Transparent Disk Encryption Using FreeOTFE

The FreeOTFE is an on-the-fly transparent disk encryption open-source program for Windows PC and PDA. Using FreeOTFE, you can create one or more virtual-disks on your computer which act like regular disk drives — anything copied to these virtual disk drives is automatically and securely encrypted. The FreeOTFE supports many hash algorithms like MD5, SHA512, RIPEMD320 and many more. It also supports many cipher algorithms like AES, Twofish, Blowfish and Serpent etc.

You can download the FreeOTFE from http://www.freeotfe.org/download.html. The download is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows. You can download either the installable edition of FreeOTFE or the portable edition of FreeOTFE. It is recommended that you download the installable edition.

When FreeOTFE starts for the first time you have to create a virtual disk drive file which would be mounted to be used as a regular disk drive. Click on the New button in the toolbar to start the Volume Creation Wizard.

FreeOTFE Disk Encryption

In the Volume Creation Wizard you can create either a Volume file or Partition. For beginners, it is recommended that you create a Volume file as they are easy to use. Select Volume file in the second step of the Volume Creation Wizard as shown. The next steps include choosing a volume file and selecting a disk size.

FreeOTFE - Volume Creation Wizard

In the fifth step of the Volume Creation Wizard, you have to select an encyption method. You can select from a multitude of the algorithms. The methods selected for you by default are SHA-512 for the hash and AES-256-XTS for the cipher. These are the strongest encryption algorithms. You can leave the default encryption method settings if you do not know which one to choose.

FreeOTFE - Choose Encryption Methods

In the next few steps, you have to choose a random number generation method (leave it as Microsoft CryptoAPI) and choose a password. Finally click on the Finish button to save the virtual volume disk file and close the Volume Creation Wizard.

Once you have created a volume file, it must be mounted for it to appear as a regular disk drive in your computer and before you can use it. To mount a virtual volume file, click on the Mount file button in the toolbar of FreeOTFE. Browse for the virtual volume file you have just created and it will be mounted and appear as a regular disk drive in your computer after you have supplied the correct password.

FreeOTFE - Mounted Virtual Volume

Once you have mounted this virtual volume file, you can start using it like a usual disk drive. All the files copied to this file are automatically encrypted using the selected encryption methods in real-time. After you are done using this virtual volume, you can un-mount it by clicking on Dismount in the FreeOTFE window.

FreeOTFE - Dismount a Virtual Volume

The FreeOTFE supports so many encryption algorithms, is loaded with features and at the same time is very easy to use. It can be installed on the Windows PC and also on the PDA. It is highly portable and can also be installed on a USB pen-drive as a portable application. If you are looking for a reliable and free disk encryption program, then FreeOTFE is the excellent solution for you.

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