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Password-protecting external HDD

Last response: in Apps General Discussion
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August 15, 2010 4:12:42 AM

I'm not sure which category to put his under, but it is software related.

I have an external hard drive. I want to put a password on the drive so that I am the only one who can access it. I don't want to lose any performance by encrypting, so here are the options I am thinking of. I don't know which ones are possible. And I am only needing write performance, not read.

1) Put a password so that it only has to be typed in when the drive is plugged in. No encryption.
2) Set encryption to only encrypt certain files and not automatically encrypt any files, so that new ones are written without encryption, but I can afterward select to have them encrypted.
3) Set the software to turn off encryption when the password is entered, and re-enable encryption on the whole drive when I click a button after I am done writing all the files.

Which of those methods are possible, and what are some software (preferably free) to do that?

Best solution

August 18, 2010 9:50:17 PM

The last on your list to remove encryption dynamically you can't do.

You can use a free tool called TrueCrypt to create an encrypted file you can mount as needed, that should work well for you. http://www.truecrypt.org/

Quick n Dirty explination: run TrueCrypt, create a encrypted volume and select it's size to store the data. To view and add files to that encrypted volume you will run TrueCrypt again and mount it as a usable drive. Note you can't access the files without TrueCrypt but it will only encrypt the files you want, it's free, and it's more or less the standard for free encryption software.
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August 18, 2010 11:13:07 PM

So the files that I write to the drive are not encrypted until I run TrueCrypt on the drive again?

Also, about not being able to access the files without TrueCrypt, if I installed TrueCrypt on 2 laptops, both computers would be able to read and write encrypted files to the drive as long as I know the TrueCrypt password, correct?
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August 19, 2010 2:22:36 PM

cmasupra said:
So the files that I write to the drive are not encrypted until I run TrueCrypt on the drive again?

Also, about not being able to access the files without TrueCrypt, if I installed TrueCrypt on 2 laptops, both computers would be able to read and write encrypted files to the drive as long as I know the TrueCrypt password, correct?


The only files that will be encrypted are the ones you move to the TrueCrypt volume, once you open up the volume and move a file out of it, it will become decrypted and can be seen normally.

Yes, any computer with TrueCrypt on it will be able to see the files with your password. TrueCrypt can also be ran without installing it, you can just copy it's directory off one PC and run it off a flash drive or something.

Just don't delete the TrueCrypt file it creates or all of you data inside it is gone. It's like a magic bag really, you have this one file created that the computer can see normally, but it just sees it as one file. Soon as you run TrueCrypt and decrypt that file it makes, you see all of the files inside it. It's a bit like an ISO file you can mount on your PC, the ISO is one file, but if you use VIrtual Clone Drive, you can view all of the files inside it. TrueCrypt acts like that except with encryption added.
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August 19, 2010 4:36:55 PM

Ah. Thank you. I'll be able to write to the unencrypted area, and then copy it over to the encrypted area when I'm done. I've given you best answer.
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August 19, 2010 4:37:08 PM

Best answer selected by cmasupra.
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