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I've always heard people talk about Truecrypting their external hard drives. How do they do this? Is the hard drive encrypted as a hard drive itself, or do you just make an Truecrypt image and then put it onto the hard drive? (Which would mean that the encrypted files would be prone to deletion.)

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

There's a couple of approaches:

  1. Create a truecrypt partition. It won't be subject to accidental deletion. But your PC have to already have truecrypt running. Or create another partition with truecrypt on it.

  2. Create a truecrypt container file inside a normal partition. It can be deleted, but then again, we all know tools to undelete files. =) A container file does make backup easier.

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I'm interested in the tool to undelete files-May you elaborate on this? :) – JFW Oct 4 '10 at 15:07
+1. I prefer option 2. I once bricked an (old) external HDD when I created a truecrypt partition on the whole disk. – Nifle Oct 4 '10 at 15:07
@JFW: search for undelete file... personally use testdisk – fseto Oct 4 '10 at 15:14
option 2 plus 1 – RobotHumans Oct 4 '10 at 16:12

I have always done this as a large, single partition on the external hard drive - and as a corollary I always do container files on USB flash drives. By doing it as the partition instead of the entire drive - it prevents Windows (and possibly other operating systems) from trying to be helpful and prompt every single time that the device isn't formatted yet... Of course, that means the entire drive is only useful on a computer that has TrueCrypt installed, or where it can be run in Traveler Mode.

I think the real question is - how much encrypted storage do you need? Or perhaps, what the potential ramifications of storing unencrypted data on that drive? I would think those needs would dictate whether to use an entire partition/drive or a file container on the drive.

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