How to Encrypt Your Own Windows and Mac Devices (and Why You Need To) – Lifehacker

Data encryption makes it nearly impossible for someone to access a protected file without the proper decryption key or password. Many apps use encryption to keep your data safe, including password managers, VPNs, and even some messaging appsbut you should be encrypting more than just the data you share online.

We all store important files and information on our computers and USB hard drives, and unless that data is properly secured, its an easy target for snoopers, thieves, and even hackers.

Luckily, there are multiple ways to quickly encrypt your Mac or Windows devices, so well go over each option available for both platformsthat way you can add an extra layer of security to every file, folder, and app stored on your computers and hard drives.

Mac computers include a built-in encryption tool called FileVault, and its available for all Mac users. You can use it to encrypt the Mac itself or add password protection to external USB drives.

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Windows PCs are a bit harder to encrypt. While Microsoft does offer encryption tools like Device encryption and BitLocker in most versions of Windows, theyre only available to enterprise users. Neither option is available to Windows Home users, who likely make up the majority of general Windows users out there.

Well go over how to use Device encryption and BitLocker for Windows enterprise users, but Windows Home users will want to skip down to learn about third-party options.

Not all PCs are equipped with the right hardware to enable Device encryption. However, Windows Enterprise users can also encrypt drives using Windows BitLocker.

BitLocker can also encrypt external USB drives:

Since device encryption and BitLocker are not available on Windows Home editions, most Windows users will need a third-party encryption app to protect their PCs and local hard drives. There are many solid choices out there, such as AxCrypt, Folder Lock, and NordCrypt, but most will cost you moneyusually around $30-$50 per year, depending on the products features.

Paying for that encryption is worth it, though, and most programs include bonuses like password ratings, two-factor authentication, and more.

Many of these programs also let you encrypt external USB storage devices. Some hard drive manufacturers, such as Seagate, also include proprietary encryption methods for their storage devices. The exact steps will differ between apps, but the general flow will be the same:

Regardless of which method you use, dont forget to securely store passwords (or other decryption methods) so you can always get back into your locked files, folders, and drives.


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How to Encrypt Your Own Windows and Mac Devices (and Why You Need To) - Lifehacker

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