TrueCrypt is a phenomenal open-source disk encryption software that runs on Windows or Linux. Unfortunately, the installer doesn’t work so well on Ubuntu Edgy, so I’ve created this article to help walk you through the process.


Installing TrueCrypt

First, download the source code from the downloads page, because the Ubuntu debian package is compiled for 586 instead of 686 kernel, so we’ll have to build it ourself.

Copy the downloaded file into whatever location you’d like. The next step is to install some required software for the build process to execute. You may have some or all of these installed on your machine already.

sudo apt-get install build-essential dmsetup gawk linux-source linux-headers-`uname -r`

Note: Make sure that the ` character is the one below the tilde ~ key.

Now that we’ve installed the prerequisites, we’ll need to do a small amount of setup before it will work properly. Note that the exact version of the kernel may be different on your machine, but you are using tab completion anyway, right?  =)

cd /usr/src/

sudo bunzip2 linux-source-2.6.17.tar.bz2

sudo tar xvf linux-source-2.6.17.tar

sudo ln -s linux-source-2.6.17 linux

sudo make -d -C linux modules_prepare

The last step will send a whole lot of stuff flying by…. eventually it may prompt you to select yes on a question or two. This step is necessary because you’ll probably get an error later on otherwise.

Change directory back to the download directory, and now we’ll extract the source code, which contains both windows and linux source…

tar xzvf truecrypt-4.2a-source-code.tar.gz

cd truecrypt-4.2a/Linux/

Since Truecrypt installs a kernel module, you will have to run the build script in superuser mode.

sudo ./

This should have run successfully without errors at this point. Now we can launch the installation script, now that we know everything has been built successfully.

geek@ubuntuServ:~/truecrypt-4.2a/Linux$ sudo ./
Checking installation requirements…
Testing truecrypt… Done.

Install binaries to [/usr/bin]:
Install man page to [/usr/share/man]:
Install user guide and kernel module to [/usr/share/truecrypt]:
Allow non-admin users to run TrueCrypt [y/N]: Y
Installing kernel module… Done.
Installing truecrypt to /usr/bin… Done.
Installing man page to /usr/share/man/man1… Done.
Installing user guide to /usr/share/truecrypt/doc… Done.
Installing backup kernel module to /usr/share/truecrypt/kernel… Done.

At this point, Truecrypt is successfully installed. If  you are already familiar, you can get back to work. If not, here’s a couple of common use scenarios.

Creating a Truecrypt volume

Creating a truecrypt volume can be as simple as running truecrypt -c <filename>, but there are some options you can use on the command line if you would prefer:

geek@ubuntuServ:~$ truecrypt –size 200MB –type normal –encryption AES –hash RIPEMD-160 –filesystem FAT -c

Enter password for new volume ‘’:
Re-enter password:
Enter keyfile path [none]:
TrueCrypt will now collect random data.
Is your mouse connected directly to computer where TrueCrypt is running? [Y/n]:
Please type at least 320 randomly chosen characters and then press Enter:

Mount a TrueCrypt volume

You should create a directory to mount the Truecrypt volume in. I named mine tcmount

mkdir tcmount

truecrypt -u  tcmount

Note: You must use the -u option in order to mount the volume in user mode so that you will have write access to it.

Dismount a TrueCrypt volume

truecrypt -d <mountpoint>

Check to see if the TrueCrypt volume is mounted

geek@ubuntuServ:~$ df -m
Filesystem           1M-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1                 7698      1835      5472  26% /
varrun                      78         1        78   1% /var/run
varlock                     78         0        78   0% /var/lock
procbususb                  10         1        10   1% /proc/bus/usb
udev                        10         1        10   1% /dev
devshm                      78         0        78   0% /dev/shm
                            20         1        20   1% /home/geek/tcmount

I mounted the volume in a directory called tcmount, and you can see it at the bottom of the list

Mounting a volume on a USB stick

You can mount a volume on a USB stick just as easily as mounting a regular volume. Just supply the full path to the truecrypt volume on the USB stick and a mount point directory of your choice.

truecrypt -u /media/usbdisk/ tcmount

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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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