The USB pen drives (also called thumb drives, USB flash disks, USB keys or USB sticks) have become so common that some people have started to use them as a carry on personal documents storage. One of my friends carrier a small heart shaped USB key of 8 GB in her bracelet and keeps all her documents, pictures, passwords etc. in it. This is very convenient to carry USB sticks with your documents on your person, but it can also be risky too if you lose it and some criminal, stalker or nutcase finds it. In order to prevent such mishap of someone accessing files on your USB pen drives, it is a good idea to password protect the while USB drive using the free USB Safeguard software.
USB Safeguard encrypts all the contents of your USB stick with a password, so that nobody else can access your secret files without knowing the password. USB Safeguard works only with NTFS formatted USB drives, and in the free version it supports USB drives of a maximum capacity of 2 GB (this is a serious cripple for a perfectly good software). Because of the NTFS requirement, the password protected USB drive can only be used on a Windows PC.
USB Safeguard runs only from removable USB drives, so you have to copy the downloaded executable file to the USB drive’s root folder and run it from there. In the starting, it will take you the steps to get your drive ready – even giving you option to format it with NTFS if it has not already been formatted with NTFS.
After this it will ask you to set a password for protecting the USB drive and encrypt the contents using the powerful AES 256 bit cipher. This password will later be needed to unlock the USB drive and mount it in Windows on a selected drive letter. To access the protected USB drive, you have to run the USB Safeguard again, enter the correct password and the drive will appear in Windows Explorer.
In the options you can choose the drive letter for the mounted disk drive, whether you want to close the disk drive after some inactivity, and enable the hotkey to unmount the disk drive. The hotkey is always Ctrl + Drive Letter, so if you have mounted the protected USB pen drive as X:, the hotkey will become Ctrl+X and if the drive letter is S:, then the hotkey will become Ctrl+S and so on. You have to be careful not to choose a drive letter (and consequently the hotkeys) that can interfere with other applications.
Conclusion: USB Safeguard is pretty good at encrypting and password protecting your USB pen drives. It uses industry strength AES cipher to protect your files. But the free version has many limitations and it seriously reduces the productivity of the application.
You can get USB Safeguard from http://www.usbsafeguard.com/.