Encryption ensures the protection of data even if it falls into the wrong hands. Encryption is also advised when you are not sure about your information’s security when it travels from one point to another. While there are many good paid encryption programs out there, free alternatives are rare. TrueCrypt is one of the best encryption applications that is open source and hence, free to use. Using this application you can encrypt all sensitive files you’ve stored on the hard drive.
Starting off, download the program from its website and then run the installation file. The default options installed during the process should be fine for most users.
Starting with the Encryption
Run the TrueCrypt program and click on the button reading ‘Create Volume’. This will cause a window to pop-up that will feature step-by-step instructions on the process of creating a volume. Let the options be as they are on the first couple of screens. You’ll be required to enter the location of the volume you want to create when you reach the third screen. This is where all your encrypted files will be stored. You can enter the location by clicking on the ‘Select File’ button. Doing this opens a file-browser, using which you can navigate to the place where you want the volume to be created. Make sure to enter in the name field a name that you can easily recollect.
Next up, you will be presented with the encryption settings screen. Again, let the default settings prevail and click on ‘Next’. Now you will need to enter the size that you want the volume to be. This size should be decided by you in accordance with the kind of data that volume is going to hold. As a thumb rule, anything around 500 MB is more than enough if you only want to store encrypted documents or text files. The size needs to be proportionally increased in case you are going to store media content spanning over many GBs.
Creating a Password
Next up you will be prompted for the password. Design a password that is strong and not easily guessable. Entering the password leads you to the final screen where you need to click on the ‘Format’ button.
Now your secure volume is successfully created, which you can use to store important files. TrueCrypt also allows you to use this new volume as a virtual drive. You can do this clicking on the ‘Select File’ button in TrueCrypt and then selecting the newly created volume. Now choose a drive letter and then hit the ‘Mount’ button. Once you type-in the password, a new virtual drive is created that can be accessed by you like any other hard drive.
This user-friendliness coupled with TrueCrypt’s free and open source nature makes it a must-have encryption program.