Tales From The Crypt
An easy way to keep your sensitive data from prying eyes
Windows 98, NT, ME, 2000 and Windows XP (all versions)

Here's an easy way to store your data safely on your computer without wasting lots of time. This process involved encrypting files. But before you run away in terror of the word "encrypt"...don't. This is very easy. Even someone who is not computer savvy can do it. Here is what you need:

1. True Crypt: A freeware tool that makes it possible to encrypt (parts of) storage devices like hard drives and USB (flash/pen) drives. (Download True Crypt from here - it's free. )
2. Free space on an internal or external storage device (drive)

That is all. If you do not have enough hard drive space you might want to consider buying an additional drive (external or internal) or an USB flash drive with one or two gigabytes of space.

True Crypt makes it possible to encrypt a hard drive or create a container on a hard drive. The difference is that a container takes only a portion of space of that hard drive leaving the rest visible. For instance if you have an external hard drive with, let's say, 200 gigabytes of space, the entire drive (200 GB) can be encrypted by True Crypt and can only be accessed when you enter the code that you selected at the time you encrypted the contents. Or you could create a container on that drive to hold your encrypted data - this would only take up a fraction of the drive and leave the rest of the drive freely accessible. You would only need to enter your code to access the contents of the container you created. The rest of the drive would be accessible to anyone.

Here's how True Crypt works:  You choose a password during the encryption that is used to encrypt and decrypt the device. This password should consist  enough characters that it cannot be easily guessed. Don't use things like birthdays, your last name, dates etc. We suggest you use a tool like Roboform to generate (and store) an 18 to 20 character password.  Whenever you want to access the encrypted data (or drive) you will have to enter the password to do so. Once you have entered the correct password the drive (or container) becomes accessible just like every other drive on your system.

There are no slow downs working with the encrypted drive compared to working with a unencrypted device. It behaves normal, has the same speeds and reaction times. Once you finished working with the device you can unmount the device or turn off / reboot your computer which has the same effect. When you reboot the drive (or container) will be invisible until you have entered your password.

Encrypting drives or containers on drives with True Crypt is easy to setup and safe. But don't forget your password. Use Roboform or keep your password safe in some other location where it cannot easily be found. This is extremely important. If you lose your password, for all intents and purposes, you've lost access to your data. If you encrypt an entire drive, without the password you won't even see it. So, heed our advice - Encryption and storing sensitive data and keeping it safe from prying eyes is easy - but if you forget your password, you'll wish you had never done it. Be safe. Be smart. Store you password someplace safe - away from the computer or use a program like Roboform to save your master password.

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