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HARDWARE GUIDES

Encrypting Hard Drives with TrueCrypt
By: Jeff Prater
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    2010-07-15

    Table of Contents:
  • Encrypting Hard Drives with TrueCrypt
  • Preparing the Hard Drive
  • Creating an Encrypted Hard Drive with a Standard Volume
  • Volume Creation Mode
  • Formatting the Volume

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    Encrypting Hard Drives with TrueCrypt


    (Page 1 of 5 )

    In my previous articles, where I detailed how to encrypt individual partitions on a hard drive, you learned the basics of creating standard and hidden volumes, and how to mount each of them. You also learned that you could encrypt partitions, not only on internal hard drives, but partitions on external USB hard drives as well. In this article, I will show you how to encrypt an entire hard drive, and how to protect it with a hidden volume.

    Before you can encrypt an entire hard drive, you need to have access to an available hard drive. This can be an internal hard drive or an external USB hard drive. Unlike standard hard drives, you cannot encrypt a USB flash drive using these steps.

    Unlike encrypted partitions, TrueCrypt will not encrypt a hard drive with existing data and partitions. If you want to encrypt a hard drive that already contains existing data, ALL THE DATA WILL BE ERASED. This method of encrypting hard drives is ideal for new, unformatted hard drives, or hard drives from which you no longer require the data. Just to reiterate, if you want to continue with this tutorial, you will need to have access to a hard drive in which all data can be completely erased.

    If you want to encrypt an entire hard drive AND maintain all the data on the hard drive, you will need to encrypt the partition instead. I have detailed the steps to encrypting partitions in previous articles, which you can find at the links.

    Installing TrueCrypt

    Before you can encrypt your hard drive, you will need to install TrueCrypt.

    If you have TrueCrypt installed already, you can skip this step. TrueCrypt is available free at its website: http://www.truecrypt.org/. The TrueCrypt installation is very simple—follow these steps and you will have it installed and running in no time.

    1. Download TrueCrypt; double-click “TrueCrypt Setup 6.3a.exe.”

    2. If you are warned by Windows User Access Control, click the “Yes” button.

    3. Accept the license agreement.

    4. Choose the “Install” option.

    5. Keep the default installation directory and make sure all the check boxes are checked. Click the “Install” button.

    6. Wait for the installer to finish. Click the “OK” button when the installation completes.

    7. When prompted to read TrueCrypt's Beginner's Guide, you can select either “Yes” or “No” depending whether or not you would like to read the guide now or bookmark it for future reading. This tutorial should, however, serve as a decent starter's guide.

    8. Click the “Finish” button.

    Once the installation is complete, run TrueCrypt by clicking the icon the installer created on your desktop, or by clicking the icon created in the Start menu.

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