DiskCryptor – Encrypt Your Hard Drives In Windows

Mohammad Aayan

DiskCryptor, an encryption tool that is capable enough to take care of your private and confidential data and other things in internal as well as external drives.

Encrypt Hard Drive with DiskCryptor

Image Courtesy – Image by WAQAR AHMAD from Pixabay

Many professionals, researchers, and even students used to have some types of personal project files, and confidential information in their devices like laptops and desktops. Any good antivirus or anti-malware software solution can prevent your laptop and desktop from external threats and attacks.

However, it can’t help if you lost your device or someone who knows the password tries to steal confidential information.

That’s why the best practice is to encrypt the entire important and confidential files available in your hard drives with the best available encryption utility such as DiskCryptor, BitLocker, and TrueCrypt.

TrueCrypt encryption works in a similar way as DiskCryptor but differs in creating encrypted containers. BitLocker is not available for all Windows users but Drive Encryption is. Well, I think the use of DiskCryptor is more reliable and efficient.

It is an open-source third-party full-disk encryption utility for Windows operating systems. This free utility encrypts the entire hard drive whether it is internal or external. Even it also encrypts disk partition along with where Windows is installed.

Full Disk Encryption encrypts the whole hard drive attached to the system. In this case, when the user starts the system, it first asks for the authentication (for example pin, and password) before Windows boots. Once the authentication successfully happens then only it decrypts the boot partition to allow Windows to boot.

It came into existence as a replacement for DriveCrypt Plus Pack and PGP WDE. It was originally developed by ntldr back at diskcryptor.net. However, they discontinued it after the final release on 9th July 2014. DiskCryptor.org decided to continue development of their own and they are still supporting it with updates.

DiskCryptor Features & Supports

1. Best Encryption Support

It supports several encryption technologies such as AES 256-bit, Twofish, and Serpent as mentioned at diskcryptor.org. However, AES is considered the most secure and standard military-grade encryption. The disk partition encryption is transparent and has full supports for dynamic drives.

2. Updates & Platform Options

The most recent and latest version is V1.2 and Beta 3 (V1.2.3) which was released on 27th April 2020. The downloadable and source code file is available at the GitHub account.

DiskCrptor is free to use and available for Windows OS such as edition 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, Windows Server 2012, 2008, and 2003. For Windows 10’s BitLocker, this new version is a good replacement.

3. Multi-boot Support

There are multiple booting and configuration option is available for an encrypted OS. If a user has multiple OS installed on the system then choose from the option to boot a particular OS. For UEFI/GPT boot, DiskCryptor has full support. Also, the encryption of system partitions with pre-boot authentication is available.

Apart from the above, it has the option to put a boot loader on external media like (hard disks) and to authenticate using the key.

4. How to Use & Documentation

Website diskcryptor.org which supports it now provides tutorials and technical documents to help new users to get familiar with DiskCryptor. A well-documented tutorial guide is available in the Tutorial section of the website. It covers detailed “How to backup” and “How to encrypt” steps. “Designing Multiboot Configurations” guide and tips are also available on that.

If the above-mentioned guide doesn’t help you much, DiskCryptor also has a forum where you can ask your queries. FAQs are also available as a part of the additional help section to get basic clarification. The technical guide helps you to understand basic security, usage characteristics, compatibility, and performance.

Remember to Read | What is CryptoPrevent?

How to Use DiskCryptor

As suggested by the developer that before you encrypt the system partition make a restore point. If anything happens to your system partition at least you will have your operating system back. Here, I will encrypt an external hard drive and the process is the same for system partition too.

1. Select the partition you want to encrypt and click on “Encrypt”.

DiskCryptor Interface

2. Choose the encryption algorithm from the drop-down menu but the suggested one is AES. Don’t change anything in Wipe Mode if you don’t want to wipe out data from the selected partition. Click Next.

Encrypt Hard Drive with DiskCryptor in Windows

3. Now time to create a strong password. The user has an option to use Keyfiles instead of creating a password. Don’t use Keyfiles for encryption of system boot partition otherwise, you will not be able to login back to Windows.

Be ready as soon as you click Ok, it starts encryption.

Choose a password for encryption

Wipe Mode

DiskCryptor’s Wipe Mode feature neither erases files nor any remnant data that a file system might contain. The reason is that it is not designed to do so instead Wipe Mode prevents the possibility to recover data by examining residual magnetic energy.

If you set Wipe Mode other than None, DiskCryptor reads and wipes the sector’s data. However, it writes the encrypted data back to it. One thing to note is that deleted files will be there if the encrypted partition is mounted later.

DiskCryptor Wide Mode

Pause & Encrypt Later

Don’t wait for complete encryption if you are in a hurry. The pause option can be handy at this. This feature lets users pause the encryption process and then you can restart or turn off the system. Continue encryption later when you feel free. The process will start at the same point where you paused encryption.

Another helpful function is that users can start encrypting a drive on some PC and pause. Use this drive to another PC with DiskCryptor installed and encryption will start from the pause point again.

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