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How to Encrypt Documents with TrueCrypt

For powerful encryption, TrueCrypt is hard to beat. Here's how to use it.
The next screen lets you further strengthen the encryption algorithm by incorporating random mouse movement. As the directions say, move your mouse randomly over the window for about 40 seconds. Afterward, click Format.

After some processing time, a confirmation screen will notify you that you successfully created the container. Click OK.

Click Exit.

Now that you've created the empty container, direct TrueCrypt to mount it to a drive. TrueCrypt lets you select any available drive. Here I've selected the J drive.

Now tell TrueCrypt the location of the container you created earlier. That way, TrueCrypt can mount it to the J drive. Click Select File.

Use Windows Explorer to find and select the earlier TrueCrypt container. For this example, this container is on the E drive. Its file path shows up in the drop-down box after selecting the file. I highlighted that for you in blue below. Click Mount.

Enter your password and click OK.

Check it out. The mounted container appears in TrueCrypt beside the drive letter you chose.

Excellent. You have successfully created a container and mounted it to a drive that encrypts anything on it.

Now navigate to the drive by clicking Computer in the Start menu and then on the mounted drive – the J drive, in my example. Copy or drag the folder you created at the beginning onto this drive. While the container is mounted, it functions like a regular drive. Do keep an unencrypted copy of your financial folder on your desktop for now.

Once you are finished moving files, select the drive in TrueCrypt and click Dismount to make the container inaccessible by Windows. In fact, no one will be able to access it without the password from this point forward.

See? The drive is no longer available under your list of drives. The files and documents still reside in the container. Windows just can’t access them. If you navigate to the container with Windows, you will see it hasn't changed sizes. The data is safe and sound. Only those with TrueCrypt the password will ever be able to open it.

Based in Pasadena, CA, Seth Heringer is a Senior Contributor at BYTE. Follow him @SethHeringer or email him at [email protected].