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Make an encrypted USB stick with gnome-disks

This page explains how to use gnome-disks on DICE to make an encrypted USB stick. Note that this will destroy any existing data on the USB stick. If your USB stick has files which you want to keep, copy them off the USB stick before proceeding.

These instructions were tested on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa).

  1. Insert your USB stick into the DICE machine.
  2. Start gnome-disks. This can be done in GNOME by selecting the menu item
    Applications -> Utilities -> Disks

    or in MATE with

    Menu -> Preferences -> Disks

    or by typing gnome-disks on the command line in a terminal window.

  3. gnome-disks will display a list of storage devices in a column on the left hand side. Click on your device (in this case a Kingston DataTraveller 3.0) to display options for your device.
  4. Delete the existing partition on the stick by clicking the - button.

  5. You should be left with a blank disk. Click the + button to create a new partition.
  6. Create a partition for your volume. Unless you don't want to use all the space on your device, click on Next
  7. Give your volume a name and change the Type to "Internal disk for use with Linux systems, Password protect volume (LUKS)"
  8. Set the password for your volume. Aim for a strong password
  9. The encrypted volume and filesystem will now be created. This may take some time, particularly with large USB sticks, or if you chose the Erase option "Overwrite existing data with zeroes". Once the partition and volume have been created, you should see something like the following - with an encrypted partition called "Partition 1" and a volume with the name you gave earlier.
  10. Select your volume. This will give you various actions to perform on your volume. Mount your volume using the "Play" button (the triangle):

    Your volume should now be mounted as /media/username/volumename. You should be able to see your volume on the desktop. Alternatively, you can access your volume from the command line (using /media/username/volumename).
  11. You can unmount your volume using the "square" or "stop" button:
  12. In future, when you plug in your USB stick to a DICE PC, the following pop-up window will appear asking for your pass-phrase. If you type the correct pass-phrase, your stick will be mounted as before.

    The volume can be unmounted in a file browser (such as caja) by highlighting the volume (in this example MyStuff) and clicking the Eject symbol next to it, if there is one, or by right-clicking on the volume name and selecting the "UnMount" option.

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