A technique such as encryption is getting so much attention and tremendous positive response due to the hindrance it has created for the unwanted intrusions. Whether it is your PC, Hard drive or flash drive, all these belongings with your sensitive data could be protected through encryption, and that is what makes it popular among all individuals. Hard drive encryption is a similar recommendation for you to enhance your data safety.
AxCrypt is also an excellent free file encryption software for Windows 10/8/7 we strongly recommend for you. As a free, open source, and GNU GPL licensed encryption software, it is proud of its simplicity, efficiency, and ease of use. It integrates well with the Windows shell, so.
What Is Hard Drive Encryption?
Hard drive encryption is merely an implementation of standard encryption methods to a drive to enhance its protection. Through such an encrypting procedure, the data stored in the hard drive is converted into a secure unreadable coded form.
Drive encrypting software makes it impossible for any unauthorized entity to access your encrypted data without the appropriate password.
Oct 10, 2018 If you’re planning to install the Windows 10 October 2018 update, you might want to hold off doing that. Microsoft halts the distribution of the Windows 10 update, following the reports of users having their files deleted after installing the update. The company hasn’t said much about the issue, but on Microsoft’s support page, the firm announced that they’re temporarily pulling out. Thankfully, those files aren’t actually deleted. The update just moved them to another user account’s folder. This is better than the time Microsoft actually deleted people’s files with the October 2018 Update. Update: Some Windows 10 users have now reported the update did completely delete their files. Local files deleted after mac software update windows 10. May 20, 2020 If you are still not able to find the missing files after applying the above-mentioned solutions, you can use a professional data recovery software like Stellar Data Recovery- Standard, which is an easy to use DIY data recovery tool that can effectively restore missing or lost files due to Windows 10 update.
This drive encryption software is divided into three main categories: software-based, hardware-based within the storage device, and hardware-based elsewhere. To achieve this level of protection on your device, you need to spend some dollars to get high-end protection. Full disk encryption has several benefits as compared to a regular file or folder encryption or encrypted vaults.
Relate article: what is torrenting and how it works
Why You Need Hard Drive Encryption?
Before you opt to encrypt the whole Drive on your system, you must know how it benefits you and why you need an internal hard drive or portable hard drive encryption.
- Almost all the files on the system including the swap space and the temporary files are encrypted. This is very important because such records are prone to reveal some important and confidential data.
- When you have encrypted the whole drive, then you don’t need to worry about any file or folder that is confidential and left unencrypted, or you might forget some data to be encrypted, etc. The Whole internal or portable hard drive encryption mechanism ensures complete drive protection with just a password or encryption key.
- If you lose your system due to any unwelcome or sudden reasons like theft or machine failure, then your saved files are not accessible by anyone even after it is repaired. Therefore, even if you trash your system, you don’t need to worry about the sensitive data you have stored in the system.
Methods Of Drive Encryption
Internal or USB hard drive encryption can be done by various software, and there are many tools in the market. Whenever a file is written and stored on the drive, it is automatically encrypted by specialized software. However, when a file is read from the drive, the software automatically decrypts that file while the rest of the data remains encrypted.
The encryption and decryption processes are the same for all typical applications. In many versions of Windows, for example, Windows 10 has device encryption feature enabled which usually runs in the background without letting the users even know, but it requires specific hardware to activate and requires an encryption password key to access the whole system and its data.
Full Hard Drive Encryption
The entire encryption of your hard drive is most appropriate and useful way to encrypt your hard drive. This method is most recommended because it protects you against an unwanted risk that could occur due to human errors such as forgetting to encrypt a particular file.
Along with this, the complete hard drive encryption makes sure to encrypt temporary files and swipe space. That means everything on the hard drive remains safe and secure. Yet, a bit negative impact is that the full hard drive encryption makes your system processing slow. However, due to the advent of modern processors, this is not an issue anymore. Therefore, we have described the easy ways to encrypt your entire hard drive.
Encrypting Certain Files And Folders Of Hard Drive
If you are unwilling to have full hard drive encryption, then there is another option for encrypting individual files only. This kind of encryption might have a less impact on the performance of your system, but it is a bit complicated process. While encrypting only specific files or folders on your hard drive, you need more time to figure out important data that should be protected.
However, there are few ways to encrypt individual files and folders;
- The users of Microsoft Office can encrypt, and password protects the files on their system. Yet, the level of encryption become more advanced with the upgraded version of the official program.
- The method of encryption is straightforward on Windows using the encrypting file system. Right-click a particular folder or file you want to encrypt, click properties and then click Advanced.
- On Mac, Disk Utility could be used to encrypt single files and folders.
Lock BIOS Via Password
To encrypt the hard drive, there is another option to lock the BIOS (primary input-output system). You could implement specific settings for computer’s hardware and could even control the loading of the computer system through the BIOS system.
If you secure the hard drive with a password in BIOS, then the hard drive will remain locked even when the drive is entered into a new PC other than the present one. Just the password code could unlock the hard drive and it is needed every time you switch on the drive.
Hard Drive Encryption On Windows 10
Windows 10 has a complicated mechanism of encryption, like its previous versions Windows 10 doesn’t have the encryption capability in its “Core” or “Home” editions. If you need to integrate internal or portable hard drive encryption in Windows 10, you need to pay for the “Enterprise” or “Professional” versions of Windows 10 or only use a third-party encryption solution.
Drive Encryption feature is auto-enabled by Microsoft in some of the latest Windows 10 editions which makes sure that you are login to your Windows by Microsoft account. This is because it only actually encrypts your drive if you sign in to Windows with a Microsoft account. Your recovery key or password is then uploaded to Microsoft’s cloud servers. This will help you recover your data if you lose access to your PC. To check whether it is enabled on your device or not you have to perform some simple steps:
- Open the “Settings” app in Windows 10 and navigate to “System”.See the About page and look for a “Device encryption’’ setting below the window.
- If you don’t see any device encryption option, then your system doesn’t support Device Encryption feature. There are more chances that, you may not have BitLocker feature as well.So if you don’t meet either of the above-mentioned requirements then you can spend some dollars to get a third-party software to achieve drive encryption on your system.
Hard Drive Encryption By BitLockerIf your Windows version does have BitLocker as a built-in feature then you can protect your drive by the following steps:Windows 7
- Go to Control Panel of Windows 7
- Choose System and Security
- BitLocker Drive Encryption
- Or just right click on the device and select Turn on BitLocker
- Setup your password to encrypt the hard drive
- Go to “Setting” app
- Select “System” option
- Go to “About” pane
- Select ‘’Bitlocker settings’’ to enable this feature.
- Select the password to encrypt your hard drive.
Portable Hard Drive Encryption
We all love to have a portable data storage device because of its convenience and portability. However, it can also be a disadvantage if we lose our external portable drive (USB flash drive) which is very common and can also be stolen easily creating immense panic among the victims.
Therefore, you should always be prepared even for the worst case and learn how to encrypt data on external and portable hard drive. You need an encryption software to encrypt files on USB flash drive. Below we have discussed some of the top encryption tools which are also used for external drive encryption.
Veracrypt (Windows, OS X, Linux)
If you are looking for a free and most popular successor of Truecrypt then Veracrypt is the right choice for you. VeraCrypt supports AES encryption, TwoFish, and Serpent encryption ciphers support the creation of hidden, encrypted volumes within other volumes.
AxCrypt is a free, simple, efficient and easy-to-use software which is an open source, GNU GPL-licensed encryption tool for Windows. Encrypting a file or a whole folder is very simple with AxCrypt. You just need one right click and can select files or folders to be encrypted.
You can also schedule a limited time encryption of some certain files or folder by using the “timed’’ feature of it. Also a duration could be set and after the duration expires it will be decrypted itself. It provides so much ease with files remaining decrypted while they are in use and becomes auto-encrypted when stop using. It supports 128-bit AES encryption only.
Diskcryptor is an open-source program and it supports windows Servers, Desktop, and Laptops alike. It supports 256-bit encryption and complex system configurations like RAID.
GNU Privacy Guard (Windows/OS X/Linux)
GNU Privacy Guard is an open source encryption software which supports multiple encryption types and ciphers. It is generally capable of encrypting individual files one at a time, disk images, and volumes, or external drives and connected media.
7-Zip (Windows/OS X/Linux)
7-Zip is a lightweight and easy to use file archive software for Windows. It’s completely free, even for commercial use, supports 256-bit AES encryption and needs just a click to encrypt multiple files with the encryption key.
Hard Drive Encryption On Mac OS X
Follow these simple steps to encrypt the drive on your Mac OS X and enhance your data protection level;
- Go to the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
- Now click the Security & Privacy icon in the System Preferences window.
- Then click the FileVault tab and click the lock icon and enter an administrator name and password.
- Now click the Turn On FileVault button and don’t forget to keep your recovery key and password safe.
Encryption has now become a successful method to protect you from many potential threats and risks. It is an effective way to enhance data safety and to keep it away from the access of data snoopers who are always in search of your personal data. Therefore, always make sure that your devices are encrypted so that they couldn’t be negatively used if lost or stolen.
With the constantly increasing of modern people’s awareness of privacy protection, data/file encryption has become an indispensable part of our lives. Especially for some large companies and high-ranking workers in the office, looking for a good and practical file encryption software for computer is not so easy because the file encryption software market is flooded with innumerable similar encryption products from which you can hardly determine which to use.
Moreover, for the safety of vital files, they usually require a higher level of security for encryption, and the required file encryption software is mainly for business, not the general personal using. But don’t worry for we have sorted out the top 12 best file encryption software for you in this article, which can save your time and energy of finding out the most suitable file encryption software for Windows and Mac computer. The following is a general introduction and review on these 12 free file encryption software.
1. Gihosoft File Encryption (Windows)
Gihosoft File Encryption is one of the best file encryption software for PC. With which you can lock files and folder, create virtual disk to password protect files, make dummy files to confuse others, upload files to cloud. As a practical file encryption software for Windows, it mainly adopts the password to protect your vital or sensitive data/files, so only those who know the correct master password can open this program to access relevant data/files.
With a clean and intuitive graphic user interface, this program can let you conveniently find the function you need exactly, making it easy for you to get started! It both supports folder encryption and multiple file type encryption, such as the Excel file, picture file, Word file, etc. Besides, you can also create a virtual disk in which you can put files/folders to achieve file/folder encryption as well. It’s worth mentioning that you can download this file encryption software to try before purchase.
2. VeraCrypt (Windows/OS X/Linux)
VeraCrypt is another practical file encryption software which is free for users to download on Windows, OS X, and Linux. VeraCrypt is the branch and successor of TrueCrypt. It usually uses AES to encrypt files, in addition to TwoFish and Serpent. Apart from the encryption for individual folders of files, VeraCrypt can also create a virtual encrypted disk in a file, or use a pre-boot authentication to encrypt the partition or (in Windows) the entire storage device.
Those who love VeraCrypt praise it as an instant encryption tool because your files are only decrypted when needed and are encrypted at all other time. At the same time, many people say that even if it lacks a good-looking interface, it is still a powerful tool that is easy to use. You also noticed that VeraCrypt may not support TrueCrypt files and containers, but can convert them to its own format. Its development team is constantly working hard to improve the user experience, making it more functional.
3. 7-Zip (Windows/OS X/Linux)
7-Zip is a free file archiving program that is used to place files in a compressed container called “archive”. But in addition to that, it is still a good file encryption software for computer. It is mainly compatible with Windows, OS X, and Linux systems. It is worth noting that the official download of this file encryption software only supports Windows systems, but there are also unofficial versions supporting Linux and OS X systems.
7-Zip can convert a single file or an entire volume into an encrypted volume that only has the key you own. This program is completely free, even for commercial use, and it also supports 256-bit AES encryption. In addition to the security key, the single file can also be encrypted with a password and converted to an executable file that will be self-decrypted when it reaches the intended recipient.
4. AxCrypt (Windows)
AxCrypt is also an excellent free file encryption software for Windows 10/8/7 we strongly recommend for you. As a free, open source, and GNU GPL licensed encryption software, it is proud of its simplicity, efficiency, and ease of use. It integrates well with the Windows shell, so you can right-click on the file to encrypt it.
The best part is that it provides “timed” executable encryption to automatically decrypt the file after a certain period of time, or to automatically decrypt it when its intended recipient receives it. Files encrypted with AxCrypt can be decrypted as needed or kept decrypted while in use and then automatically re-encrypted when modified or closed. AxCrypt runs very fast, although you can choose to encrypt the entire folder or a large set of files.
5. BitLocker (Windows)
As we all know, BitLocker is a complete volume encryption tool which is built into Windows systems, and it supports all Windows versions starting with Windows Vista. In other words, it achieves data protection primarily by providing encryption for the entire volume. By default, it uses the AES encryption algorithm in the Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) or the XTS mode with a 128-bit or 256-bit key.
It provides users with a variety of authentication mechanisms, and the common ones of them are the traditional password and USB “key”. In addition to these two mechanisms, the controversial Trusted Platform Module (TPM) technology (using hardware to integrate keys into devices) is also used. Either way, the integration of BitLocker with Windows (especially Windows 8 Pro) makes BitLocker accessible to many people. At the same time, BitLocker is a viable disk encryption tool, especially for individual users who need to protect data when a laptop or hard drive is lost or stolen, in case their data is maliciously compromised.
LastPass is probably the most important choice as the best password manager tool for users. All the incredible features which this password manager tool offers are beneficial and handy for the users. The best part of using this password manager tool is that it is safe and secure than most of the other password manager tools available for the users. The latest encryption technology used in this password manager tool is pretty much capable of delivering high-end results to the users as their saved passwords will never get exposed or hacked suspiciously by the users. The easy to use and intuitive interface of this password manager tool is another very bad thing for the users, which attracts them the most. There is also a user-manual guide available for the users which they can read to set up as secure and safe password onto their accounts and other related websites. The two-factor authentication system available in this password manager tool is another considerable advantage for the users, which will add an extra layer of security in their accounts. Moreover, users can save or store different passwords for the multiple accounts present in their devices.
The advanced and optimized techniques of this password manager tool are probably the best part of it. When the features are optimized, then you will experience high-quality security features. The mobile application of LastPass is available for both Android and iOS users. Furthermore, users can also use the extension of the LastPass password manager tool in their main web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, etc. So, LastPass is an excellent choice for users with a lot of optimized features.
This password manager tool is designed and developed for macOS and Mac Hardware. FileVault2 software tool is an excellent choice for users who want to block every single unauthorized access into their private accounts. This password manager tool will not only manage your passwords but also it will provide you the security and privacy protection as well. FileVault2 password manager tool is developed with secured AES-128 encryption along with a crucial 256-bit algorithm to secure the passwords which have been saved by the users in their Mac devices. This password manager tool is an open-source software tool that can be used by any Mac user. However, this software also comes in a paid version, which will unlock premium security features to manage the passwords saved in the devices. The overall graphic user-interface of this software is also developed pretty much enhanced by its developers to make it more attractive than other software tools. There is no single chance for hackers to penetrate the security breaches set up by this password manager tool. All the passwords which have been saved in this software tool are entirely safe and secured. There is nothing to worry about when you have used FileVault2 encryption software on your device to secure your passwords and other confidential data.
Encryption Software For Mac
Yet another very excellent choice for the users as a free, open-source, and encryption software. As the name of this software itself suggest that this software can be used to encrypt or secure the data present in the internal or external hard disks of your PC. Even the system partitions and ISO images can be encrypted using this brilliant software whose name is DiskCryptor. The easy to use interface of this software is awesome, which will let you operate this software hassle-free. DiskCryptor is a full disk encryption tool that is now made as a partial disk encryption tool. There are multiple encryption techniques or algorithms that are working behind the functionality of this software like AES encryption, Twofish encryption, and many more secure encryption techniques as well. All you need to do is click on the “Encrypt data” option available inside this software and select the parts of the disk which you want to encrypt. After selecting the files, proceed to further guidelines to accomplish your task of encryption. As we already mentioned, DiskCryptor is very easy to use for every user, and encrypted data is safe and secured with this software. Users are not required to register themselves on this software as it doesn’t require any registration process to be done for the setup. Just launch this software on your PC, followed by a selection of files to encrypt them will do the job for you. We highly recommend this software to our users as DiskCryptor is very easy to use, and the interface of this software is incredibly well developed.
HTTPS Everywhere is a web browser which is particularly developed for the users who want to experience secured surfing on the web. Because data privacy is still the most critical concern among the users, hence HTTPS Everywhere browser becomes a good option to surf safely on the internet. The HTTPS Everywhere can be used in your system with other web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, etc. as well. The encryption technology used by this web browser is pretty much optimized and latest, which will make sure that your private data will not get hacked in any case.
Because most of the bank frauds and other financial frauds are done online, that’s why there is an urgent need for software that can protect the users from online fraud. And HTTPS Everywhere software is doing the same job for the users. This encryption software is pretty much secured, and there are no chances that anyone can steal any single bit of data from your systems. So, we would suggest our users install this browser on their PC for a safe and secure internet surfing.
10. Tor Browser
Tor Browser is yet another perfect kind of web browser which is developed to secure the traces of your online activities. This browser will secure all your online activities from prying eyes of hackers and other wrongdoers. The most important thing related to this software is that Tor browser will never let the hackers steal the IP address of your PC. The tor browser will always mask your identity in front of all users and will never let your privacy to be exposed. The latest version of Tor Browser 0.4.0.4 comes with several bugs fixes which makes it more convenient and relevant for the users. The latest and newly optimized alpha version of the tor browser is going to release very soon, which will offer so many newly optimized features to the users.
Basically, CyberGhost is not typical encryption software. CyberGhost is a VPN that users can use to connect to different networks and can make sure that their private data will remain confidential. VPN connections are the most secured connections available on the web, which are pretty much efficient as well. And one name in the segment of popular VPN connections is CyberGhost, which is an outstanding choice for the users. CyberGhost is developed with the latest encryption algorithms by the developers who can protect your online identity and data from suspicious activities. CyberGhost provides the feature of connecting to more than 100 different web servers of more than 50 plus countries. As browsing in private mode will secure your privacy concerns, that’s why CyberGhost becomes an excellent choice for every user. CyberGhost has recently won the “Best Value” category award of top VPN awards 2019.
CyberGhost VPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to the users. Furthermore, CyberGhost works very well with almost every OS like Windows, iOS, Mac OS, and Android OS as well. The basis user-manual guide available on this software is also beneficial for the users who are using a VPN connection for the very first time. That manual will guide them on how to use a VPN and how to switch the server connections instantly. That’s why to secure and encrypt all your digital assets in the most efficient manner; there will be no other choice better than CyberGhost VPN.
Another trendy name in this section of top VPN companies is ExpressVPN, and this undoubtedly one of the most incredible options which we have ever seen. The latest 256-bit AES encryption technology algorithm is used in this VPN connection, which is having on the most advanced privacy protection features. Express VPN also offers almost the same kind of functions as provided by CyberGhost VPN. ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to its users, which is probably one of the best features of this software. You can easily connect your PC to the servers of almost 148+ locations of 90 different countries, which is an incredible feature. Talking about the compatibility of ExpressVPN, then it is pretty much compatible with Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac OS as well. That’s why ExpressVPN has a huge fan following, and there can be no option better than this VPN company. The graphic user-interface of this VPN is also a great thing about it. Moreover, ExpressVPN is very simple and easy to install and use. The overall setup is also very convenient and reliable to use. So, ExpressVPN should be your backup choice because most of the VPN like CyberGhost is recently launched, and they frequently go out from working. So, in that case, ExpressVPN should have to do the job for you.
Applying these security measures to enhance your online safety
In this part of the article, we will now discuss some basic set of different security layers. There are many things which should be kept in mind while setting up multiple layers of security, such as:
- Using Antivirus software: If we use antivirus software on our PC, then it will provide an extra layer of protection from hackers. Additionally, antivirus software will also offer some different functions to use as well. However, you have to spend some additional money to purchase premium Antivirus software. Antivirus software will make sure that you are getting all-around protection for all your digital assets.
- Keeping both browser and OS up to date: Another very crucial thing which we should keep in our mind while setting up multiple layers of security is that we should keep both the OS and the web browser of our system updated.
- Be careful while connecting to Public networks: It is a well-known fact that the majority of the privacy threat is given by the public networks which aim to steal the confidential data of the users.
Those listed above are the top 12 best file encryption software that we have carefully selected for you from a wide range of similar products. We hope that you will consider them practical, and you can share these 12 best free file encryption software with your friends and family members who may be in need now. If you need help, you can leave your message in our comment section below!