What is meant by Hard-Drive Encryption?
The word encryption means converting something into a coded and unreadable format, so drive encryption is a method to protect your drive by encoding all of its data into an unreadable code format that is hard to intercept and decode by any unauthorized person. It is done by drive encryption software which converts every bit of your data on the drive into an encrypted format making it impossible to read by any person without the right password. These drive encryption software are divided into three main categories: software-based, hardware-based within the storage device, and hardware-based elsewhere. To achieve this level of protection on your device you need to spend some dollars to get a high-end protection. Full disk encryption has several benefits compared to a regular file or folder encryption or encrypted vaults and here you can know how to encrypt your hard drive.
Why You need Hard Drive Encryption?
Before you opt to encrypt the whole Drive on your system you must know how it benefits you and why you need internal hard drive or portable hard drive encryption.
- Almost all the files on the system including the swap space and the temporary files are encrypted and this is very important because such files are prone to reveal some important and confidential data.
- When you have encrypted the whole drive then you don’t need to worry about any file or folder that is confidential and left unencrypted or you might forget some files to be encrypted etc. The Whole internal or portable hard drive encryption mechanism ensures entire drive protection with just a password or encryption key.
- If you lose your system due to any unwelcome or sudden reasons like theft or machine failure then your files stored are not accessible by anyone even after it is repaired so even if you trash your system you don’t need to worry about the sensitive data you have stored in the system.
Methods of Drive Encryption
Internal or USB hard drive encryption can be done by various software and there are many tools in the market. Whenever a file is written and stored on the drive, it is automatically encrypted by a specialized software and when a file is read from the drive, the software automatically decrypts while rest of the data remains encrypted. The encryption and decryption processes is same to all common applications. In many versions of Windows for example Windows 10 has device encryption feature enabled which runs normally in the background without letting the users even know, but it requires a specific hardware requirement to enable and just requires an encryption password key to access the whole system and its data.
Hard Drive Encryption in Windows 10
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Windows 10 has a complicated mechanism of encryption, as like its previous versions windows 10 doesn’t have the encryption capability in its “Core” or “Home” editions, if you need to integrate internal or portable hard drive encryption in Windows 10 you need to pay for the “Enterprise” or “Professional” versions of Windows 10 or simply use a third-party encryption solution. Drive Encryption feature is auto-enabled by Microsoft in some of the latest Windows 10 editions and also make sure that you are login to your Windows by Microsoft account because it only actually encrypts your drive if you sign into Windows with a Microsoft account and your recovery key or password is then uploaded to Microsoft’s cloud servers. This will help you recover your data if you lose access to your PC. To check whether it is enabled on your device or not you have to perform some simple steps:
- Open the “Settings” app in windows 10 and navigate to “System”.
- See the About pane and look for a “Device encryption’’ setting below the window.
If you don’t see any device encryption option, then your system doesn’t support Device Encryption feature. There are more chances that, you may not have Bitlocker feature as well.
So if you don’t meet either of the above-mentioned requirements then you can spend some dollars to get a third-party software to achieve drive encryption on your system.
Hard Drive Encryption by Bitlocker
If your Windows version does have Bitlocker as a built-in feature then can protect your drive by the following steps:
- Go to Control Panel of windows 7
- Choose System and Security
- BitLocker Drive Encryption
- Or just right click on the device and select Turn on BitLocker
- Setup your password to encrypt the hard drive
- Go to “Setting” app
- Select “System” option
- Go to “About” pane
- Select ‘’Bitlocker settings’’ to enable this feature.
- Select the password to encrypt your hard drive.
Portable Hard Drive Encryption
We all love to have a portable data storage device for its convenience and portability, but it can also be a disadvantage if we lose our external portable drive (USB flash drive) which is very common and can be stolen easily which can create immense panic among the victims. So here is to be always safe and be prepare even for the worst case and learn how to encrypt data on external and portable hard drive. You need an encryption software to encrypt files on USB flash drive. Below we have discussed some of the top encryption tools which are also used for external drive encryption.
Best Hard Drive Encryption Software
Veracrypt (Windows, OS X, Linux)
If you are looking for a free and most popular successor of Truecrypt then Veracrypt is the right choice for you. VeraCrypt supports AES encryption, TwoFish, and Serpent encryption ciphers support the creation of hidden, encrypted volumes within other volumes.
AxCrypt is a free, simple, efficient and easy-to-use software which is an open source, GNU GPL-licensed encryption tool for Windows. Encrypting a file or a whole folder is very simple with AxCrypt with just one right click and you can select files or folders to be encrypted and you can also schedule a limited time encryption of some certain files or folder by using the ‘’timed’’ feature of it and can set a duration and after the duration expires it will be decrypted itself. It provides so much ease as the files can remain decrypted while they are in use and the auto-encrypted when stopped using. It supports 128-bit AES encryption only.
Diskcryptor is an open-source program and it supports windows Servers, Desktop, and Laptops alike. It supports 256-bit encryption and complex system configurations like RAID.
GNU Privacy Guard (Windows/OS X/Linux)
GNU Privacy Guard is an open source encryption software which supports multiple encryption types and ciphers, and generally are capable of encrypting individual files one at a time, disk images, and volumes, or external drives and connected media.
7-Zip (Windows/OS X/Linux)
7-Zip is lightweight and easy to use file archive software for Windows It’s completely free, even for commercial use, supports 256-bit AES encryption and use just a click to encrypt multiple files with the encryption key.
Hard Drive Encryption on Mac OS X
Follow these simple steps to encrypt the drive on your Mac OS X and enhance your data protection level;
- Go to the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
- Now click the Security & Privacy icon in the System Preferences window.
- Then click the FileVault tab and click the lock icon and enter an administrator name and password.
- Now click the Turn On FileVault button and don’t forget to keep your recovery key and password safe.
To be secure and safe it is your duty to keep your sensitive and confidential data protected and encrypted and we are here to help you with this, just you have to have the will to do it and keep yourself away from cyber criminals like hackers and other snoopers.