In my previous articles, you have learned how to encrypt individual files and folders, USB flash drives, hard drive partitions, and even entire hard drives. All these tutorials have provided you with a strong foundation to understand the inner workings of TrueCrypt. You now have the ability to take advantage of about 80% of TrueCrypt's built-in features. In this tutorial, you are going to take TrueCrypt to the next level—you are going to encrypt your Windows 7 operating system. This is the first part of a three-part series.
Encrypting your operating system provides many benefits. For starters, it requires the user to enter a password that cannot be cracked by password cracking applications like Ophcrack or Cain & Abel. Another benefit of encrypting your operating system is you have the option to encrypt either the Windows partition (C:) or the entire hard drive.
If you choose to encrypt just the partition, you can rest assured knowing everything you install on your computer or store in your user profile will always be encrypted and inaccessible to unauthorized users. On the other hand, if you choose to encrypt the entire hard drive, everything that is written to the drive will remain encrypted, even if the hard drive is removed from the computer and connected to another computer.
Encrypting your Windows hard drive also provides increased security for mobile computers like netbooks, tablets, and laptops. If your laptop is ever stolen or misplaced, your data will remain protected, even if an unauthorized user tries to start your computer or remove the hard drive.
While the ability to encrypt your Windows install may seem like a very powerful feature of TrueCrypt, the developers implemented an additional feature to further strengthen this method of encryption. TrueCrypt also has the ability to create a "hidden" Windows install. This is very similar to the standard and hidden volumes you can create when encrypting USB flash drives, partitions, and hard drives. If you choose to create a hidden Windows install, TrueCrypt will install a decoy version of Windows, to which you can provide the password should the situation arise.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to encrypt your Windows installation. In my next and final tutorial in the TrueCrypt series, you will learn how to encrypt Windows with the addition of a hidden Windows install.
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