Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

How To Encrypt A USB Drive on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux

VeraCrypt128x128I wrote yesterday (at about VeraCrypt, an excellent drive encryption program that is available free of charge. VeraCrypt has several options but the most common use probably is to encrypt an entire hard drive or a partition within a hard drive. A blog reader wrote and asked, “Can VeraCrypt encrypt an external hard drive that plugs in via a USB connector?” I thought I would share the answer here in case anyone else has the same question.

The quick answer is, “Yes. VeraCrypt can encrypt an external hard drive or a flashdrive (memory stick) that plugs in via a USB connector.”

Complete instructions for Windows users are given at Complete instructions for Linux users are given at

While there is a version of VeraCrypt for Macintosh, I’d suggest that Mac owners should use the FileVault program that is already included on your Macintosh. It is available free of charge, is written by Apple, is supported by Apple, and has an excellent reputation for adding security and privacy to your Mac’s hard drive(s).See Use FileVault to encrypt the startup disk on your Mac on the Apple Support web site at for instructions.

Both VeraCrypt and FileVault perform the same function but I’d suggest that using FileVault is a bit better because you can obtain free telephone and/or email support from Apple on that product, if needed. You can even take your Mac to the Apple Store and obtain face-to-face assistance with FileVault at the Genius Bar. See for information about obtaining Apple support.

In contrast, support for VeraCrypt is the same as most other free software: various online communities with forums for obtaining help.


Categories: Encryption

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