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Useful Utils #4 – TrueCrypt

If you’re a paranoid, mistrusting type or just someone who has a vested interest in keeping your data secure, then this will certainly be of use.

TrueCrypt can create a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mount it as a real disk. It can also encrypt an entire hard disk partition or storage device.

It allows you to create a file that from the outside looks like gibberish but inside contains a drive volume, the contents of which are encrypted. TrueCrypt can then mount them and they appear as normal drives to Windows. Any volumes you create can be easily managed via TrueCrypt main screen.


I’ve used it for various things such as storing source code or random data on pen drives. For my pen drives I’ve got it so that a sizable chunk of the drive is a TrueCrypt volume. I then copied TrueCrypt across and set up an autorun.inf file so that when its connected to a machine it automagically opens up the volume. This post on Scott Hanselman’s blog explains what to do.

Creating a volume is incredibly easy via the built in wizard. There are several encryption algorithms to choose from and you can even benchmark them for extra geekyness.


I’ve tended to use Blowfish since it came out top in all the benchmarks I’ve run. Actually that was one of my initial concerns, how fast would it be? I figured it would be ok for running random files off a pen drive, but for holding source code it has got to have fast access if you’re compiling and building programs. Well it is, I didn’t notice any decrease in performance. Pretty amazing I thought.

There are further options for managing your volumes. You can set them as favourites so that TrueCrypt will remember to mount them on Windows startup (you’ll need to enter a password). There are also tools to check and fix volumes, but touch wood, in the six months I’ve been using it I’ve had no problems.

Again, like Keepass its open source and therefore costs nowt. Who says you can’t have something for nothing? Highly recommended if you want that added bit of security.

Pauked.com » TrueCrypt 4.2 out said,

May 11, 2006 @ 11:26 pm

[…] My fave drive encryption app was updated last month. It now has full Linux support (whoopee) and dynamic drives, which appears to be files that automagically expand in size. That would be seriously useful. […]

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