BitLocker is a hard drive encryption utility in Windows 7 and Vista, unfortunately it’s only available in Ultimate and Enterprise editions and not in XP at all. Today we take a look at TrueCrypt, which is a free utility that will enable encryption functionality to other versions.
TrueCrypt is a free Open Source disk encryption utility that works with Windows, Mac, and Linux. It allows you to encrypt an entire drive, partition or flash drive and ensure no one can access the data without the right password. It provides on-the-fly encryption and after the drive is encrypted you can continue to use everything like you normally would.
Installation is straight forward and it’s recommended to create a system restore point before installing.
Click on the Create Volume button to begin setting the disc up for encryption.
The entire process is wizard driven which makes it easy to use even for beginners. You can encrypt a virtual disk, removable drive, or an entire system drive. There are a lot more steps than what we show here, but the wizard makes all of your choices easy.
You can choose different levels of encryption. There are several types to choose from and each has its unique qualities…but for most users you will be fine with AES.
To complete the process you will need to restart the computer.
The amount of time it takes to encrypt a hard drive will vary depending on the size and speed of the system. In our test we encrypted an entire 320GB drive and it took about 4 hours.
To complete the process a restart is required.
Now anytime you start up your PC you will need to log in using the password you created in TrueCrypt.
If you’re worried about private or sensitive data being compromised, TrueCrypt is a simple and effective free option. If you have a version of Windows or other OS that doesn’t include BitLocker or another encryption feature, TrueCrypt has you covered. It’s a versatile utility as it can encrypt partitions, VHDs, Flash Drives, or entire hard drive like we showed.
- Published 11/5/09