Everyone who utilizes their PC, regardless of their computing habits, will have sensitive files stored to some degree. This also applies to removable media, such as USB flash drives or external hard disk drives. The best method to secure your files, hence prevent others from gaining access, Is to encrypt them. In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a secure encrypted volume, by using a very powerful encryption software named VeraCrypt.
So what exactly does encryption do? Without going Into any tech jargon, put simply, It uses a key to turn your files Into an unreadable format and the only way they can be accessed, Is to use a decryption key, by way of (for example) entering a password or PIN to unlock the encrypted drive.
Encryption Is the best form of security to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your sensitive files, thus In this article, I will demonstrate how to create an encrypted volume that you will then use to store your files. Only you can access the encrypted volume thereafter.
To do this, I will use a very powerful open-source encryption software named VeraCrypt. This software will create an encrypted volume on your computer. You will then store your files In the encrypted volume, and use a password to unlock/lock the volume as needed. No one can access the volume without your password. This Is about as simple as I can explain It.
What you're about to read Is very detailed, yet straight to the point. I will guide you every step of the way from the Installation process of VeraCrypt, to the final stage of having your files safely stored In It's encrypted volume. So without further delay, strap yourself In and let's rip Into this tutorial.
The first thing you need to do, Is download VeraCrypt via It's official website. Execute the setup file, accept the license terms and hit Next.
After a couple of prompts, VeraCrypt will begin to Install, so be patient whilst It's performing It's task.
Once It completes, hit Finish as arrowed below.
In my case, I've upgraded my existing Installation and It's prompted to reboot my system. If you get the same message, hit Yes.
It's now time to access the VeraCrypt software. Open the Search bar, enter veracrypt and click on the search result at the top.
VeraCrypt will execute. We now need to create an encrypted volume on your computer, so click on the Create Volume button.
Now select the Create an encrypted file container radio button. This will create the encrypted volume on your computer. Click Next to proceed.
Click the Standard VeraCrypt volume radio button, and again hit Next.
Now you need to browse a directory of where you want to create & store your encrypted volume. Click Select File, and leave the Never save history option checked.
I've browsed to a folder of my choice, and I've named my encrypted volume as Windows 10 Tips Volume. You can name yours anything you like. Hit Save.
At the top, you can see that my directory with It's volume, has been added to the tool. Hit Next to continue.
The Encryption Algorithm must be selected. I've chosen a strong encryption, being AES-Twofish-Serpent. You can choose any via the drop-down menu. Click Next when you've made your selection.
Next, specify the size of your encrypted volume. Base It on the amount of data you plan to store. I've chosen 10 GB. Don't forget to hit Next.
This Is where you create a password of your choice. Be sure It's complex, and not based on anything personal to you. This will be used to unlock the encrypted volume. When you're ready, hit Next.
It will now ask whether to store files larger than 4 GB In the encrypted volume, which I recommend doing so. Click that very option and hit Next.
Under Volume Format, select NTFS. To make the encrypted volume functional, It must be formatted with the above file system, so click on Format.
It's now formatting the encrypted volume. To Increase the encryption strength of the keys, keep hovering with random mouse movements until finished, as Illustrated below.
When the message of The VeraCrypt volume has been successfully created Is returned, hit OK to finalize the process. You now have an encrypted volume to store your files.
I've now navigated to the directory of my encrypted volume (that was applied In Step Ten above), and as you can see, It's been successfully created.
To open the encrypted volume, It must be mounted In VeraCrypt. Open VeraCrypt and select a Drive letter. It can be anything you like, For the purpose of this tutorial, I've chosen Drive A. Then click Select File.
Step Twenty One:
Browse the directory of your encrypted volume, and select It. Then hit the Mount button. It will prompt to enter a password (that was created In Step Fourteen above), so enter yours and click OK.
Step Twenty Two:
The encrypted volume Is now mounted In VeraCrypt. In my case, this Is confirmed by the directory listed In Drive A. You can now store your files In the encrypted volume.
Step Twenty Three:
The encrypted volume Is mounted just like any other hard drive on your computer, so to access It, simply navigate via File Explorer to where your C Drive Is located. As you can see, my encrypted volume Is Local Disk A. I can double-click It, and store all my sensitive files.
Step Twenty Four:
As long as the encrypted volume Is mounted In VeraCrypt, It's contents can be accessed. The moment you dismount It, It cannot be accessed by anyone. Your password Is needed to gain entry once again. To make It Inaccessible, hit the Dismount button.
Here's what happened when I've directly clicked on my encrypted volume, without mounting It In VeraCrypt. As you can see, Windows has no Idea how to open It. That's because It's encrypted and cannot be opened without a password.
Well, what a lengthy process, yes? Believe me, It's a lot easier and quicker to create a VeraCrypt encrypted volume than what you think. And once It's been created, all you're concerned with Is Mounting the volume, entering your password and storing your files thereafter. The moment you finish with It, Immediately Dismount It.
Just remember, Mounting makes the encrypted volume accessible. Dismounting renders It Inaccessible. Also, the encrypted volume can be placed on any other computer. It's not dedicated to the PC on which It was created on. Carry It with you on a USB stick, and copy It to any device. You will however, need to have VeraCrypt Installed to mount and open It.
If you have any questions or concerns, simply drop a comment below.