USB drive is a great tool for you to bring your data anywhere you go without having to lull the whole computer along. The bad thing is, it is small in size and can easily be misplaced or stolen by others. When such incident occurs, the last thing that you want to happen is to let others view your confidential data, and probably do something bad with them.
In Windows 7, there is this new Bitlocker To-Go function that allows you to encrypt your USB drive. In the event that your drive is stolen, there is no way that others can access your data, unless he/she has your password.
If you have not installed Windows 7 on your computer, we do have a great tutorial that teaches you how to do so.
In your computer (the one running Windows 7), plug in your USB drive.
Go to Control Panel -> System and Security -> Bitlocker Drive Encryption. Click Turn On Bitlocker for the removable drive option
You will be asked the method you want to use to unlock the drive (after encryption). There are two methods available: Password or Smart Card. Password is the easier one, but less powerful. In this case, I picked Password.
It will then prompt you to save/print your recovery key. This will come in useful if you have forgotten the password in the future.
Once you are done with the setting, click Next to start encrypting your USB drive. The whole process will take quite some time, depending on the size of your device.
You should see the following message when the encryption is done.
To check if your USB drive is really encrypted, unmount and remount the the USB drive. If the encryption is intact, it will prompt you to enter your password.
Note: If you are using a Windows version other than Windows 7 Ultimate, the Bitlocker To-Go encryption only allows you to read and copy files from the USB drive. You won’t be able to edit or add new files to the drive.
To decrypt the USB drive, simply follow the same procedure as above, but select Turn Off Bitlocker in the control panel.