TrueCrypt: Encrypting a drive

Submitted by fmadmin on Tue, 10/18/2016 - 20:57

Tested on 27 September 2012 using version 7.1a on Windows XP and Windows 7

Installing TrueCrypt and creating an encrypted space:

Tip: The TrueCrypt User Guide has an excellent beginner's tutorial, which clearly explains all of the settings and options available. This is in PDF format and can be viewed by selecting User's Guide from the Help tab once the program has been installed.

Steps 2-11 below are best used in conjunction with the Beginner's Tutorial.

  1. Download TrueCrypt.

    TrueCrypt can be downloaded from the developer's website at Web icon.

    Once downloaded, double-click the TrueCrypt Setup 7.1a.exe and follow the instructions.

    After the installation has completed, run the TrueCrypt application (usually from the start menu, or a shortcut on the desktop).

    Note: It is also possible to extract the package contents to a directory without installing TrueCrypt on the system. TrueCrypt can then be started directly using either a batch file, or the TrueCrypt.exe file within the directory.

  2. Click Create Volume from the application window.
  3. Choose a volume creation type:

    To create a volume that appears as a file, choose to Create an encrypted file container. This allows you to easily move, copy, or back up the encrypted volume from Windows Explorer. Other options are available.

  4. Choose the volume type:

    Unless there is a need to hide the encrypted volume within another volume, choose a Standard TrueCrypt volume.

  5. Choose the volume location:

    Leave the option to never save history checked, and then clicked Select File and browse to the location where the volume to be created.

  6. Choose a name for the volume:

    It is possible to name the file with the extension .tc, i.e., for easy reference but the file does not require this, and can be named simply myvolume or similar.

  7. Click Next.
  8. Select the encryption options:

    The default settings of AES are more than sufficient for most users, but other options are available.

  9. Choose a volume size.


    System file types:

    The maximum size for a file on a FAT32 system is 4GB. If a larger volume is needed the partition must first be formatted to NTFS.

    To check the file system of the drive, go to Start > Run, type compmgmt.msc and click OK. Under Storage, click Disk Management, and all drives should be listed along with their file system.

    Microsoft explains how to format a basic volume Web icon. Please note that this will delete all the data on the volume.

    External drives:

    When specifying a volume size, it is possible to leave some spare disk space on the drive, so that the TrueCrypt.exe and truecrypt.sys files can be copied here later. This allows the drive to be removed and the encrypted data accessed on another PC (admin privileges permitting) without the need to install TrueCrypt. It also allows other files to be stored on the drive which do not need to be encrypted.

  10. Type a strong password.
  11. Format the volume.

    As suggested, make sure to randomly move the mouse pointer within the wizard for at least thirty seconds to create a strong encryption key.

    After clicking Format, TrueCrypt will begin to create a file as specified in Step 6. Depending on the size of the container being encrypted this may take some time.

    Once this has finished, the volume is encrypted and ready for use.

    To access the encrypted data, the volume needs to be mounted. This can be done from within the TrueCrypt application or by creating a batch file, which will automate much of the process.

Mounting and dismounting the encrypted volume

To mount the volume via the TrueCrypt application:

  1. Run TrueCrypt
  2. Select a drive letter
  3. Click Select File, and browse to the encrypted file
  4. Click Mount
  5. Enter the password when prompted to access the encrypted volume

The encrypted space should now be accessible from Windows Explorer as a mounted drive using the drive letter selected previously.

To dismount the volume via the TrueCrypt application:

  1. Run TrueCrypt
  2. Select a volume to be dismounted
  3. Click Dismount

Using batch files to access encrypted volumes:

See the guide using batch scripts to mount and dismount volumes.