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How to place password to an external USB hard drive in Windows 7

Posted on 2010-08-22
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Last Modified: 2013-12-04
I have a Seagate USB external hard drive 500gb (this is being used in Windows 7)

          Product: PORTABLE EXT DRIVE
          Model:   ST905004EXA101-RK

I use it mainly for backup and transfer sensitive documents.

I would like some sort of password or security on the drive that would only permit me to access it.  I have noticed some USB pendrives that comes with similar software; can we set the up on this drive? Whats the best of doing this?
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Question by:rayluvs
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collinbentley1 earned 200 total points
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Ramante,

In my personal experiences the best way to make sure you external drives are secure, is to us the TrueCrypt program.

TrueCrypt makes the drive encrypted (A+ Security) requiring a password to access.

Free Download

http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads

C.B.
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Expert Comment

by:flexiwebsw
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There is third-perty software available to do this

Try this one, it costs around £20

http://www.newsoftwares.net/usb-secure/

And best of all it does not require any special drivers or admin rights to work.
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Expert Comment

by:flexiwebsw
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@collinbentley1 - I was going to suggest true crypt too, as i use it on my home and work machines, however i have found that even the portable version is a problem for general use as it required admin rights to work correctly, so if your on a machine without admin rights, you cannot access your data.
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by:rayluvs
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ok... im looking for something free (for now)...  how secure is TrueCrypt ? any experience on it?
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by:flexiwebsw
flexiwebsw earned 300 total points
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I use truecrypt all the time at both home and work, its brilliant, its got multiple encryption methods including 128-bit AES but it can encrypt files with multiple algorithms to make them more secure, it also has the function of making a ghost drive so if you are forced to reveal your password, then you giv e a different password which will open a different drive that hasnt got all of your stuff on it, a fake drive to protect your files.

i would definately recommend true crypt if your admin on all machines you want to use it on, it comes with a handy portable app for encrypting and decrypting your drive so you dont have to install it on every machine.
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
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Almost convince, but prior testing it, does its work on:

    - USB pendrive
    - IDE Drives
    - SATA Drives
    - SCSI Drives

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Expert Comment

by:collinbentley1
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Yes TrueCrypt works on almost all commercial devices,


C.B.
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by:rayluvs
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Thanx, last questions:

1. You said "is a problem for general use as it required admin rights", how can that be
     a problem for me?

2. Can I encrypt certain disk area or storage on my C; drive, like "My Documents"

3. The installation is always on my C: drive, or is it Drive-dependent, that is, has to run
     installed for each drive being use?

4. I was about to install and notice that its says "Add to startup".  Does it encrypt my C: drive
    automatically or after install is just an apps, that I can choose later what drive is going to be
    encrypted?  (for now I only want my external USB drive)

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Assisted Solution

by:collinbentley1
collinbentley1 earned 200 total points
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1. As long as you use it on a drive/ computer that you own you will be fine.

2. Yes you can choose to encrypt certain areas only.

3. always on your C: drive

4. On your C: drive you are just installing the program then from there you choose what you want to secure on you External HD.

C.B.
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by:rayluvs
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Ok thanx... I'll try right now!
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by:rayluvs
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We just ran the application.  We noticed that it works where TrueCrypt is installed.

The problem I have here is that the drive I use for backup, I also use certain folders for other purposes and connected to other PC not my own.  

Is there a utility that permits to protect a USB contents and also permit to open in other PC without installing the software on other PCs?
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Expert Comment

by:collinbentley1
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Ramante,


Sorry unfortunately TrueCrypt is your only protection option.

What you could do is put a copy of the program on an unprotected part of the HD and then install it on other machines.
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
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But about those type of program that usually comes with USB penddrive?
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Expert Comment

by:OriNetworks
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Use bitlocker which  is a new feature if windows 7
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
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Where is it? I can't find it
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Expert Comment

by:flexiwebsw
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i dont recommend bitlocker at all, however truecrypt has the option to make a portable version, just put this on an unprotected partition on your hard drive.
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Assisted Solution

by:flexiwebsw
flexiwebsw earned 300 total points
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Heres a few screenshots that show how to make a portable version from within truecrypt:
truecrypt1.png
truecrypt2.png
truecrypt3.png
truecrypt4.png
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by:rayluvs
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When u say portable version of truecrypt, that means I can set it up in a USB and goto my colleague PC, which has no truecrypt installed, and read in the USE and it will ask for password?
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by:flexiwebsw
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you will have to go to the partition that is not encrypted and run the truecrypt application, you can then mount it fom there but yes you could access your usb from a colleague pc.
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by:rayluvs
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Ok, so I setup my USB, encrypt it, save some data on it, go to another PC that has no truecrypt software installed, and when I insert the USB:

-  the data in the USB will be totally inaccessible
- it will prompt for my password
- when given, I get to see the data on the other PC normally

Is this correct?
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
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WHY don't you recommend BitLocker?

Also, bit locker is ONLY available on Windows Ultimate and Windows Enterprise (basically the same thing).
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Expert Comment

by:digitap
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How much data are we talking about?  Here is an option our doctors use for portable encryption.  It's not free like TrueCrypt, but it's ready to use as soon as you open the package.  No installation necessary.

https://store.ironkey.com/basic


As far as making TrueCrypt portable.

http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/?s=truecrypt-portable
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
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leew:

    I don't use BitLocker because here I was recommended not.
    I have Windows 7 pro, where is it in the Processional version?
    Also, based on your expierence, why do you recommend BitLocker over TrueCrypt?


digitap:

   The amount of data is around 500gb (my question refers to a USB external drive)
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Expert Comment

by:digitap
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OK...I see the size in the model description.  Sorry.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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Both products are fine.  I have one client and TrueCrypt is used on all laptops running XP while bitlocker is used on the new ones running Win7.  My inquiry as to why not to use it was more towards flexiwebsw - simply saying he doesn't recommend it at all - WHY?  If someone doesn't recommend something, then they should EXPLAIN why... and even if they do recommend it.  Maybe he doesn't recommend it because he is Microsoft Bias and has no good reason not to use it?
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
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Thanx leew, is BitLocker in Windows 7 Professional?
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
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No - Ultimate and Enterprise only.
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
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Ok, so I have to stick with truescript.
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
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So do I have to stick with truescript?
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Expert Comment

by:PowerIT
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Yes, stick with TrueCrypt. It has everything you requested and more (like also runs on OS X and Linux).
And from a security standpoint it is also an excellent product. I would even say more scrutenized then most (if not all) commercial products. And the documentation is also up to par.
Never had a problem with it.

kr, J.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
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Either stick with TrueCrypt or upgrade Windows.

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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
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Thanx All!
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