Sunday 22 Mar 2009

Crypt files on your hard-drive

If your computer is stolen, or a pirate introduces it, the thief will obviously have access to the whole content of your hard drive. :-( But there may be personal or professional files that you would prefer to keep secret.

A solution, I often use, is to create an archive (with WinRAR for me) with a password. But it's difficult for files we need frequently. So the "on the fly" encryption...


* The brute force method to find a password consists in trying all possible combinations one by one. Even with an appropriate program, this can take several years if the password is enough long and complex.

There are several tools to encrypt the same way files, i.e. with a password that can be found only by brute force *, but encrypt "on the fly" and leave the files available and readable as usual. I stopped on TrueCrypt because it's free and open-source.

It's also multi-platform (Win, Linux, Mac), and it allows to crypt some files or a whole partition. :-)


In the case of partial encryption, it creates in fact a virtual disk that contains your files. It's like if you had a new partition or a new hard drive, files are accessible in real time, with only a slowdown because of the encrypt/decrypt process for write/read.


It's even possible to put some encrypted files on a USB flash drive.

  • Or by encrypting everything, but it requires TrueCrpyt to be installed on the reading machine,
  • or by installing TrueCrypt on the USB drive (non-encrypted!), and making also a virtual partition.


An advantage of TrueCrypt over its competitors is that if your hard disk is corrupted (some sectors are defective), you do not lose all the encrypted files, only the damaged part, like a normal disc.

TrueCrypt offers the choice between several encryption algorithms. The FAQ is complete and the forum active, so you won't be left all alone. :-)

The website

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One answer at “Crypt files on your hard-drive”

  1. 1
    Flash Drive Data Recovery said:

    This is good to know that there are programs that will protect your private information in case your computer is stolen. I would had to get both my identity and my computer stolen at the same time.

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