Our computers hold a large amount of important data including work documents and photos from our holidays. In order to keep our valuable files private, it is important to take the necessary measures to prevent eavesdroppers and malicious hackers from accessing our information. With the help of disk encryption software, it is possible to protect your data from unauthorized access. These applications use technology that can keep your data safe by ensuring that only you get access to it. Privacy can’t be taken for granted and using tools like the ones included in this list, will allow you to ensure that your data is not compromised. Let’s take a look at the best encryption software for Windows.
TrueCrypt was a popular encryption solution that was discontinued a few years ago. VeraCrypt is one of the best alternatives to TrueCrypt and it is even based on that software. As you would expect, VeraCrypt is very close to TrueCrypt in terms of functionality, but it works even better since it has addresses many of the issues that affected the original application. VeraCrypt is free and open source and it comes with additional features and high level encryption to protect your data. It is designed to offer effective protection against brute-force attacks. With VeraCrypt, you can encrypt entire disk partitions and even the entire hard drive. You can also encrypt a hard drive or USB stick. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Although it may take a while to get familiar with it, Gpg4win is a a versatile and powerful software that offers a wide variety of options. This Windows based graphical front is designed for the GnuPG implementation of the OpenPGP encryption standard. It allows you to secure your data, as well as your email and more. In order to start using the file encryption functionality, you just need to install Gpg4win and ensure that you select to install the GPA, which stands for GNU Privacy Assistant. This is a sub-module that you can choose during the setup and once you run it, you will be asked to create your own secure key that is the result of hashing information like name, email and password. With this key, you will be able to encrypt files and folders and sign email messages digitally.
Dekart Private Disk is reliable, easy to use and it can manage encryption tasks seamlessly. It focuses on trusted encrypted volumes but it offers additional options. After installing and running the program, you can easily access all the features available using the singular tabbed window. The encrypted volumes created are protected with AES-256 algorithm and an additional layer of security is implemented using passwords. The highlight of Dekart Private Disk is the Disk Firewall feature which helps to stop unauthorized applications from accessing the encrypted volumes and the files they contain. Only the programs that you have whiteleisted can go through and the software also supports encrypted backups and the possibility of wiping encrypted data completely.
DiskCryptor is a feature-rich solution that offers powerful performance. The interface is straightforward and user-friendly so you won’t have issues encrypting your valuable data. The software focuses on encrypting existing disk volumes, instead of creating new ones. In order to start using the tool, you just need to select the disk volume that should be encrypted. Then, you will be asked to adjust additional settings including encryption algorithms and passwords. After the encrypted volume has been created, you will need to place it on one of the mount points to be able to access and modify it. Encryption algorithms like Twofish and AES are supported and DiskCryptor can also be used to encrypt optical disks and the system bootloader. It is free and compatible with Windows.
If you prefer a no frills solution and that allows you to encrypt files and folders without complications, AxCrypt may be the best option for you. AxCrypt is very easy to use and even beginners can quickly get used to the way it works. The interface is very simple and only features one windows with two columns. On the left, you will see the list of drives and files on your computer, organized in a tree like structure. You can easily browse to get the data that you want to encrypt. Then you can right-click on the file or folder and choose “Encrypt”. Then you can specify the encryption password and an optional keyfile and that is all. AxCrypt uses AES encryption algorithm and it supports additional features such as passphrase caching and auto-encryption of modified files. AxCrypt can be used as a portable application and it is compatible with Windows.
Bitlocker doesn’t have the same features of TrueCrypt or VeraCrypt, but it offers similar functionality. It can encrypt entire volumes using AES with 128 or 256-bit key. However, Bitlocker won’t create encrypted containers, which is something that VeraCrypt can do. When you use Bitlocker, you will need to encrypt entire partitions simultaneously, which can be an issue if you are using a shared computer because other users may be able to access the files if you don’t log off. Unlike VeraCrypt, Bitlocker is not open source so it is not possible to audit it independently to verify that it doesn’t contain backdoors.