Will I still be able to encrypt an external hard drive if it doesn't come with this option?


I’ve read that some external hard drives by WD like My Passport have an encryption feature (from the producer, that is WD) and some don’t have this feature e.g. WD Elements. My question is if I use third-party encryption software like DiskCryptor will I be able to encrypt them?

Another question I have is a bit off-topic so you don’t have to answer that but it will be nice if you do: if you encrypt your internal hard drive in a laptop using encrypting software do you have to format it before encrypting? I’m asking because my original Windows didn’t come with a CD and I don’t want to lose it.

Hi Billy_C,

If you get a WD drive that already has encryption I probably wouldn’t encrypt it. The drive is always encrypted so applying another level of encryption on that could cause some issues. However, if you get an unencrypted drive like the Elements, it should be fine.

In most cases you don’t have to format a drive before you encrypt it. The encryption will take some time though. Usually there is a calculation like “x” number of minutes per GB of data stored on the drive. Sometimes it can take a few hours but typically it is possible to do depending on the software.

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Thanks for the answer but are you 100% sure that encrypting hard drive that has already got encryption by WD (like WD My Passport) will cause issues? I’d like to use third-party encrypting software on My Passport, not the included one.

I’ve read this post and the original poster claims that using third-party software destroyed his hard drives:  http://community.wd.com/t5/WD-Portable-Drives/My-Passport-2-TB-USB-3-0-USB-2-0-Hard-Drives-WDBY8L0020BBK-and/td-p/484148

It’s something that has never been tested so I can’t say for sure but I have heard of issues with trying to encrypt the encrypted drives. I don’t know if it is related to a specific encryption program or not.

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