How to Securely Store Files in 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
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  4. Launch TrueCrypt from your Start Menu, and click the Create Volume button.

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

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

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  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.

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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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

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

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

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  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.

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

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

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  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.

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

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  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.

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{ 31 comments… add one }
  • nazanin November 2, 2012, 8:25 am

    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 November 5, 2012, 5:25 am

    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 March 14, 2013, 3:11 am

    Nice one!!! I like

  • zodags March 16, 2013, 9:45 am

    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 March 16, 2013, 9:56 am

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

  • prince March 29, 2013, 5:09 am


  • chao April 11, 2013, 10:16 pm

    can this be done with an external hardrive?

  • Ross McKillop April 12, 2013, 2:05 am

    @70d46a5d9477582fa9b943850fa60bd8:disqus – absolutely yes :)

  • habitatkid54 April 21, 2013, 10:36 pm

    Thanks! Appreciate it :)

  • Biowaves May 8, 2013, 10:58 am

    Thanks very much, i’m very very grateful.

  • Huex May 17, 2013, 8:56 pm

    Thanks for the help! great guide! :)

  • Adonsty May 18, 2013, 4:48 am

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

  • anon May 31, 2013, 11:37 pm

    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 June 1, 2013, 7:59 am

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

  • claire June 1, 2013, 8:02 am

    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 June 1, 2013, 11:57 am

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

  • BatchBeginner June 23, 2013, 2:19 am

    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 June 27, 2013, 11:51 pm

    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

  • Ross McKillop June 28, 2013, 12:52 am

    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 July 16, 2013, 4:33 am

    I created two hidden folders but in the places I made them I cant find 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 November 20, 2013, 6:37 am

    how do i remove the created volume?

  • Frank December 10, 2013, 9:57 pm

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

  • habeeb April 9, 2014, 2:09 am

    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 May 1, 2014, 11:25 am

    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.

  • Marta Ramirez March 20, 2015, 3:47 am


    Is this file current? I just clicked to download TrueCrypt and got this message:

    “WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues
    This page exists only to help migrate existing data encrypted by TrueCrypt.
    The development of TrueCrypt was ended in 5/2014 after Microsoft terminated support of Windows XP. Windows 8/7/Vista and later offer integrated support for encrypted disks and virtual disk images. Such integrated support is also available on other platforms (click here for more information). You should migrate any data encrypted by TrueCrypt to encrypted disks or virtual disk images supported on your platform.

    Migrating from TrueCrypt to BitLocker”

    Has this system stopped being secured? I read on other posts that BitLocker is not safe. Can we trust anyone?

  • anna December 28, 2018, 9:54 pm


  • sanjaya February 24, 2019, 4:05 am

    When using a folder with a password for it’s protect, with in using Text file with command (.bat file) on Windows 10, a folder is opened for a folder where you can see the my command line on the window where you can see the preview pane window. How to stop it. and How does the folder lock inhibit the ability to delete someone else? plz help me. my english bad

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