Encrypt USB drive for Windows and Mac

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by rbrian, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. rbrian macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    Aberdeen, Scotland
    #1
    How can I encrypt a USB drive and have it readable in OS 10.8, and Windows Vista and 7?

    For various reasons, including proprietary software compatibility and IT department idiocy, I have a Lenovo with Windows 7, and a crappy Panasonic Toughbook with Vista. I have a number of files which I need to keep in sync between these two machines, and my MacBook Air. My work machines are tightly locked down; I can't install any software, and the firewall blocks filesharing sites like DropBox. The Windows 7 laptop syncs its My Documents folder automatically, but only other Windows 7 machines can access this, not Vista or Mac. USB is the only solution left - but they're required to be encrypted. File Vault needs a GUID, which so far as I know precludes FAT or NTFS, which are required for Windows. My Windows 7 laptop has BitLocker To Go, which doesn't work with Vista.

    Is there any solution, or will I have to just keep a close eye on my stick?
     
  2. murphychris macrumors 6502a

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  3. rbrian thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    #3
    So that's no good on a locked down work PC. Thanks anyway.
     
  4. murphychris, Feb 26, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2013

    murphychris macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    The parameters appear to be mutually exclusive. You can't install anything, and Windows 7's encryption is proprietary and not cross platform.

    I think you need a new USB flash drive that supports self-encryption. I'm not sure what the extent of OS X support for these drives is. You'd either need to suffer with the inferiority of exFAT for cross platform format support; or you'd need to go to Macports to build a recent version of NTFS-3G to get NTFS read/write support on OS X.
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #5
  6. rbrian thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    #6
    What's inferior about exFAT? That's what I chose to ensure compatibility and avoid the 4Gb limit of FAT32.

    What about if we exclude OSX? I can live without that, I rarely use my Mac for work.

    So, I need encryption that works with Vista and 7 and doesn't need to install software. I'm fine with installing software for the initial encryption (I have an unrestricted copy of Windows 7 on my boot camp partition), but it needs to be readable without installing anything else, and without an admin account.

    ----------

    That looks promising, but I was hoping for something small enough to go on my keyring!

    Like this one... http://www.apricorn.com/products/hardware-encrypted-drives/aegis-secure-key.html

    That's ten times what I paid for my last stick though...
     
  7. IanF0729 macrumors regular

    IanF0729

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    Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, D.C.
    #7
    I was searching for a similar solution to this problem and stumbled upon this thread.

    If anyone is still curious, including the original poster, I found LaCie's Private-Public application. It creates an encrypted volume that can be mounted in OS X and Windows using a standalone application that requires no installation in order to function. Unfortunately, on the Mac, you're required to install OS X FUSE, but that's a small annoyance for me that I'm willing to live with.

    The application uses AES 256-bit encryption. And, you can use it on hardware manufactured by companies other than LaCie.

    More here: http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10532.
     
  8. rbrian thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    Aberdeen, Scotland
    #8
    Wow, I'd forgotten about this thread! Anyway, for those who were curious, BitLocker ToGo has now been updated on my Windows 7 work laptop. It forces me to encrypt any stick inserted if I want to write to it. It now creates an exe file which when run on Vista asks for the password, and then allows access to the files, although it's read only.

    I have now been issued with a heavily locked down 8gb iPhone 4, with proprietary apps to deliver work, so the one reason I still needed the Vista machine, a badly written proprietary app for delivering work, is null.

    I have also moved house to a place with a parking space, so I don't have to walk and can therefore take my work laptop home without breaking my back.

    For moving files to my Mac, I've removed the bootcamp partition which I couldn't use without a mouse, and bought a super cheap 15" Windows 7 laptop, which can read the encrypted stick and then transfer the data to a non-encrypted stick.

    So all in all there's no reason for this thread!
     
  9. otomo macrumors member

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    Jul 13, 2013
    #9
    Can I encrypt a USB exFAT formatted drive for Mac/Windows usage after I've added files to it (and keep the files)?
     

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