Monday, May 31, 2010

Creating a Basic TrueCrypt Volume on a USB Drive

SkyHi @ Monday, May 31, 2010
We’ve talked about TrueCrypt a couple of times in the past (see Setup and Configuration of My USB Drive and Installing TrueCrypt). I thought it would be worth creating a walk-through showing you how to create your own basic TrueCrypt encrypted volume on a USB drive.

truecryptvolume000.pngTo start the process, make sure that TrueCrypt is installed on your computer system. If not, please see Installing TrueCrypt for a tutorial on how to install TrueCrypt. Double click on the TrueCrypt icon to start the TrueCrypt program.

truecryptvolume001.pngOnce TrueCrypt is running, you will see a window similar to the one on the left. Click on the Create Volume button in the middle of the window on the left hand side. This starts the TrueCrypt Volume Creation Wizard.

truecryptvolume002.pngIn the wizard window, select Create a standard TrueCrypt volume and then click on the Next > button.

The Volume Location window appears next. This lets you indicate where you want this volume to reside. Since we are going to be encrypting an entire USB drive, you want to click on the Select Device… button.

truecryptvolume003.pngYou can now select the device that you want to encrypt. This may be the most confusing part for most people since they are not typically acccustomed to how the drives are referenced. If you look under the Drive: column, you will see the drive letter that you are probably used to seeing. Select the letter of the drive you want to encrypt. Then, select the entry directly above the drive you want to encrypt. This will encrypt the entire drive and not just the partition. In the example that I am using, I want to encrypt the USB drive which is presently on the F: drive. So, I will chose Harddisk 2: to encrypt. Then click on the OK button.

Warning: Be very careful about the drive you select. If you select the wrong one, you could perminantly lose your data!

lost001.pngYou should now be back at the Volume Location window and your location should appear. Click the Next > button.

truecryptvolume004.pngYou are now prompted for encryption options. Since we are just looking at creating a very basic volume, we will select AES for the Encryption Algorithm and RIPEMD-160 for the Hash Algorithm (I’ll get into what these are all about in a later article, I promise). Click on the Next > button.

truecryptvolume007.pngThe Volume Size window now appears. Since we are encrypting an entire USB drive, there are no options to select at this point. Click Next > to continue.

truecryptvolume008.pngYou are now asked for a password in order to access the volume. Be certain to select a good password (This sounds like it would make a good article as well). Enter it in both the Password: and the Confirm: boxes and then click Next >.

Warning: Do not forget your password because there is no known way of retreiving the password if it is lost. This means that you will never be able to get the data back.

truecryptvolume011.pngIn the Volume Format window, leave all of the default settings and click the Format button.

truecryptvolume012.pngYou are not presented with a warning window. Click on the OK button to proceed.

truecryptvolume013.pngTrueCrypt will now start to format the volume. The length of time that the formatting process takes will vary depending on how big the USB drive is and how powerful your computer is. Please be patient while this finishes.

truecryptvolume014.pngWhen the formatting is done, you will now have a TrueCrypt encrypted USB drive. Click on the Exit button to finish the wizard and then you can click on the Exit button to close TrueCrypt.

In upcoming articles, I will be talking about how to mount and dismount a TrueCrypt volume along with how to pick some more advanced options with the TrueCrypt system.