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Password protect your data on a USB stick...

We first need to install some software onto the USB stick which will manage the locking and unlocking of the data with encryption. The basic principle can also be applied to a folder.

Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it. Unencrypted data is called plain text ; encrypted data is referred to as cipher text.

The process of setting up a password protected USB stick is quite straight forward, but to make things even easier, I've created a step by step guide.

Please Note: Once setup, dont forget your password or you will effectively lock yourself out of your stored data.

First you'll need to download VeraCrypt, our great free software of choice.

You can get it now from here https://veracrypt.codeplex.com. Or a mirror link here Version 1.19. Remember where its downloaded too.

Before we get started, first plug in and format your USB stick ready for the encryption software. (Note: This will wipe everything off the USB stick so copy anything you want to keep the the computer first.) If you are unsure what to do, right click on the USB Stick in Windows Explorer and choose Format. Also Make a note of the capacity.

Now lets get started, double click on the downloaded VeraCrypt file and click Yes or Run to the UAC that opens.
Agree to the License Terms and click Next.
In the next windows choose Extract and again click next.
Click Ok and Yes to the popups that appear.
By default the needed files with be extracted to a folder on the desktop, click extract to get the files.
To complete, click Ok and Finish.
We now have the files to encrypt our USB stick.

OK open the VeraCrypt folder thats been placed on the desktop and highlight all the files inside except anything that starts Language.
Now right click on any one of the highlighted files and choose Copy.

Next, open Windows Explorer to your USB stick and right click on the empty space and choose Paste.

Everything we need is now on the USB stick, but before we continue setting things up, we are going to tidy things up a little.
Highlight all the files on the USB stick except for the VeraCrypt and VeraCrypt-x64 applications.
Now again right click on any one of the highlight files and choose Properties.

From the new Window that appears, tick the box Hidden.
This as you can guess will hide all files except what we need visible.

Lets start the setup process, to begin double click the VeraCrypt application on the USB stick if you are running Windows 32bit, else run VeraCrypt-x64 for 64bit systems.
If you are unsure run the 64bit version and if it gives a message you are using the wrong version, run the 32bit application.
From the Window thats now opened select Create Volume.

Next, make sure the top option 'Create an encrypted file container' is selected.
Click next

Choose Standard VeraCrypt Volume and click next.

In the next Window click on Select File.
Now make sure that your on your USB stick and create a file name, I've used MyVault.txt, then click on Save.

Make sure the file will be created on your USB stick and click Next.

In the Encryption Options, just leave all as is and click Next.

Now its time to create the size of our Vault, remember 1GB = 1024MB. Also the files needed to run the Encryption takes up just less than 25MB. Put in the size of your vault and click Next.

Now enter your password of choice, the longer the better, but its up to you.
the Click Next.

Make sure the file system is set to NTFS for larger drives (4GB or more).
Now move the mouse around the screen continiously until the randomness bar has filled.
Click Format.

Nothing to do here but wait for the Vault to be created.
A successful message will eventually appear, click OK.

Thats it, we've successfully made our password protected vault.
Click on exit to finish.

To access your vault on any computer, as before run the VeraCrypt or VeraCrypt-x64 application.
From the main Window select you MyVault file.

Also click on the drive letter you would like your Vault to appear as to Windows.

Now click on Mount.

Enter your password.
Click Ok.

Your secure USB stick will now appear in Windows Explorer under the drive letter you chose earlier.
Use it like any other memory stick.

Once your finished using the USB vault, click on Dismount to lock the USB stick back up.

Thats it, now you can keep all you data safe.