Password Protect your USB Memory Stick.

Do you carry around a memory stick full of personal or sensitive data? Would you or your company be compromised should somebody get their hands it without your permission?
Well, do yourself a favour, and encrypt your flash drive with a password.

Once the drive is secured with a password, it will not be readable, unless the correct password is provided.

Note the following though:

  • The drive will only work on other Macs, running Mac OS X Lion. No prior versions of Mac OS X or Windows/Linux will support the drive. They will register it as a corrupted drive.
  • The password will need to be typed in every time, unless you choose the option to save the password in your keychain. So long as you are the only person using your Mac, this will be fine. It will create a seamless security option on your machine, and prompt for the password on any other.
  • The Password is not recoverable! If you forget it, you can kiss the data on the disk goodbye. You will be able to reformat the drive and reuse it again, but without the data of course.
  • This process requires the disk to be completely formatted, meaning that any data currently on it will be lost forever, so it will be a good idea to copy this data to a safe location in the mean time.
Here’s how to encrypt your memory stick:
1. Insert the USB stick and open the Disk Utility (Finder -> Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility).

2. On the left of the window, you will see your disk listed. You will easily identify it by its name or its size. Be sure to select the disk, and not the partition. The partition is listed beneath the disk, and is slightly indented.
3. Select the Erase tab in the Disk Utility window. Select the format that the disk should be formatted to.  Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted). In the Name field, type whatever you wish to call the memory stick. 
4. Click the Erase button. You’ll be prompted for your new password for the drive. Due to the fact that you cannot recover the password, it might be a good idea to set a hint. The hint will appear should you struggle with the password in the future. 
5. Select the Erase button again from the dialog box, and it will begin the process. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or two, depending on the size of the drive.
6. That’s it! You can start using your newly encrypted flash drive.
I found this tip in the amazing compilation called Mac Kung Fu. Check it out on if your keen to see all of the 300 Tips and tricks published inside. I will be posting some cool ones in the coming days.
As always, Enjoy!

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