How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)


VeraCrypt Is a free open source disk encryption utility that can create virtual encrypted disks in files or encrypt partitions. In Windows, it can also use pre-boot authentication to encrypt the entire storage device.
The application is derived from the TrueCrypt project, and since then, it has received security improvements and optimized implementations of cryptographic hash functions and passwords, thereby improving the performance of modern CPUs.
This article describes how to use VeraCrypt and step-by-step screenshots to encrypt a USB drive, including which partition type to choose and how to mount it if you want it to be compatible with multiple operating systems (Linux, Windows, macOS). / Access encrypted USB drive.
It should be noted that you can use VeraCrypt to create encrypted USB flash drives on Linux, Windows and macOS in a similar way, but the VeraCrypt user interface may look slightly different. You may also encounter different options, depending on the operating system used (such as the type of file system), but the important steps should be the same. The following screenshot (in Ubuntu 18.10) uses VeraCrypt 1.23 for Linux.

VeraCrypt installation

You can download the VeraCrypt setup binary or source code from the following location This page.
On Linux, download the VeraCrypt setup.tar.bz2 archive and extract it to your home folder. Then enter the unzipped VeraCrypt folder, right-click the file ending with “setup-gui-x64” (this is for 64bit; if you are using a 32bit Linux distribution, please select “setup-gui-x86” End of file), select PropertiesAnd at Permissions Label inspection Allow executing file as program (Or similar) box.
Now, double-click the veracrypt file that ends with “setup-gui-x64” (or “setup-gui-x86” (32-bit)), and follow the instructions to install VeraCrypt on the system.
Nautilus may try to open the file instead of trying to run it on some systems. In this case, please open Nautilus Preferences On the Behavior tab, select Ask what to do From Executable Text Files section.
You can also do this from the command line (mark the VeraCrypt installation file as executable and start it)

cd veracrypt*setup
chmod +x veracrypt*setup-gui-x64
./veracrypt*setup-gui-x64

You can also use a third-party PPA to install VeraCrypt in Ubuntu or Linux Mint, for example This one. However, it is not a good idea to use PPA for encryption tools such as VeraCrypt. However, I will add Ubuntu and Linux Mint PPA installation instructions below:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unit193/encryption
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt install veracrypt

You may find articles related to encryption very interesting:

  • EncryptPad: secret encrypted text editor
  • How to encrypt home folder in Ubuntu 18.04
  • Cryptomator protects your cloud storage data (open source, multi-platform client encryption tool)

How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt a USB drive

1. Select a slot in VeraCrypt (from the list in the middle of the application) and click Select Device Then click on your USB device:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

From Select a Partition or Device A dialog box pops up, select your USB stick:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

2. Click Create Volume Button and select in the pop-up window Create a volume within a partition/driveAnd click Next:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

This option formats and encrypts the partition, so all data on the USB will be lost! If you wish to create a virtual encrypted disk within the file (you can place it on a USB drive with unencrypted files), select Create an encrypted file container Options. This article is about creating an encrypted USB drive.
Choose on the next screen Standard VeraCrypt volume then click Next:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

You can also use hidden volumes here, but this method assumes that you will use standard volumes. If you are forced to reveal the password of an encrypted volume and cannot refuse it, then hiding the volume is useful. In this case, a VeraCrypt volume is created in another VeraCrypt volume, so it is impossible to prove whether there is an encrypted volume. Whether to include hidden volumes. More information Here.
3. On the next screen, you need to enter the volume position. Click Select Device And select the USB device (the screen is similar to the screen used to select the USB stick in step 1):
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

After selecting the USB device, click Next In the “VeraCrypt Volume Creation Wizard” window.
Make sure that the USB drive to be encrypted is selected and not other devices. The device will be formatted and the data on it will be lost! Read the warning displayed by VeraCrypt carefully and click Yes:
VeraCrypt will prompt you to enter the user or administrator password-enter the password and click OK:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

A warning is now displayed, formatting the device will destroy all data on the device. Please click Yes Then say.
4. On the next screen, you will see VeraCrypt encryption options:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

If you are not sure what to choose here, please leave Encryption Algorithm with Hash Algorithm To its default value (AES / SHA-512) and click Next.
5. VeraCrypt will now ask you to enter the volume password:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

Choose a strong password because it will be used to encrypt / decrypt the volume. You can also use the key file combined with the password to better protect the encrypted volume. Make sure you do n’t forget the password or lose the key file, because without them, you will not be able to mount the volume.
6. The next VeraCrypt volume creation wizard screen asks if you plan to store files larger than 4 GB on the volume:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

This determines the file system type that will be displayed as an option on the next screen. For example, if you choose I will store files larger than 4 GB on the volume Option, the next screen will not show the FAT file system option because it does not support files larger than 4 GB.
7. Now, you will need to select the file system type:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

If you want the encrypted USB stick to be compatible with Linux, Windows and macOS, please choose between exFAT, FAT and NTFS.
I want to make some notes here. FAT does not support files larger than 4 GB, so please keep this in mind. Both macOS and Linux (and obviously Windows) support NTFS, but on these two operating systems, read / write support may be poor. As for exFAT, it is well supported on Windows, macOS, and Linux, but it may need to install some packages on some older Linux systems (for example, on older Ubuntu versions, you need to install exfat-fuse with exfat-utils). My suggestion is to use the exFAT file system.
For full compatibility between operating systems (but files larger than 4 GB are not supported), even older Linux distributions (without installing any other files) use the FAT file system type.
If you only intend to use a USB memory stick on a Linux computer, you can choose the Ext4 file system type.
8. In the next step, select whether you want to mount the volume on other platforms, and then click Next:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

After clicking Next, If you choose to install it on another platform and choose any file system type other than FAT, a warning will be displayed. Please click OK Because we already covered this part in the previous step, you know what this means.
9. The title of the next screen is “Volume Format”. Here, you need to move the mouse randomly in the VeraCrypt window to generate an entropy pool, thereby increasing the encryption strength of the encryption key.
Once Randomness Collected From Mouse Movements The column is filled, you can click Format Button and click Yes When prompted:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

VeraCrypt will now start to create the volume, showing the percentage completed, the remaining speed and time. When finished, click Exit.

How to access VeraCrypt encrypted USB drive

When you want to access VeraCrypt encrypted USB drive, start VeraCrypt, select a “slot” (from the list in the middle of the application; called “drive” in Windows), and click Select DeviceAnd then select your USB device as in step 1 in the encryption instructions above.
Next, click Mount Button and enter the password you set in step 5:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

You may also be prompted to enter the user or administrator password to mount the volume.
You should now see the USB drive installed in the file manager. In recent versions of Nautilus (the default Gnome file manager), you may need to click Other Locations Access the installed VeraCrypt encrypted USB drive:
How to use VeraCrypt to encrypt USB drives (compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux)

You can also double-click the installed entry in VeraCrypt to start the default file manager using the location of the installed volume, or enable the VeraCrypt option (Settings -> Preferences -> System Integration) To automatically open a file browser window after the volume is successfully installed.

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