How To Encrypt Your Hard Drive? Ultimate Guide 2020

Your hard disk is the physical location where all your files are saved — files, movies, novels, songs — everything. Everything is in there, ready for you to get it.

How Important Is It To Encrypt Your Hard Disk, Though? Should You Do It?

Your device will continue to work correctly without encrypting your hard disk… until it does not. You won’t know you need it until you can not do anything about it.

Sounds pretty nasty, I am sure. As every physician can let you know, prevention is much better than the cure. There’s this recent research that shows how legitimate this is in our small situation also. The study, published by the Ponemon Institute, was titled”The 2019 International Encryption Trends Study”.

Its results show 45 percent of those surveyed organizations have an encryption policy, which will be an all-time large among businesses. Data is important, procuring it even more.

How To Encrypt Your Hard Drive
How To Encrypt Your Hard Drive

What’s Encryption?

The notion of hard disk encryption is straightforward enough. The encryption process uses complex mathematical functions to safeguard the data from anybody without the right password or key. This provides another layer of security, preventing hackers from entering.

If you send an encrypted Word file to a friend, they will have to decrypt it. Otherwise they will only find some random mumbo-jumbo. Unless they are an experienced mathematician.

AES or Advanced Encryption Standard

AES is a symmetric algorithm for encryption. It’s one of the most famous encryption methodologies and most likely the very best in use. It was made by two Belgian cryptographers in 1998 and was finally adopted by the US government and used globally as a staple of encryption.

AES is the first and only publicly accessible cipher, approved by the NSA (National Security Agency) for top secret information. If it’s good enough for Uncle Sam, then it needs to be good enough for everybody.

You will need to know that each and every time a file is written to the drive, special software encrypts it mechanically. While reading the document, the program decrypts it, leaving the other information on the drive encrypted.

On the surface, you won’t have the ability to tell whether a pc is ciphered. You will experience a slow down while working, but even that isn’t a given.

Can A Whole Disk Encryption Slow Down my PC?

Basically, everything you put in on your own personal computer may and will have an impact on its performance. The question is whether the change will be evident.

Your CPU (Central Processing Unit), the security program you use, and the sort of hard drive are crucial here. They’ll determine whether full disk encryption will slow your PC.

It generally depends upon your personal computer (clock, memory, connections, protocols, etc.) and its rate of processing. You can make an analogy with hiking boots they do weigh more than regular sports shoes and the excess weight does slow you down a little. Having said that, the further protection is very much welcome.

In the event you were to go hiking barefoot you’d be quicker… but for how long? Your toes will give up a lot earlier, making the entire endeavor meaningless.

Alright, if encrypting your hard disk is that helpful… how do you really do it?

How to Encrypt Your Hard Drive

Whole disk encryption may sound like a complex procedure, but it is really not too difficult. All you will need are your useful encryption tools and a flash drive or CD — to be able to store a backup.

Be sure that you keep your passphrase or retrieval key in a safe place, since in the event that you forget or lose it — there will be no way to recover your information. It is like the only key to the cellar, where you keep all value. The key is unique, so in case you lose it, you’ll have to break the door to put in the basement.

Except when it comes to encryption, breaking the algorithm is extremely difficult.

Windows — Encrypt Hard Drive
There are lots of encryption tools available, so it could be somewhat confusing to pick the best one. Let us take a look at a few.

BitLocker

Is among the most recognizable encryption softwares on the market. And the best part is it is totally free to use! In addition to this, BitLocker drive encryption is rock solid, because it utilizes the above AES algorithm.

But wait, there’s more! The application comes free with the most current Windows OS, so you simply have to click on a button to turn it on.

First step is to check in the event that you truly have BitLocker. Just right-click on one of your drives and then pick the”turn on BitLocker” command. If you don’t have this option, it is possible that you have an old version of Windows and would have to start looking for another solution.

If you do have that choice, the next thing to do is to decide on a system to unlock. Afterward, backup your retrieval key — you can save it on your USB drive, Microsoft accounts, to a file or even print it out.

When you have saved your key, you have to choose what’s going to occur with the files in your drive. You can either encrypt the entire drive, including the free area or just encrypt the disk files in use. Otherwise, BitLocker will disconnect all files that are new, as you add them.

Note that, if you’re a Windows 10 user, you will see another screen permitting you to decide on an encryption method. If you are using Windows 7 or 8, then just skip ahead to the next step. Windows 10 introduced a new way of encryption XTS-AES, which provides improved functionality over AES in Windows 7 and 8.

So, if you’re positive you’ll simply be using Windows 10, pick the”New encryption mode”. If you believe you might want to change to old versions of Windows, proceed with the”Compatibility mode”.

We are Drawing Towards the End, I Promise.

Now that you have chosen the encryption mode, hit the”Next” button and you can now click on”Start encrypting”.

The procedure itself can take anywhere from a few seconds to minutes or more. It depends upon the number of information you are encrypting and if you are encrypting free space also.

In case you’ve selected to encrypt your system drive, then you will have to conduct a BitLocker system check and reboot your PC. Just be certain to pick the option. Following the restart, Windows will reestablish the drive.

In case you would like to encrypt a removable drive, Windows won’t need a restart and will disconnect instantly.

That Was Not Too Difficult, Was It, but Can You Unlock Your Drive?

For an encrypted system drive, Windows will ask you to unlock the drive — through password, key or connecting your USB. To unlock an encrypted removable disk, simply enter the password, when you connect it to your PC.

DiskCryptor

Is another free encryption tool. You can install it on every Microsoft OS from Windows 2000 onward. It’s simple, convenient and works extremely well.

DiskCryptor is also lightweight, which can help avoid a noticeable influence on your system performance. It’s a fantastic tool both for beginners and experienced users and just uses 1MB of disk space when installed.

With DiskCryptor you can select between AES, Two-fish and Serpent as methods for encryption. The program is specialized in encrypting sectors. It follows that full disk encryption may take some time. Reviews suggest the tool is amazing for encrypting drives and smaller portions of your system.

By way of instance, a 64 GB USB flash drive will be encrypted by the time you finish your breakfast. Decryption will be substantially slower however, so that you can go grab a cup of tea and a fantastic book.

VeraCrypt

Is still another free program — YAY! You can use it on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. Exactly like BitLocker, it uses AESnonetheless, it goes one step beyond, using the Two-fish and Serpent cyphers also.

The tool is continually being upgraded, so improvements in terms of functionality and security keep coming up. And it is open source, so everybody can contribute! VeraCrypt is quite flexible and may be used for both full disk encryption and only encrypting a single file.

VeraCrypt vs. BitLocker

Both tools are very similar and the fact is that you can use them combined to attain the maximum efficiency. The largest difference between them is really who can use them. VeraCrypt can run on practically every operating system. BitLocker, developed by Microsoft, is the most frequently preferred choice as it’s already on your computer by default (unless you are using an older version of Windows or an entirely different OS).

Power-users might prefer to use VeraCrypt, since it utilizes several encryption algorithms and is open-source — so anybody can apply changes to it. Now do not get me wrong, VeraCrypt remains simple enough to operate, but it will require more effort than the pre-installed BitLocker.

Let’s See What It Is All About.

In this particular instance, we will encrypt a flash drive. The process is comparable to all other kinds of encryption.

1) Steps 1 and 2 show you how you can create a volume. Remember to pick a drive too.

2) Steps 3 and 4 are all about choosing the volume type and location.

3) Steps 5 and 6 will see you entering the volume creation mode and encryption options. Stick with the default settings, unless you have a good reason to change them.

4) Step 7 is for selecting the best password and step 8 will provide a fun game to play with your mouse.

5) Steps 9 and 10 are the start of the process. Do backup anything important before beginning to format.

6) 11 and 12 are the final steps. Congratulations!

Image source https://techjury.net/blog/how-to-encrypt-your-hard-drive/

Comparison of Disk Encryption Software

Is THE report, if you are a tech-savvy individual, who wishes to get to know everything about encrypting software.

In brief, both softwares are excellent and will serve you well. You can not go wrong with either.

Encrypt Hard Drive — Mac

What about yourself, as a Mac user, you ask? Well, FileVault currently exists in Mac environment. You have the option to let it begin preventing unauthorized access. Doing so is extremely easy, too. You want to click on the apple icon, select”system preferences”, then click”Privacy and security”.

Click the padlock icon and enter your administrator username and password and then click on”Switch on FileVault”.

Next step is to select how you wish to have the ability to unlock your disk and reset your password. The encryption occurs in the background as you use your Mac, and just while your Mac is alert and plugged into AC power. Any new files that you create are then automatically encrypted as they’re stored to your startup disk.

After the procedure is done, you’ll have to restart your Mac. From there on, you should enter your password each time you begin your apparatus — no account is allowed to login automatically.

And should you wish to turn FileVault off, simply follow the exact steps for turning it on.

But allow me to share a secret with you. You can actually go with no encryption software. Seriously. What you need is a

Self-Encrypting Drive or SED

It does the job, while hiding in the shadows. It’s a circuit built into the disc drive controller chip, so all information is encrypted and encrypted into the magnetic media automatically.

And it’s only a normal hard drive — no yellow lights or fancy designs. The encryption is totally invisible to the consumer. You simply give the drive a password and from there on you’re best buddies.

SED functions with an encryption key known as MEK (Media Encryption Key). To lock and unlock a drive, it requires another key, called KEK (Key Encryption Key), which you’ve got to provide. What are best friends for, after all?

We’ll be hearing more about self-encrypting drives in the future. They are on the top end of the scale, speaking of cost, but it’s certainly worth the investment, I’d say. SED are secure, dependable and simple to use — go for it.

Flash Drive and External HDD Encryption

Preventing your external drives is vital. The USB is a small and convenient way to carry your information everywhere. That also makes it effortless to be lost or stolen. By encrypting it, you are sure your data is secure.

Flash Drive Encryption: Hardware or Software?

Luckily, you can purchase a flash drive with an integrated encryption program. Needless to say, it is going to cost you a bit more — anywhere from $20 to $100. These drives utilize a physical pin pad and frequently include features like automatic overwrites, in the event you enter a wrong pin a lot of times. This method isn’t immune to failure, however.

Software Encryption is Better

Apart from being much cheaper or even free, software tools are equally as powerful as the hardware solution. The only big flaw is the time necessary to encrypt your files. Additionally, it requires somewhat more experimentation, but no worries. Following is a complete guide about the best way best to encrypt your flash drive on each OS.

Encrypted External Hard

The method is pretty much exactly the same as with USB drive encryption. I will not fill your mind with the identical information. You can always check this report, in the event you’re having difficulty with encrypting.

By This Stage, You’re Already Adept in Encryption

You understand how to encrypt your hard disk, the advantages of different software tools and why it is important to keep your data encrypted.

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