FreeOTFE is a free, open-source encryption program that allows you to use a single file, unformatted partition or unpartitioned disk space to securely store sensitive data on your computer. To access the data on an encrypted disk volume, you must mount it and provide a password. This makes the volume accessible as a new drive on your desktop. You can then store your sensitive files on this new encrypted virtual disk and unmount it when you’re done.
To get started, download the application from the FreeOTFE website and install it. FreeOTFE is available for all versions of MS Windows, and can also be used on Windows Mobile PDAs. Once you’ve installed the software, follow the steps outlined below.
Creating An Encrypted Volume
- Run FreeOTFE and click the “New” icon on the toolbar. The FreeOTFE Volume Creation Wizard will appear.
- The wizard is fairly self explanatory, and is simple enough to use. If you are unsure as to what options to select at any time, just leave them at their default values.
- When you’ve completed all of the wizard’s steps, click “Finish” to create your new volume. More advanced users may wish to click the “Advanced” option which will allow more technical options to be configured.
The volume will then be created, and automatically mounted, ready for use!
To dismount the volume created, just select it in the main window, and click the “Dismount” button on the toolbar.
Mounting and Using Your FreeOTFE Volume
- Run FreeOTFE and select the “Mount” button on the toolbar
- Select the FreeOTFE volume you previously created and click “OK”
- Enter your password and click “OK”
If you entere the right password, your volume will then be mounted, and will be available for use.
- When you want to open or save a file in your encrypted volume you can either click My Computer on the left side of the dialog box or chose My Computer in the drop-down list by “Open In:” (or “Save In:”) and then click on the drive letter you chose to mount your volume.
- You can move files into the encrypted volume by cutting and pasting it into the drive letter you chose, or just dragging them in
- You can also move files into the encrypted volume by simply dragging them to it using Windows Explorer
- To stop using a volume and secure it (or “dismount” it) to back to FreeOTFE, click on the drive letter you mounted the volume with and click the “Dismount” button.
- FreeOTFE can be stored on a USB flash drive, and will allow you to carry your sensitive files around with you. If you do this, you may also want to take a look at FreeOTFE Explorer