To 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.
Once 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.
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.
You 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!
You 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.
You 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.
TrueCrypt 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.
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.