Encrypt and Decrypt Files Using AxCrypt

If you have some sensitive, private or secret files that you do not want anyone to see, then you can encrypt them using AxCrypt. The open source freeware AxCrypt is an encryption and decryption tool designed to work in Microsoft Windows and can encrypt and decrypt multiple files on the fly. AxCrypt uses the industry standard AES cipher of 128-bit strength which is practically impossible to break.

AxCrypt is the leading open source file encryption software for Windows. It integrates seamlessly with Windows to compress, encrypt, decrypt, store, send and work with individual files. AxCrypt is an open source program which further makes it more secure and reliable as the code has been tested by thousands of expert programmers all over the world.

You can download the AxCrypt from http://www.axantum.com/AxCrypt/Downloads.html. The download is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows. Choose the one for your edition of Windows. The download is available both as a portable program and as an installation program. The installable version has more features and integrated easily into Windows.

After you have installed AxCrypt, you can encrypt any file you want very easily. Just right-click over a file you want to encrypt and choose AxCrypt → Encrypt as shown.

Encrypt a file using AxCrypt

You will be asked for the passphrase (password) for encrypting the selected file. Type the passphrase and type it again to verify that there was no typing mistake. Then click on the OK button to start the encryption.

Enter passphrase to encrypt a file using AxCrypt

The selected file will be encrypted and an extension of .AXX shall be appended to its original filename. The icon of the encrypted file changes to the icon of AxCrypt (green vault with a yellow key on it). If later you want to decrypt this file, then just right-click on it and select AxCrypt → Decrypt as shown.

Decrypting a file with AxCrypt

You will be prompted to enter the passphrase. Enter the same passphrase which you used to encrypt the original file. Then click OK button to decrypt the file.

Enter passphrase to decrypt a file using AxCrypt

The decrypted file with the original extension will be extracted in the same folder as the encrypted file.

Instead of encrypting the original file, you can encrypt a copy of the original file by selecting AxCrypt → Encrypt a copy. This would leave the original file as it is, but also creates its encrypted copy in the same folder. Similarly, if you select AxCrypt → Encrypt copy to .EXE, then it will create an encrypted executable file in the same folder as the original file. The encrypted EXE is great option if you want to send the encrypted file to a friend who does not have AxCrypt installed. Your friend can just double-click on the encrypted EXE file and type in passphrase to decrypt it without the need of installing the AxCrypt on his/her system.

You can also randomize the file name of the encrypted files, so nobody can guess what the original file was. Just right-click on an encrypted file and choose AxCrypt → Rename. The selected files will be given random names. Do not worry, when you decrypt these random named files, you will get the original filenames back because AxCrypt stores the original filenames inside the encrypted files themselves.

Randomly eename files using AxCrypt

You can not only encrypt a single file but also a group of files or a folder. AxCrypt is excellent tool for encypting your personal secret documents. It uses a strong AES encryption and therefore is very reliable. This is an indispensable tool that everyone should have on their computer.