How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Can’t View with Truecrypt 7

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truecrypt   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7You’ve probably heard the story about the paranoid king. The king was sitting, looking at his meal, after having had a slave or two test it to ensure it didn’t contain any poison. The king takes another look, shakes his head, and mutters to himself ““ “I know I’m paranoid”¦ but am I paranoid enough?”

Truecrypt is a practical implementation of paranoia for your PC, and Version 7 has an even bigger stash of goodies to ease your worries, along with better performance. We’ll use that app today to illustrate how to create an encrypted folder that others can’t explore.


Before we begin though, a couple of references. Mark has talked about Truecrypt a couple of versions back, and he also wrote a great article specifically about using Truecrypt on a USB stick. Saikat gave a broader outline on how to hide folders.

What Is It?

So is Truecrypt all about hiding folders? More or less. It’s definitely about making sure that your secrets stay secret, and hiding folders ““ or entire drives ““ is the most common way to deal with that.

Truecrypt is also cross-platform, as well as being open source freeware to encrypt folders. It’s secure. It’s also easy. Why wouldn’t you use it?

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Why Do I Need It?

ftp   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7Unfortunately we live in a world where people don’t behave the way you might wish they did. Over the last few years, we are also living in a progressively more connected world, which means you are more exposed to those people your mother wouldn’t want you to marry. To add to the mess, we are also, especially right now, beginning to live in a thoroughly wireless, portable, mobile world, where not only can these undesirables get close to your stuff, but you help them out by taking your stuff to them!

Even if you never do anything you would like to keep private, if you have an online life of any sort, your identity and your information are valuable items, and you need to look after them. If you are doing anything that some people might not approve of, all the more reason.

How Do I Get It?

Visit the Truecrypt downloads page, and grab version 7. Download it to your PC just the way you might expect. Installation is a breeze.

What Can I Do With It?

The idea is to take a container of some sort, and encrypt the contents of that container. Imagine if we went into your living room, took a good look at the bookshelf, and then somehow removed the contents of all the books, shuffled all the words up in some nearly random way, and then put them all back again. You would have exactly the same information that was there earlier, but no way to make use of it.

If, on the other hand, we gave you a key to the shuffling, then with time and patience, you could put everything back the way it started, and get on with reading War and Peace.

This works just the same way. The container, conveniently enough, can be a drive, a folder, a USB stick”¦ For our example we will just use a folder on your drive. We will shuffle the contents, and then give you a (software) key to let your computer sort things out for you on the fly. Version 7 adds a couple of wrinkles like using hardware acceleration for decryption in some cases, and automatic decryption of USB keys on insertion if you want it to.

How To Create One

Fire up Truecrypt, and you will be presented with the main window.

Createbutton   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

Click the Create Volume button to build that container we were talking about.

There are a number of different types of containers, but for our first attempt we can just use the default file container.

filecontainer   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

Click Next.

Along with the various container types, there are advanced options for creating one container inside another. Think of a bookshelf inside a library. But for now, again take the default.

standardvolume   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

Click Next again.

Because we are using the standard file container, we need to tell it the name of the file to use. Just in case you’re thinking in terms of folders, this can be a little confusing. We are going to create a file, and then eventually it will look like another hard drive on your system, but only when it’s mounted.

volumelocation   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

So, browse to a folder, and supply a file name. No need for a suffix. When you’re ready, hit the Next button again.

Remember I said there were lots of options? You can choose from a number of encryption types and hash algorithms. Ordinary people like me take the advice of the developers, and go with the defaults.

encryptionoptions   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

Yeah. Click Next.

You can create a container of any size up to the available space on your real hard drive. It’s worth considering some limits if you ever want to backup the result to portable media, so perhaps you might want to stick with 4GB or so if you want the file to be backed up to DVD. You get the idea.

In our case, we’re just creating a small container for some tax files. Setting aside 100MB seems about right, but I have created 60GB containers in the past without any trouble.

volumesize   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

Click Next, yet again.

Passwords are very important in Truecrypt. Tina talked earlier in the year about how to select a good one. I can’t expand on that. Make a good choice.

volumepassword   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

Next. Again.

This screen is a little unusual. You need to move the mouse around in a random fashion for a while. Go on, you know you want to. A little more. Great.

volumeformat   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

Just for a change of pace, click Format. Then take a break.

volumeformat2   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

All being well, you’ll get a confirmation when the format is finished.

Successfullycreated   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

Go ahead and click OK. It’s not as though you have other options.

And that’s it. Done.

Volumecreated   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

One new Truecrypt volume is quite enough for now, so click Exit, and we can move on to making use of it.

Using The New Volume

Run Truecrypt again.

Select an available drive letter from the list, and then browse to the file you just created. Just to be clear, in this case I’m going to mount the new MUO container as the O: drive.

mountvolume   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

Click Mount to complete the job. You will be prompted for that password you carefully made up earlier. Don’t forget it. There are no back doors here.

enterpassword   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7Click OK.

And that’s it. I now have a 100MB O: drive, ready for use.

Allfinished   How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Cant View with Truecrypt 7

Click Exit, and take a look in Windows Explorer.

Keeping Things Going

The drive will be dismounted automatically if you log off or shut your PC down, but it’s a good idea to close it yourself, from the same window, when you don’t need it any more. You might have trouble if your PC still thinks you have files from the volume open, so close any applications, files, or Windows Explorer views beforehand.

We could spend a lot more time on this subject, but I’m sure you’d rather make use of your new encrypted drive. Let me know if there are any details I can go into more depth with, any questions, or any good ideas for use.

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35 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Guest

TrueCrypt is not cross-platform, unless you only consider the fact that you can install it on a Mac. But even if you do that, you can’t use it to encrypt a drive or a partition unless that drive or partition is running Windows. In other words, it’s useless at protecting the contents of your Mac OS X drive from prying eyes.

If you want to protect your Mac and it’s contents, you need to use PGP Whole Disk Encryption on an Intel-based Mac; it does what TrueCrypt cannot do.

You need to stop writing posts like this that are deliberately misleading. TrueCrypt has never had the ability to encrypt your Mac OS X-formatted drive, and until it does, it’s not cross-platform. Unless you’ve actually tested something to be sure it does what you claim, don’t write that it will.

Reply

Guest

TrueCrypt is not cross-platform, unless you only consider the fact that you can install it on a Mac. But even if you do that, you can’t use it to encrypt a drive or a partition unless that drive or partition is running Windows. In other words, it’s useless at protecting the contents of your Mac OS X drive from prying eyes.

If you want to protect your Mac and it’s contents, you need to use PGP Whole Disk Encryption on an Intel-based Mac; it does what TrueCrypt cannot do.

You need to stop writing posts like this that are deliberately misleading. TrueCrypt has never had the ability to encrypt your Mac OS X-formatted drive, and until it does, it’s not cross-platform. Unless you’ve actually tested something to be sure it does what you claim, don’t write that it will.

Jim Henderson

Hmmm… I have to admit to not trying the product on a Mac, but doesn’t Linux count any more?

Sorry to see you had a bad experience.

Jim

Jessica Cam W.

No one’s trying to write deliberately misleading posts. The TrueCrypt website even mentions that it supports Mac computers, so we’re certainly gathering this information from the official site. There’s even other major blogs, such as Lifehacker and How-To Geek, writing about using TrueCrypt on a Mac.

Jim Henderson

Thanks Jessica. And that’s about the size of it. You can encrypt folders (which is the example I used in the article) just fine. You just cannot encrypt partitions or entire drives.

I don’t see that as the primary scenario unless you really have things to hide. I think most people just want somewhere secure to put the few things that people shouldn’t have access to. Your business accounts, for instance.

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Saikat Basu

Very timely for me Jim. I was just about to sit down with TrueCrypt. By the way, is their a way to integrate Trucrypt with the right click menu. For those instances when we want to encrypt with a single click? I don’t think there is, but do correct me.

Mark O’Neill

No there isn’t a right-click option. I have been using Truecrypt for years and I have never been presented with a right-click option. Would be nice to have one though.

Jim Henderson

Mark’s got that. It certainly would be nice. Couldn’t be hard to write…

Reply

differentperspective

Hmmm… I have to admit to not trying the product on a Mac, but doesn’t Linux count any more?

Sorry to see you had a bad experience.

Jim

Reply

Lisa

TrueCrypt on Linux Mint works perfectly! Many thanks! :)

Jim Henderson

Glad to hear it!

Reply

M38

Is there nothing like this for mac?

Reply

Jim Henderson

I’m getting some people to check for me, but I think the only Mac problem is whole disk/partition encryption. File container encryption, as described above, should work just fine.

Reply

differentperspective

I’m getting some people to check for me, but I think the only Mac problem is whole disk/partition encryption. File container encryption, as described above, should work just fine.

Reply

Jessica Cam W.

No one’s trying to write deliberately misleading posts. The TrueCrypt website even mentions that it supports Mac computers, so we’re certainly gathering this information from the official site.

There’s even other major blogs, such as Lifehacker and How-To Geek, writing about using TrueCrypt on a Mac.

Reply

differentperspective

Thanks Jessica. And that’s about the size of it. You can encrypt folders (which is the example I used in the article) just fine. You just cannot encrypt partitions or entire drives.

I don’t see that as the primary scenario unless you really have things to hide. I think most people just want somewhere secure to put the few things that people shouldn’t have access to. Your business accounts, for instance.

Reply

Gomdat

recently i use it to encrypt a partition on my vista machine but when i went back to xp i try several time to get my files back but failed. please can you tell me how to go by this

Reply

Alex.Sxx

This article is misleadingly titled, (that’s why I came to read it althought I have used Truecrypt for the last 5 years and I know pretty well the what and how’s of it).

Instead of “How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Can’t View with Truecrypt 7″, you should write something like “How To Make Encrypted Virtual Drives with Truecrypt 7 (and put whatever you like inside: folders, files, ur mother-in-law…)”.

What you are describing is not an Encrypted Folder.
For encrypted folders, look at something like “Folder Lock”.
(In any way suggesting that FL is something better or more secure than Truecrypt. Just pointing the erroneus title of the article).

Reply

Alex.Sxx

This article is misleadingly titled, (that’s why I came to read it althought I have used Truecrypt for the last 5 years and I know pretty well the what and how’s of it).

Instead of “How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Can’t View with Truecrypt 7″, you should write something like “How To Make Encrypted Virtual Drives with Truecrypt 7 (and put whatever you like inside: folders, files, ur mother-in-law…)”.

What you are describing is not an Encrypted Folder.
For encrypted folders, look at something like “Folder Lock”.
(In any way suggesting that FL is something better or more secure than Truecrypt. Just pointing the erroneus title of the article).

Reply

Ohad

Enough with the pettiness !
can’t encrypt the whole disk/partition in Mac, misleading title… who cares ?!
it’s a good straightforward guide, show you the important basics of the app.
thank you Jim !

Jim Henderson

Thank you kindly!

Reply

Ohad

Enough with the pettiness !
can’t encrypt the whole disk/partition in Mac, misleading title… who cares ?!
it’s a good straightforward guide, show you the important basics of the app.
thank you Jim !

Reply

fgm

sorry, this is an off-topic post, but the comment section on your access post is closed … i have been finding your access tutorials very helpful, do you have a post about forms in the pipeline at all? would be great. thanks.

Aibek

we are definitely going to have some such posts in the future but not very often. As you probably know it’s relatively unpopular subject.

Reply

Mark O’Neill

Sorry but we close all comments after 90 days and then redirect all questions to MakeUseOf Answers.

We have no current plans to continue writing about Access.

Thanks for your comment. :-)

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