USB drives are so much in nowadays because of their increased capacity and less costs. This substantial increase is because of different usage models. Most of the people are using it to transfer stuff or to store different kind of media in form of pictures and videos while some are using them to store bootable operating systems such as Linux variants and the list goes on. Another main reason is because of it’s portability and compact size.
To create your own ultimate encrypted flash drive, here is what you’ll need to do. Keep in mind, this procedure has been done with the latest 6.0a version of TrueCrypt.
1- Format your Flash Drive
2- Download TrueCrypt (Here)
3- Run TrueCrypt, it will ask you to either install it or extract. Select Extract and point it to a folder called “TrueCrypt” on your device.
4- From your flash drive, open the aforementioned folder and run the file called “TrueCrypt Format.exe”.
5- Select “Create a file container > Standard TrueCrypt Volume and click next.
6- In the “Volume Location” window, click on select File, navigate to the root directory of your flash drive and create file called “Encrypted” there (or any name of your choice). Click next.
7- In “Encryption Options”, accept the default settings and click “Next” to go to the “Volume size” window.
8- Specify a reasonable size, depending on your flash drive capactiy and the amount of data that you want to encrypt. Note, always leave about 20% of the drive unencrypted so that you have enough room for any unimportant files. For example: If you have 2GB Flash drive, set the volume to approximately 1700 MB and click Next.
9- In the “Volume password” window, specify the password you want to use to mount the encrypted volume. It is imperative to select a password that would be easy for you to remember and hard for anyone else to guess, since there is no known way (to us) of retrieving it if it is lost or forgotton. Click Next.
10- In the “Volume Format” window, click on “Format” to start and wait until it completes. At that point, you will get a pop-up indicating that the volume has been successfully created. Click Exit.
11- Open notepad and enter the following code
action=Mount Truecrypt volume
shell\mount=Mount TrueCrypt volume
shell\mount\command=TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.exe /q /v "Encrypted"
shell\dismount=Dismount TrueCrypt volume
shell\dismount\command=TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.exe /q /d
Save this in the root directory of your drive as “Autorun.inf” and remove your device. This file is the key to getting your flash drive to perform certain actions automatically upon insertion.
How to access it:
With these settings, every time you connect your device, you will be asked if you want to mount your encrypted volume and prompted for a password. Alternatively, if you prefer not to use AutoPlay, you can just right click on the flash drive and select “Mount TrueCrypt Volume” to bring up the same prompt. To dismount, right click and select “Dismount TrueCrypt Volume”.
Note that once this drive is dismounted, the date is secure and thus, inaccessible to any person without the correct password. Anone finding the flash drive would only see one large file, not all the files in it.
As for all the encrpytion software, TrueCrype does have its shortcomings. For instance, you need to have administrative access to the system on which TrueCrypt is running to load the TrueCrypt driver. Also, since all of the files are physically located in a single encrypted file, corruption of the latter will render the entire volume useless. Despite these issues, It’s a great tool to add to you computer arsenel.
Once you have done it, you can load it with useful portable applications that can help make your life much easier and increase your productivity.
Here are some portable applications that I covered.
I’m going to do a small post on useful portable Apps for a Encrypted Flash Drive in a while so do check it out as well.