How to Securely Store Files in Windows

by Ross McKillop on October 10, 2007

Security Windows

This tutorial will guide you step by step through the process of setting up and using TrueCrypt, an easy to use and open-source (free) program that allows you to store files in a secure and encrypted “volume” on your hard drive.

  1. Head over to the TrueCrypt download page and then download and install TrueCrypt for Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000. The installation process is very straight forward – you’ll click Next a few times and be done.
  2. When asked if you want to read the Beginner’s Tutorial on using TrueCrypt, click No. This tutorial will guide you through everything.
  3. setting up truecrypt
    click to enlarge

  4. Launch TrueCrypt from your Start Menu, and click the Create Volume button.

  5. click to enlarge

  6. Make sure that Create an encrypted file container is selected, and click Next.

  7. click to enlarge

  8. Leave Standard TrueCrypt Volume selected, and click Next.

  9. click to enlarge

  10. Navigate to the location where you want to save your TrueCrypt file. I opted to save mine in my “My Documents” folder, but you can save it anywhere you prefer. This is the file that will act as the “storage” for all of the files you want to keep safe. Give your encrypted ‘storage file’ (volume) a name. Do not select an existing file, or it will be over-written. Click the Save button when you’re done.

  11. click to enlarge

  12. Back at the Volume Location screen, click Next.

  13. click to enlarge

  14. Review the info on the Encryption Options page – but leave the defaults selected unless you’re sure you want to make changes. Click Next.

  15. click to enlarge

  16. Now decide how large you want this encrypted volume to be. If you’re only going to store text files, .doc/.xls or other Office files – you may want to keep this fairly small. I made mine 500MB, so that I could store quite a few files and folders. If you ever need to increase the size of your storage, you can always create another TrueCrypt file. The default Size is set in MB (megabytes). If you want to create a one or two (or fifty..) GB (gigabyte) file – so you can save a lot of files/folders in your secure volume, select GB instead of MB, and enter the number of gigabytes you want your TrueCrypt file/volume to be. Click Next when you’re ready to move on.

  17. click to enlarge

  18. Now enter a password in the spaces provided. The longer and more unique the password (ie. use special characters like @ # $ % * + etc) the better. Important: you will never be able to recover this password. While you should make it very, very strong – you should also remember it. Write it down on a piece of paper and hide the paper if you must, but don’t forget the password :) Again, click Next.

  19. click to enlarge

  20. In the Options section, decide which Filesystem you want your TrueCrypt volume to use. I opted for NTFS – though FAT is fine as well.

    Now move your mouse around the Volume Format window. You’ll notice that as the cursor moves, the Random Pool characters change as well. The cursor movement helps to create a unique value that TrueCrypt will use. After a good 30 seconds of mouse shaking, click the Format button.


  21. click to enlarge

  22. And now your encrypted volume will be created. Depending on how large you decided to make the file and how fast your PC is, this can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.

  23. click to enlarge

  24. When it’s done, click OK.
  25. Now you can Exit out of the Wizard.

  26. click to enlarge

  27. Back in the main TrueCrypt window, click the Select File… button.

  28. click to enlarge

  29. Navigate to the file you created back in step 6, select it, and click Open.

  30. click to enlarge

  31. Now pick a drive letter that you want this ‘volume’ to use. I opted for H:, since I never have an H: drive even when I plug in all of my external drives. It doesn’t really matter which drive letter you choose, just make sure it’s not one already in use. Click Mount.

  32. click to enlarge

  33. Enter your password and click OK.
  34. Your encrypted volume will mount itself as the drive letter you selected.

  35. click to enlarge

  36. Open “My Computer” and select your newly created drive.

  37. click to enlarge

  38. Now you can copy (or more likely move) any kind of file to this volume, and they’ll be encrypted on the fly.

    Very Important: as long as you leave your TrueCrypt drive open, the files and folders contained within it will be accessible to anyone who has access to your PC. It isn’t until the next step that the files and folders contained within your volume become 100% secure.


  39. click to enlarge

  40. Back in TrueCrypt, unmount the drive by clicking the Dismount button.

  41. click to enlarge

  42. Your H: (or whatever letter you selected) drive will disappear. The files stored on that volume are now only accessible by re-mounting the volume and entering your password.

    To re-mount the volume, simply open TrueCrypt and repeat steps #15-18.
    Remember, all those files and folders stored in your TrueCrypt volume are actually saved “inside” the file you created in Step #6. No one but you can access them.


  43. click to enlarge

  • Pingback: University Update - Open Source - How to securely store files in Windows

  • Pingback: How to create a Password Protected Folder in Windows 7 — Simple Help

  • nazanin

    hiiii
    plz help me
    i have forgot the folder i made in step 6 and now i dont know what to do
    plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz tell me what i should do
    can i uninstall it to have access to my folder in which i have my pictures and it is not available as i have encrypted it with true crypt
    i know the drive but not the folder :-|
    thank u very much

  • nazanin

    hiiii
    plz help me
    i have forgot the folder i made in step 6 and now i dont know what to do
    plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz tell me what i should do
    can i uninstall it to have access to my folder in which i have my pictures and it is not available as i have encrypted it with true crypt
    i know the drive but not the folder :-|
    thank u very much

  • Khaya

    Nice one!!! I like

  • zodags

    great software… this is what i’m looking for. thank you very much TRUECRYPT developers and authors. from now on, my private and important files will be secured.

  • zodags

    if you know the drive, then i think you have to try re-mounting it or follow step 17.

  • prince

    wow,thanks.hahaha

  • chao

    can this be done with an external hardrive?

  • http://www.simplehelp.net/ Ross McKillop

    @70d46a5d9477582fa9b943850fa60bd8:disqus – absolutely yes :)

  • habitatkid54

    Thanks! Appreciate it :)

  • Biowaves

    Thanks very much, i’m very very grateful.

  • Pingback: How to create a Password Protected Folder in Windows 7 « niee.info

  • Huex

    Thanks for the help! great guide! :)

  • Adonsty

    thanks alot. keep it up. u are great uknow. one love!

  • anon

    This may be a stupid question, but I have a concern about the files I have saved with TrueCrypt not being backed up properly. I use Carbonite. I keep getting a warning that the files on this drive are not able to be backed up and that within 30 days they will be deleted from the Carbonite server. I want the files secure but I also want them backed up. What do I do?

  • claire

    hi, does it matter if i dont wait 30 seconds to create the unique random pool characters?

  • claire

    what i did before was just move my cursor a little bit so the random pool will start going around then i just click format, it was more like 5-10 seconds, will this affect the strength of the encrypted file? please help me, otherwise im gonna delete and create another strong one, thank u so much

  • anon

    Never mind. I just read the “How to back up securely” info. Thanks!

  • BatchBeginner

    Well, the longer you move the cursor the better. But 5-10 sec is probably enough…unless you have The US Military Top Secret files stored in there;).Yes, it can affect the strength, but you are safe without professional software hackers/programmers messing with your computwe

  • imye18

    Hi, uhm what if someone deletes my true crypt app ? Will my files also disappear and get deleted? and if not can i still open it by downloading the software the again? thanks

  • http://www.simplehelp.net/ Ross McKillop

    You’ll always be able to open the file just by re-downloading TrueCrypt. If the file is on a USB drive you can open it on someone elses PC as long as they have TrueCrypt installed as well.

  • Levi Smith

    I created two hidden folders but in the places I made them I cant find them..like they dont exist. what am I doing wrong? Im running windows 7 and try to save it in a folder in the documents area.

  • sheekitl

    how do i remove the created volume?

  • Frank

    MY file isn’t showing up in my new drive! HELP!

  • habeeb

    the file what we created is being deleted with out any warning, what is the use if we cant protect the file with out getting deleted

  • llcacio

    Works perfectly with one exception. The above instructions were written with an older version, I think, because there are some extra screens on v.7.1a that do not appear here, but it works perfectly. Mounts and dismounts as described. Completely hidden until I remount the folder.

    The one instruction I would add is that this version works when you create a completely new folder within the creation process and then copy your contents into the new encrypted folder.
    My first time through, I tested it with an existing empty folder and was prompted that it would be deleted. I assumed it would recreate the folder, but instead I received an error message that the process could not be completed. So, I backed up one step, deleted my empty folder in Explorer, and then created the folder in the TrueCrypt creation process rather than selecting an existing folder.
    I don’t know if this is a bug, or if some step was not clear. But in the end it worked fine by creating a folder within the TrueCrypt creation process. I was able to copy my files into the new encrypted folder, mount, dismount, and remount the folder without any trouble. All files copied to the new folder are there and function as expected.
    Overall, I’m satisfied and made a donation.