Monday, January 2, 2012

How-to encrypt and password protect your personal folders & files in Windows and Mac

TrueCrypt - Free Open-Source Disk Encryption Software

You can’t easily password protect folders or files in Windows / MAC yet, but you can remove the permissions for users or use TrueCrypt to create mountable encrypted containers that can only be accessed with the correct password.

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.

No data stored on an encrypted volume can be read (decrypted) without using the correct password/keyfile(s) or correct encryption keys. Entire file system is encrypted (e.g., file names, folder names, contents of every file, free space, meta data, etc).

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:

  1. Download TrueCrypt from (latest stable 7.1 09/26/11)

  2. When you install TrueCrypt select Extract files, this will extract the program without actually installing it.

  3. Now start the TrueCrypt.exe

  4. Click on Create New Volume and this screen will pop up:

    Encrypt and protect files

  5. Select Standard for now

  6. 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

    Create volume location for encrypted files

    Make sure you have enough disk space.

  7. Select an algorithm. Don’t know what to choose? Use the default!

  8. Enter a size for the encrypted container.

  9. Set a password for your encrypted container. Don’t make your password too short or it will be easy to crack

  10. Move your mouse for some time to get a good encryption and click on Format

    Volume format encryption
  11. Back on the TrueCrypt main screen, enter the path to your encrypted container (or click on Select file and browse to it)

  12. Finally click on Mount, you can now access your encrypted password-protected container like any other hard drive via the explorer! Awesome? It is!

Mount password protected encrypted folder

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.

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