There are a number of free programs out there that you can use to encrypt or protect your files. Some of them seem complicated and some of them are very simple to use. Conceal is a newer program that falls in the very-simple-to-use category.
Conceal is meant for use on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. What sets it apart from other encryption software is just how easy it is to use and how easy it is to choose the type of encryption that you want to use. Let’s take a look at the software, shall we?
There it is. That’s about as simple and intuitive an interface as one can have for an encrypting/decrypting program. If you have it open and just want to drag files over the lock to encrypt the files, you can do that! The same goes for dragging encrypted files to the key to decrypt them.
If it appears that there is text in the picture above, that shouldn’t be there – you are correct. The application interface is slightly transparent so you can see what is underneath it. I guess that’s an attempt to look cool like a Vista program. Anyway, that’s a minor drawback. For some, I suppose it might be considered a good feature.
Once you drag a file to the lock to be encrypted, this is what you will see:
Just choose a destination for the encrypted file, and provide your password for that file. For added security, you can delete the original file by checking the Delete Original File box. No sense having an encrypted and an unsecured version of the file on the same computer. That kind of defeats the point.
Clicking on the Options button shows you this:
This is where you can determine what kind of encryption you want to use. The author has done a good job by briefly stating the strengths and weaknesses of each method. If you don’t specify the method you want to use, the program defaults to TripleDES. Again, good thinking by the author. Given choices, the one that should be default should be the most secure choice.
You are then prompted to save your password. Go ahead and click Yes.
Now, you’ll be asked where you want to save the outcome. Choose wherever works best for you, and click OK.
Once you get to this window, just click OK. The encryption will begin. On the fast encryption. the progress happens so quick that you won’t see it happen.
As all good programs should do, Conceal notifies you when the encryption is done. Just click the OK button to confirm. File secured!
The process is almost identical for unencrypting a file. Just find the file that was encrypted. It should have a file extension of .xcon. Seems ironic to me that something secured should have a file extension that reads aloud as ex-con.
Drag the file to the key side of the Conceal program. A small window will open asking you for your password.
Go ahead and enter the password that you used to encrypt the file. Then click on the link that reads Save and Close. You can also choose an alternate destination to save the decrypted file. However, that’s not necessary for this article.
The decryption happens pretty quick as well. Once that’s done, Conceal presents you with confirmation that it happened. Once again, click the OK button to clear the notification.
It’s that easy! The program works very well, has the basic options that most people would ever need, and, as all of my favourite software is, it’s free!
To be picky, I would like to see some slight changes to the interface, like the placement of the Save and Close. If that were a button placed near the bottom of the window, the flow would be more logical. But, as I said, that’s being picky!
Overall a good piece of freeware that I would recommend.
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