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I am steadily carrying more and more information on USB drives these days including the excellent Portable Apps suite, MP3 music files and Word/text files which I need access to wherever I am. The accumulation of all these files has made me wonder once again about encrypting it all.
Last year, I covered another encryption possibility – Truecrypt. But to me, that’s a bit messy. If the host computer doesn’t give you administrator rights then you would be totally screwed. You would have a USB encryption system that even keeps you out! Not quite what I am looking for.
So off I went searching for an alternative and I think I may have found one in the form of Rohos Mini Drive 1.7. It’s both simple and effective – the two watchwords I live by when searching for software.
To initially install it onto your USB drive, you need to install the Rohos program onto your computer – but once the encrypted drive has been made, you can uninstall Rohos on the computer if you want. There’s absolutely no need to keep it on your computer once the initial USB installation has been done.
Once you have installed it on your computer, it’s time to quickly set up your drive. Just open the program and this is what you will see :
Enter your USB key into your computer, and click on “setup USB Key” to start setting up the encrypted drive. You will then be asked for some details including a password. The encryption process will then begin but you have to be patient. On my USB stick, it took close to 15 minutes for the encryption to be set up. So don’t get frustrated and start click click clicking around wondering what’s going on. Just leave it to do its thing.
When the encryption has been set up, you will then see a new file sitting on your USB stick. This is the program needed to launch the secret partition which now exists.
To open the secret encrypted partition, just double-click on the exe file and you will be prompted for your password which you specified when you set up the partition.
After entering your password, a window will open in your Windows taskbar which shows you that the partition has been opened. You will also see the drive letter which your partition is attached to as well as the amount of free space on your stick.
If you now go to your Windows Explorer, you will see that a new drive has been opened up. This is the secret part of your USB stick which now exists and you can now put all secret/personal/confidential files into this partition. When you are finished, just go back to the above window and click on “disconnect“. This then closes the partition and removes it from the Windows Explorer drive.
I wouldn’t use Rohos Mini Drive 1.7 to hide state secrets but it is enough to keep casual snoopers at bay from rummaging through your files. Keep things in here such as your password list and other personal information and then, if you happen to lose your USB stick, you won’t have to worry too much about your information being compromised.
What other encryption methods do you rely on to safeguard the information on your USB stick? Are you a Truecrypt fan or do you have another favourite alternative? Let us know all about it in the comments.