Two Free Apps to Encrypt Your USB Drive

encryption 1You can call it a Flash Drive, a USB Key, a USB drive, a Keychain drive, or a USB stick. Whatever you call it, you are referring to a small plastic case which contains a circuit board and a USB connector.

Instead of the now obsolete floppy disk (new machines generally don’t have a floppy drive), USB flash drives have become the standard for transporting applications, personal files, documents, pictures, videos, music and so on.

Since USB drives are so portable, you can take a drive virtually anywhere. Just like most items that are portable and that you carry with you, this type of drive can be lost (I’ve personally lost two), or stolen.

If you should lose a USB drive, through happenstance or theft, you need to be sure that any confidential information on the drive cannot be read, and the way to do that is to encrypt your data.

Here are a number of free encryption applications that will encrypt your data, and are suitable for a USB flash drive.

EncryptOnClick

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EncryptOnClick is a free program that lets you securely encrypt and decrypt files. The program is very simple to use, and features military grade 256-bit AES encryption.

After you have launched the application, simply select the target file/folder you want to encrypt.

Following the easy interface, type a password for that file/folder which will then be encrypted. To open the encrypted file/folder at a later date, you must type the correct password.

Fast facts:

A very secure encryption and decryption method is used (256-bit AES encryption)

Files are both compressed & encrypted, which results in a smaller file

Password protected

Will encrypt single files or all files in a folder

Very simple to use interface

Can be used on a USB key

Fully Unicode enabled so filenames in any language can be encrypted

Will encrypt, decrypt, compress, and uncompress files which can also be opened and decrypted using third party programs like WinZip 9 – provided the correct password is used

Will detect if you’re decrypting a file that is in a temporary folder, and if so, will prompt you to see if you would like to decrypt it into a different folder

Command line parameters can be used

Complete help file

Free technical support, online forums, knowledge base, and FAQs at 2BrightSparks

Tip: Use on a USB key by copying the files EncryptOnClick.exe, EncryptOnClick.exe manifest, ExceedZip.dll to a named folder on the USB key.

System Requirements: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/2003/Vista (64 bit)

Download at: SnapFiles

TrueCrypt

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TrueCrypt (updated November 23, 2009), is an outstanding free open source software system, (one I have using for the last several years) for establishing and maintaining an on-the-fly-encrypted volume.

On-the-fly encryption simply means that data are automatically encrypted or decrypted just before they are loaded or saved, without any user intervention. No data stored on an encrypted volume can be read (decrypted) without using the correct password/correct encryption keys.

TrueCrypt uses 11 algorithms for encrypting private files in a password-protected volume. You can store your encrypted data in files, partitions, or a portable storage device such as a USB flash drive.

Once your encrypted files are mounted to a local drive with your password or key, you can manipulate those files, i.e. you can open, copy, delete, or modify them. When you have completed working on those files, you then dismount the volume and the files are then safely secured from unauthorized access.

Fast Facts:

Creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mounts it as a real disk

Encrypts an entire hard disk partition or a storage device such as USB flash drive

Encryption is automatic, real-time (on-the-fly) and transparent

Provides two levels of plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password – Hidden volume – No TrueCrypt volume can be identified – volumes cannot be distinguished from random data

Encryption algorithms: AES-256, Serpent, and Twofish. Mode of operation: XTS

Ability to encrypt a system partition/drive (i.e. a partition/drive where Windows is installed) with pre-boot authentication (anyone who wants to gain access and use the system, read and write files, etc., needs to enter the correct password each time before the system starts

System Requirements: Windows 7/Vista/XP (64 bit), Mac OS X, and Linux

Download at: TrueCrypt

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11 Comments

Filed under downloads, Encryption, Encryption Software, flash drive, Freeware, Privacy, Software, USB, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

11 responses to “Two Free Apps to Encrypt Your USB Drive

  1. John Bent

    Hi Bill
    I have been using True Crypt for some months and find it excellent. Random password generated by, and stored on, Roboform2GO (also password protected) – very elegant I think.
    Regards
    John

  2. kingpin

    Hi Bill,
    I think Encrypt On Click looks like a nice alternative to Keygensis:LocknGo.What do you think?

  3. Ranjan

    Well, indeed, a must have utility… I have a habit of archiving my some personal files and security apps with password protect to prevent them from being tampered by threats but i’m a bit lazy to go to the whole process..
    But thanks to you for letting me know about it.. Its going in my kit, oh wait, GONE… 😉

  4. Pingback: Two Free Apps to Encrypt Your USB Drive « Chicago Mac/PC Support

  5. Bill,

    These (2)-two apps are the best out there in my opinion… Another one to look at is Drag ‘n’ Crypt which I have had good luck with, as well.

    Thank you for all that you do for us…

    Rick

  6. Bill,

    You got me convinced… I just went back to using EncryptOnClick on my flash drive (and on my PC)… The encryption/decryption process is fast. What finally sold me is that this little app is made by the same people who make SyncBack (which is top quality syncing and backup software).

    Rick

    • Bill Mullins

      Rick,

      EncryptOnClick is easy and I’m into easy. You’re right, the developers are good people.

      Thanks for visiting.

      Bill

  7. 1.) EOC is very easy to use but what about it not appearing to be open source? (Esp. of concern for any program of this nature)

    2.) Would anyone know if there is a way under Linux to decrypt files that were encrypted with EOC?