Friday, February 19, 2010

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Encrypt Your USB Drive Data In Windows 7 Using TrueCrypt

Please note: Windows 7 is bundled with USB encryption software: BitLocker To Go. However, I am explaining TrueCrypt in this post.

Do you have data on your USB drive that could be accessed by someone if they found your key drive? Do you have sensitive data that you need to protect, but don’t want to pay for expensive software? TrueCrypt was designed for you and lets learn how to use it. If you would like to protect data on your hard drive...
This post is written for TrueCrypt 6.2a and newer versions should operate in a similar fashion.
I will refer to your USB drive as a “USB key drive” throughout this section. If you are encrypting your hard disk drive, simply replace this phrase with “hard disk drive”—the procedure is identical.
Warning: do not encrypt the entire drive your OS is stored on. You can encrypt parts of the drive, but not system files.
Before we continue more, we need to have the software TrueCrypt.
Download TrueCrypt
1. Download TrueCrypt
2. Run the installer.
3. When prompted, selectExtract and click Next.
4. Extract the files to your USB key drive in a folder named TrueCrypt.
Figure: TrueCrypt Files

You can delete other files in the directory if you wish. Ensure you keep the four files as depicted in the above Figure.

Encrypt part of your USB drive
  1. Run TrueCrypt.exe.
  2. Once loaded, specify a drive letter that will become the encrypted volume (the drive letter of your USB drive won’t change—but will show as two different drive letters when you complete this tutorial.)
  3. ClickCreate Volume. Your USB drive will still keep its letter (e.g., “R”), but it will be split into two virtual drives (so the encrypted data will appear as a “[your chosen letter]” drive in Computer after you finish the setup.)
  4. Now clickCreate a standard TrueCrypt volume and click Next.
  5. The next screen will ask you where you want to store the volume. Save a file named Container in the TrueCrypt folder on your USB thumb drive and click Next.
  6. Specify the size of the encrypted volume (I suggest you use half the size of the drive.)
  7. Create a secure password.
  8. Now clickFormat and your Container will be formatted.
  9. After a confirmation message, click Exit.

Verify Your Encrypted Drive Works
  1. Go to your Computer and look for a “W” (or letter you chose) drive. It’s not there; good news!
  2. Open TrueCrypt.
  3. Click the drive letter you chose in the previous steps.
  4. Click Select File and find your Container you created.
  5. Click Mount.
  6. Type in your password and click OK and your volume will mount.
  7. Go to Computer and your drive will be there.

When you are done, go back to TrueCrypt and click Dismount. Congratulations, you now have your data encrypted on your USB drive.

Note: Again am reminding you that Windows 7 is bundled with USB encryption software "BitLocker" To Go. You can always use that if you are known to it.

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About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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