After watching my 379th Security Now Podcast, I finally thought I would test out encrypting my laptop hard drive. My brother had his laptop stolen at an airport and it caused him a lot of time, energy and money to rectify the situation.
Unfortunately Microsoft doesn’t include this obvious bit of technology with every windows installation, so unless you are willing to upgrade to a more expensive version of Windows, then Microsoft is of no help.
Truecrypt is a free alternative that is embraced by the security community. It takes 21 steps to do all of this, but it’s worth it if you value your information, passwords, bank account info, etc.
- Before I do anything I do a drive image backup using Clonezilla.
- Download and install Truecrypt.
- Start Truecrypt
- From the TC menu choose Volume – Create New Volume
- Create an encrypted file container (this is actually a folder where you can put files)
- Choose – Standard TrueCrypt Volume
- Volume Location – Select File – Type in the name of the file you want to call this and specify its location.
- Choose AES encryption
- Volume size – specify how large you want this to be.
- Volume password – specify your password.
- You can also specify a Key file – this is a file which has to be present for the volume to be decrypted.
- File System – NTFS
- Volume Format – move your mouse randomly – the choose Format
- To open the file – you have to go to Truecrypt – choose the file and choose Mount.
- If you used a KeyFile – then you have to choose that and select the key file first
- Rescue disk – you not only create and ISO file, but also HAVE TO create a CD Rescue disk or it won’t go forward. People without CD drives are in trouble at this point and are probably stuck. I tried a solution recommended in the video below, but it did not work – WinCDemu. I went to their website and noted that other people have had problems also. Here’s a solution: attach an external CD/DVD USB drive. I had an external burner and it worked fine.
- Wipe Mode – None
- System Encryption Test – do this.printer – for me nothing seemed to happen. I did give the option of printing out instructions in case I had problems.
- Computer will now reboot.
- Enter Password.
- You will now get a message Pretest Completed.
- More stuff to print
- It now starts encrypting your hard drive – For my 22 GB it will take approximately three hours.
Here’s a video below with much the same information. Go to about 7 minutes in the video.
Another video from the KnowHow show.