Edit and save files on your USB or external hard drive

Updated on 7 July 2023

To use your removable media on a Windows 10 One Dundee Desktop, you first need to encrypt it (if you haven't already) with BitLocker. You will be prompted to do this when you plug it into the computer, making it password protected from that point on.

On this page

Encryption is an effective method of protecting data stored on portable USB and external hard drives. It encodes data, ensuring it can only be read by someone who has the right encryption key (password) to decode it. This means that if your drive is lost or stolen, unauthorised users can't access the information contained on it. BitLocker Drive Encryption (D:) is enabled on all Windows 10 One Dundee Desktops, so you can't edit or save files to your drive when using one of these computers unless it is BitLocker encrypted.

Encrypt your USB or external hard drive

  1. Insert your USB or external hard drive into the computer
  2. Wait for the BitLocker Drive Encryption (D:) window to appear
  3. Choose how you want to unlock the drive - if you want to edit and save files to the drive, select Encrypt this drive using BitLocker Drive Encryption
  4. Check Use a password to unlock the drive, enter and re-enter your preferred password (tip: string three random but memorable words together to use as a strong password), then click Next. You will then be prompted to back up your recovery key - you may need to use this if you ever forget the password to your drive. Don't save the recovery key on the drive you are encrypting. Instead, store it on your University H: drive.
  5. Click Save to a file
  6. In the Save BitLocker Recovery Key window, browse to and select a suitable location on your H: drive - click Save then Next
  7. Select how much of the drive you want to encrypt - used space only (best for a new drive) or the entire drive (best for a drive already in use)
  8. When asked if you are ready to encrypt the drive, click Start encrypting
  9. When encryption is complete you will see Encryption of drive complete and can close the window. When you open File Explorer or This PC, you will notice that the drive icon has changed - the padlock indicates that the drive is now encrypted with BitLocker, and when coloured grey, this means that the drive is unlocked.

Use your encrypted drive

The next time you insert your USB or external hard drive into a Windows 10 One Dundee Desktop you will notice that the padlock icon is coloured gold, which means that the drive is locked.

A pop-up may appear in the bottom right of your screen asking you to unlock the drive. When you try to open the drive, you will be asked to enter the password you created when you encrypted it.

If you want, you can select Automatically unlock on this PC from now on. Click More options to find this selection in Windows 10.

Once you've unlocked the drive by entering the correct password, you can open and edit the files stored on it. You can also save files to the drive and copy them from the drive onto the computer.

Forgotten your password?

  1. When asked to enter your password, click More options then select Enter recovery key
  2. Browse to the location you stored the BitLocker key file in on your H: drive
  3. Double-click the file to open it in Notepad, then copy the recovery code
  4. Paste the code into the box then click Unlock
  5. Now you need to reset the password - right-click on the drive to bring up Manage BitLocker or BitLocker Encryption Options, enter and re-enter a new password when asked, then click Reset Password

Lost your recovery key? You will not be able to unlock your drive.