Author Note: I’m dragging this post out of mothballs because I believe it is a Very Important Thing to keep in mind. As quickly as crypto tech is developing, it is vital that you keep your bitcoin and altcoin wallets secure.
You may have already heard (or read), but this week I learned a very valuable – and expensive – lesson on the importance of backing up my bitcoin and altcoin wallets to an external device like a USB flash drive. It was a rough lesson to learn, but I’m not likely to forget it anytime soon.
It occurred to me tonight, as I was backing up my now-meager Bitcoin wallet for the fifth or sixth time, that if I ever lost my flash drive, whoever found it would have all of my wallet data. So I decided to add an extra layer of security by hiding and password protecting my wallet backups. The process is actually pretty simple, even if you don’t think you are technically inclined. If you’re a Mac, Linux or other OS user – sorry folks! I am not familiar with those operating systems. This is for all my fellow Windows (Winblows?) users out there:
How to Hide and Password Protect Your Bitcoin & Altcoin Wallet Backups on a USB Flash Drive
Step 1. Creating the folder that will hold your protected wallet backups
Open up your flash drive folder (in my case it is the E drive) and create the folder that you want to use to hold all of your hidden and password protected wallet backups. To do this, right click and select New > Folder. You can name it whatever you want. Drag your wallet backups into the folder you just created.
Step 2. Hiding the folder that you just created
To hide the folder you just created, open up the command prompt window. You’ll see a line of code that looks something like:
Now navigate to your portable device drive by adding the drive designation (letter). In my case, it’s my E: drive so it should look like this:
Now hit <enter> and type:
attrib yourfoldername +s +h
Be sure to replace yourfoldername with whatever you named the folder you just created – capitalization counts! – and hit <enter> again. When you go back to your device drive window, you should see that the folder you just created has disappeared.
Step 3. Password protecting the folder you just created
Now that you’ve hidden your wallet backups folder, the next thing you need to do is password protect it. To do that, you’re going to create a very simple batch file that, when you run it, will prompt you for a password in order to access your wallet backups folder.
Open up Notepad and cut and paste the following code:
@echo off set pass= yourpassword echo Enter Password set /p ui= if %ui%==%pass% (goto open) echo Wrong Password pause exit :open start yourfolder
Make sure to replace yourpassword with whatever password you want to use and replace yourfolder with the name of the folder you created. Now click on File > Save As and in the Save As Type drop down (located near the bottom of the Save As window) select All Files. You can name your batch file whatever you like. I named mine enter.bat. Make sure that you include the .bat extension in your filename.
If you go into your flash drive directory and double click on the batch file you just created, you’ll see that it prompts you for a password. Enter the correct password and it will take you right into the folder you created.
Step 4. Convert your .bat file to an .exe
The problem with a batch file is that anybody can right click on it, select Edit and be able to see what your password and folder name are. To prevent this, you need to convert your batch file to an executable file with a converter utility. A freebie converter called Bat to Exe Converter can be downloaded here.
Once you’ve downloaded and extracted the utility, double click on it. You’ll see both 64-bit and 32-bit versions. Even though I have a 64-bit computer, I had to use the 32-bit version of the utility otherwise the resulting EXE file would crash every single time. YMMV though so feel free to test out both versions. Regardless of which version you end up needing to use, the process is the same.
Click on the Bat_To_Exe_Converter.exe (Application) file and in the top Batch File field, locate the batch file you just created. It will automatically populate the Save As field with the .exe version of your batch file. Double check to make sure that both are located on your portable device drive and click the Compile button at the bottom of the application window. When it is done compiling, close out the converter application.
Step 5. Test your .exe file
Go back into your portable device directory. You should now see both your original batch file and the new .exe version that you just created. Double click on the .exe file. It should prompt you to enter your password. When you enter the correct password, it will take you right into the folder that you created and hid.
Congratulations! You’ve just hidden and password protected your Bitcoin and altcoin wallet backups on your USB flash drive! Now delete your original batch file – but NOT the .exe file – and you’re good to go!