TrueCrypt is a software system for establishing and maintaining an on-the-fly-encrypted volume (data storage device). On-the-fly encryption means that data is automatically encrypted right before it is saved and decrypted right after it is loaded, without any user intervention.
Encryption does not mean it has to be slow or difficult. In fact, TrueCrypt makes it really fast and you can access all files as if they were unencrypted. Here is how you can do it:
- Download TrueCrypt from http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads (latest stable 7.1 09/26/11)
- When you install TrueCrypt select Extract files, this will extract the program without actually installing it.
- Now start the TrueCrypt.exe
- Click on Create New Volume and this screen will pop up:
- Select Standard for now
- Find a place for your encrypted container. Think of it as a real file that is password-protected. Store it for example here: C:\Users\yourusername\Desktop
Make sure you have enough disk space.
- Select an algorithm. Don’t know what to choose? Use the default!
- Enter a size for the encrypted container.
- Set a password for your encrypted container. Don’t make your password too short or it will be easy to crack
- Move your mouse for some time to get a good encryption and click on Format
- Back on the TrueCrypt main screen, enter the path to your encrypted container (or click on Select file and browse to it)
- Finally click on Mount, you can now access your encrypted password-protected container like any other hard drive via the explorer! Awesome? It is!
There are various other methods to password protect and encrypt folders. However, TrueCrypt is the best free solution and using the to effectively protect your private folders.
If you need more protection, simply create an encrypted container and store your files on a flash drive. Flash drives with 8GB or more are cheap and can be used to store all your private files. You could also use an external USB hard drive for storing the password-protected encrypted folders.