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HOW TO: Encrypt External Hard drive Quickly on Mac OS X ?

Today external disks has got huge amount of memory as well as become ultra thin for better mobility. So the trend has changed to more usage of external disks than the internal hard drives on the computer. Especially in Mac, we have a default application called Time machine which helps us to backup user data to an external drive periodically. So we have to use the internal hard drive only for installed applications and use the external drive for backup. Here comes the actual problem, when you backup, there may be some confidential or sensitive data stored along with other application and user data. To prevent any misuse, it must be protected with high encryption algorithms.

Here we have one such data protection mechanism that keeps all your data to be stored in the backup safe and security with some good encryption technique in the backup taken from Mac.


Encryption is nothing but making your external disk password protected. So whenever you connect the disk to a PC or Mac it will ask password to access the drive. Whether it’s a 2GB SD Card or a 2TB external drive you can easily encrypt on Mac OS X. Let’s see the steps to encrypt the external disc.

HOW To Encrypt External Drive On Mac OS X ?

Step 1: Connect the external drive to your Mac. Go to finder and right click on that particular drive, choose Encrypt external disk name.

Step 2: Once you did that a Window will pop up and ask you to set a password for that particular drive. It is recommended to have a strong password for you external disk. So that nobody can’t easily guess the password and access it without your permission. A strong password must be a combination of alphabets, numbers and symbols. If you don’t have any idea about creating a strong password you can use web services like Strong Password Generator, PC Tools, etc, to create a strong password with desired number of characters. Minimum of 8 characters is recommended.


Step 3: Once you enter the password don’t forget to give a valid password hint. Because if you forgot the password it is the only source to recall it. Make sure you remember the password or else make a note of your password on applications like 1Password, etc. If you forgot the password that is all you will lose the data.

Step 4: Once you click the encrypt button, the process will take place based on the storage capacity. If it is a 2 or 4 GB USB Stick the process will be quick but if you encrypt some TB’s of storage the process will take more time. The ratio of high storage devices will be around 1GB per minute.

Once you done with the encryption and disconnected, next time when you connect the drive, just enter the password and access it. These are the steps involved in encrypting an external disk. Try this on your Mac and share your experience with us in the comment box. Thanks for reading.

About the Author: Robin C

Security Consultant, Engineer, Technology Enthusiast and Blogger.

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