System encryption software
If you have valuable data on your computer(s) or network of computers, you should consider using encryption to protect it. The following article provides a good introduction to what is involved in system encryption.
System Encryption: BitLocker And TrueCrypt Compared –
“Now that Intel offers hardware-based AES acceleration in a number of its mainstream processors, it’s time to take a look at two of the most popular system encryption tools, BitLocker and TruCrypt, both of which are able to harness the hardware feature.”
An external hard disk drive is an external device that may contain data that you would like to protect. There are two main ways of protecting the data on one – by making use of encryption software that can also provide password protection, which can be free or paid for, and by making use of a password-protected screensaver that you can activate when you are not at the computer. Some external hard disk drives come with encryption software that also provides password protection. Note that the free encryption software tends to be difficult to use while the paid-for software is much easier to use but worth the price if you don’t want to read through a user manual.
Encryption of a whole drive or just some of the data on it will only provide security when the external drive is not connected to the computer that encrypted that data. Anyone trying to connect the drive to another computer or to your own computer will not be able to access the data because it is both encrypted and password-protected. But when the drive is connected to its computer, anyone will be able to access the data, so the best way to protect it is to make use of a screensaver that provides password protection that can be activated when you are away from the computer or after a set period of the computer being inactive. If you don’t know anything about screensavers, enter the word screensaver in the Search box of Help and Support in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Here is a thread from a computer forum that deals with this subject:
How to password-protect an external hard drive –
Folder and whole hard-disk-drive encryption
If you have read the numerous accounts of the loss of DVD data discs and USB flash drives (memory sticks) by government departments and laptops that have gone missing, you will have heard of a protective measure called encryption that was not used in most of the losses. If encryption had been used, the data would have been unrecoverable by thieves. Third-party software has been providing full hard-disk encryption for many years. Windows XP provides folder encryption – the Encrypting File System (EFS), which is not suitable for use on laptops – and Windows Vista and Windows 7 & 8 provide full disc encryption called BitLocker Drive Encryption. Note that BitLocker Drive Encryption is only available in Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 8.1 Enterprise editions.
Here are the articles on Microsoft’s site that provide the information on how to use it:
BitLocker Drive Encryption Step-by-Step Guide for Windows 7 –
Windows 8.1 Will Start Encrypting Hard Drives By Default: Everything You Need to Know –