How to Encrypt External Hard Drive in Windows 11 (2 Ways)

You can learn why encrypt external hard drive in Windows 11 and 2 easy solutions to achieve the goal. The graphic tutorial will be included in each method. Keep reading to know more details.


by Clytze Updated on October 21, 2022

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User Case: How to Encrypt an External Hard Drive


I work in a trading company as a supervisor, I have my own computer in my office, sometimes my colleague uses my computer for checking quoting information. But I have a lot of private information on my computer, and they are all in a drive, I want to know how to password protect or encrypt my personal hard drive so others are not able to access it without my knowledge. Please tell me, thank you.   

For better data security, users must know how to keep their personal disks safe and secure, in addition to protecting system with an antivirus program. Data encryption is a simple and effective way to protect data if you also want to encrypt your personal hard disk to protect disk data security as mentioned in the case. Then you can read on to learn 2 useful methods to encrypt external hard drive in Windows 11.

Windows 11 Encrypt Hard Drive

Using device encryption is important if you want to keep all the files on your hard drive secure. Windows 11 systems (except Home Edition) come with a built-in tool to do this called BitLocker.To let Windows 11 encrypt the hard drive, it is very effective by using this built-in tool of Windows 11. You can use passwords or USB keys to protect important data, but make sure you store them securely. This way, only those who know the password can access the data on the USB drive. Greatly enhanced security.

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How to Encrypt External Hard Drive in Windows 11

Next, this article will introduce two useful methods to help you encrypt external hard drive in Windows 11. You can use BitLocker in Windows 11 or professional third-party software to achieve the goal. You can choose any method according to your actual situation and needs. Each method contains detailed graphic steps.

Method 1. Encrypt External Hard Drive in Windows 11 via Bitlocker

BitLocker is Microsoft's free software that allows you to encrypt your entire hard drive, as well as protect your system from unauthorized changes, such as malware. But this software is not available on all versions of Windows 11, and some other conditions need to be met. If your computer meets these requirements, then you can start encrypting an external disk in Windows 11 by following the graphic tutorial below.

  • Your operating system is Windows 11 Professional, Education or Enterprise.
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 1.2. For Windows 11 it is TPM 2.0.
  • There must be two or more partitions on your device.
  • You must be logged in with an administrator account.
  • The computer's motherboard should be in UEFI mode.

Step 1. Open the Control Panel and select System & Security.

Step 2. Scroll down and click on BitLocker Drive Encryption.

Step 3. Click on Turn On BitLocker for the external hard drive that you want to encrypt.

Step 4. Choose a password and click on Next. Then choose how do you want to back up your recovery key.

Step 5. Next, choose how much of your drive you want to encrypt. Choose Encrypt entire drive to ensure that all data is protected,

Step 6. Select Compatible mode and then click Next.

Step 7.  Click Start encrypting to allows BitLocker to encrypt external hard drive in Windows 11.

Start Encrypting

Method 2. Encrypt External Hard Drive in Windows 11 via Third-party Software

In addition to using BitLocker encryption, you can also use the secure backup software AOEMI Backupper Professional. It can backup external disk directly and encrypt it. This way, you only need to enter the password when recovering the encrypted disk, instead of having to enter the password every time you open the disk like BitLocker encrypted.

Also, it supports all versions of Windows 11 as well as many other Windows systems like Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista etc. Then you can follow the graphic tutorial below to encrypt an external disk in Windows 11.

  • Connect your external hard drive to your computer and make sure it can be recognized by your computer.
  • Download AOMEI Backupper Professional and install it. If you are a Windows Server user, you can choose AOMEI Backupper Server.
Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Open the software and click Backup > Disk Backup.

Disk Backup


Except for Disk Backup, it also provides System Backup, Partition Backup and File Backup, you can choose them if you need.

Step 2. Click Add Disk to choose the external hard drive.

Add Disk

Step 3. You need to select the destination for your disk backup.

Select Backup Destination

Step 4. To password protect the disk, just click Options at the bottom, and click General > Enable encryption for backups. Then, you can type the password > confirm the password > click OK.

Backup Settings General

Step 5. Confirm all your operations and click Start Backup to encrypt external hard drive in Windows 11.

Start Backup


  • Schedule Backup: You can set the fixed intervals to run the disk backup task automatically such as Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event trigger or USB plug in.
  • Backup Scheme: You can select different backup methods (Full backup/Incremental backup/Differential backup). You can also enable automatic backup cleanup which will help you save the target disk space.


Encrypted disks can better protect data security, especially when your private external disks are placed on public computers. Encrypted disks can prevent your private data from leaking or important files from being lost. You can use the 2 methods to help you encrypt external hard drive in Windows 11.

If you want to use the BitLocker software that comes with Windows, then you need to meet the corresponding requirements mentioned in the article. If you use the third-party backup software AOMEI Backupper Professional, it will be easier and faster. You only need to enter the password when restoring the files on the disk, instead of entering the password every time you open the disk.

In addition, it also provides System Backup, File Backup and Partition Backup functions to fully protect your computer. You can download this software to explore more useful functions.

Clytze · Editor
Clytze, an editor at AOMEI Technology, is passionate about safeguarding your digital world. She dedicates her expertise to empower users like you in data security and recovery. She firmly believes that everyone should have the tools and knowledge to protect their digital assets through computer backup, seamless disk cloning, and efficient file synchronization. Clytze is your trusted guide on the journey to data safety.