your external hard drive from unauthorized access. This article will guide you through the steps to password protect your external hard drive in Windows 10.

Why password protect your external hard drive?

External hard drives have become more useful as their storage capacity has increased. Both businesses and individuals use external hard drives to store a wide range of files including sensitive personal information, important business documents and multimedia content. The consequences of theft, loss or unauthorized access could be severe. You can add another layer of protection to your external hard drive by password-protecting it. This will keep your data private and secure.

Password Protection using BitLocker

BitLocker is a built-in tool that encrypts data. It’s one of the easiest ways to protect an external hard drive with a password on Windows 10.

Enabling bitLocker on your external hard drive

Windows Enterprise, Pro or Education editions are required to use BitLocker. Windows 10 Home Edition does not support BitLocker.

  1. Connect your external drive to your computer.
  2. Find your external hard drive by opening ‘This PC or My Computer’. You should find it under the Devices’ and ‘Drives’ section.
  3. Click on the hard drive that you wish to protect and select “Turn BitLocker on”.
  4. BitLocker now will initialize the drive. This could take several minutes depending on your hard drive’s size.

Setup BitLocker

  1. A new window will appear once BitLocker initializes your hard drive. You will be asked to choose how you wish to unlock the hard drive.
  2. Choose ‘Use password to unlock drive’. Enter a strong, unique password into the fields provided. Your password should contain a mix of letters, numbers and special characters.
  3. Click on ‘Next’ to continue.

Back up Your Recovery Key

BitLocker provides a recovery code after you have set your password. This key allows you to access your drive in the event that you forget your password, or if your drive is having problems.

  1. You can save the recovery code to your Microsoft account or to a document.
  2. Keep your recovery key safely stored.
  3. Click ‘Next’ after saving the recovery key.

Start the encryption process

Now you’re ready to encrypt the external hard drive.

  1. You’ll be asked to select between two encryption options. ‘Encrypt only used disk space’ or Encrypt entire drive’. The first option is quicker if you are setting up a brand new drive. Choose the second option if the drive has already been used.
  2. Click ‘Next’ after making your selection.
  3. Select ‘Start Encrypting’ on the next screen. The encryption process may take several minutes or even hours depending on your hard drive’s size. Make sure your computer is on while this process takes place.

Your drive will be password-protected once the encryption process is complete. You will be asked to enter the password every time you plug in your drive.


Protecting your data with a password on your external hard drive can be a crucial step. Windows 10 offers a simple and effective way to implement this security measure. It’s important to use a strong recovery key and create a password that is difficult to guess. You can rest assured that your files will be safe even if you lose or steal your hard drive if you follow these steps.


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