USB storage pricing has come down and they have replaced other types of portable storage. There is one problem that many people do not think about though…data security. If you lose your USB drive anyone can access the files you put on it.  You can make any unencrypted storage device secure by following our step by step directions.

The benefit of doing this is that all of your data is secure, and you can move the container file to a larger drive if you start running out of space.

Before you begin this process, there are a couple of things you should know.

  • There are a lot of steps, so take your time and make sure you follow them all.
  • If you lose your password, it is nearly impossible to get the data back.
  • These steps, as weritten, will not destroy data….it makes a container.

Download TrueCrypt from http://www.truecrypt.org/.  It is available for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux, so be sure to download the correct version.

  1. Run TrueCrypt setup and follow the instructions on the screen.
  2. Reboot when prompted.
  3. Plug your USB Drive in and ensure that it gets a drive letter.
  4. Click on Start, All Programs, TrueCrypt, then TrueCrypt.
  5. Click on No when asked if you want to read the release notes.  You can read the release notes here when you have time.
  6. Click on the Create Volume button.
  7. Click on the radio button to the left of Create an encrypted file container.
  8. Click on the Next button.
  9. Click on the radio button to the left of Standard TrueCrypt volume.
  10. Click on the Next button.
  11. Click on the Select File button.
  12. Select your USB drive in the Save In Dropdown at the top of the dialog box.
  13. Enter Vault.tc in the file name box.  You can enter any name here, just remember which one you use.
  14. Click on the Save button.
  15. Click on the Next button.
  16. Select AES as the Encryption algorithm and SHA-512 for the Hash Algorithm.
  17. Click on the Next button.
  18. Enter the volume size in MB. Be sure to leave 100 – 200 MB free for TrueCrypt and other files that you may want to share without encryption (consider utilities, or other documents).
  19. Click on the Next button.
  20. Enter a password. Follow the guidelines on the screen.  Your password should be long and something that no one else nows.
  21. Click the Next button. Note: if the next button is grayed out that means your passwords do not match.
  22. Select FAT as the filesystem and Default as the Cluster. Note: selecting NTFS will not allow your container to be read by older OSX computers!
  23. Move your mouse around randomly in the window. You will see the random pool numbers change.
  24. Click on the Format button. Depending on the size of the container, this will take some time.
  25. Click on the OK button when notified that the volume has been successfully created.
  26. Click on the Exit button.
  27. In the main TrueCrypt window, click on Tools then Traveler Disk Setup.
    Click on the Browse button.
  28. Select your USB drive.
  29. Click on the OK button.
  30. Click on the radio button to the left of Auto-mount TrueCrypt volume (specified below).
  31. Click on the Browse button and select Vault.tc or use the name you entered in step 13.
  32. Click on the Create button.
  33. Click on the OK button when told that the transfer disk has been created.
  34. Click on the Close button.
  35. Click on the Exit button.
  36. Eject your USB drive like you normally do.
  37. Insert your USB drive and see if you get a box asking what you want to do.  If you do, click on Mount TrueCrypt Volume.

To dismount your drive click on the TrueCrypt icon. Click on the drive you want to dismount, then click on the Dismount button. Eject the USB drive as you would normally.

I hope these steps help you, and will try to get a video of these steps online soon.