How can I password protect a USB hard disk or flash drive on Linux and Windows?

Martin November 10, 2010
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Can anyone suggest FREE software for Linux (Ubuntu specifically) AND Windows that will prompt me for a password when I insert an external HDD of flash drive (thumb drive, memory stick, etc.)?

Please note, I’d rather not use encryption software, but I will if I can still run backup programs on the drive(s). And I definitely don’t want to use volumes. Ultimately, I simply want to plug in the USB drive or stick and voila, I’m prompted for a password before I or my backup software can proceed. Essentially, I think I’m looking for something to HIDE my folders and files.

Suggest anything, but please be SURE it meets my needs mentioned above. Or, if you think there’s a better way I’m all ears, but it can’t get in the way of my backups as they happen usually when my computer is unattended.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

  1. Tairshok
    January 8, 2011 at 6:08 am

    What if it was a non-pdf documents on an ebook reader. I do understand that pdf can be password protected, but what about the other formats!!
    I think this is a big problem with these book readers, they are unsecured and you can not encrypt a book because you will not be able to read it .

  2. Dan
    November 17, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    If you can't be bothered to learn and use an encryption utility Truecrypt, then there's no real solution to your problem unless you're willing to buy hardware encrypted USBs like IronKey. I've been using Truecrypt with USBs for three years and have no problem making weekly backups.

  3. pceasies
    November 10, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    If you don't use encryption then someone can still access your file without the password. I'd say TrueCrypt is your best bet. You'd either have to install it and convert the whole drive or copy it over and make a volume.

    • Vitaly Gusarov
      November 16, 2010 at 10:39 am

      Really the best choice!