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I've considered encrypting my laptop hard drive for a while now, but the only thing holding m back is my Microsoft SQL Server 2008 installation. I use my laptop for development and also have some private information on the laptop that I want to keep private, but at the same time I also don't want to impair my ability to develop applications. (I'm currently running 64-bit Windows 7 on an Asus i5 laptop.)

I had thought of creating a new partition that would not be encrypted and copying my SQL data files to that drive - as there would only be non-sensitive dummy data in those databases. Therefore my database server would not have to slog through an encrypted partition to read/write the files.

Has anyone had any experience with encrypting the drive of a development laptop without any significant hit on performance?

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You do know you can transfer the files between hdds( even if its not encrypted ) provided you use Microsoft encryption method. You are simply asked for the password to the encryption within a prompt. Why don't you simply encrypt the personal information and/or do not store personal informatin on your development machine? Furthermore I do not believe there would be any performance lost at all even if you were to install SQL Server on it, the fact your hdd is encrypted, is suppose to be invisable to the system itself. – Ramhound Sep 16 '11 at 18:23
possible duplicate of What software should I use to encrypt my hard drive? – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Sep 17 '11 at 8:14
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I suggest you use TrueCrypt to encrypt your entire drive, right from the boot process, because that way everything is encrypted. The software, including your database server software, won't notice any difference, and if you have one of the newer CPUs that had specialized AES processing functionality (hardware accelerated AES) then TrueCrypt will take advantage of that too (which will benefit performance).


I use TrueCrypt to encrypt the entire hard drives of all my computers, and I've not experienced any performance problems with it (even with my older machines) with versions 6 or 7 (although version 5 was a bit slower, but that's ancient history now). I'm also using PostgreSQL for database development and it doesn't seem to be effected negatively.

You can create a separate partition that holds non-encrypted data, but the speed benefit will likely be unnoticeable (and if a temporary file with important data lands on that unencrypted partition, then you'll have defeated your efforts to use encryption to protect your data). Encrypting everything is also better because an adversary won't know which encrypted data is important without first decrypting it, and not having to deal with multiple partitions is also simpler.

I really like the idea of using encryption because if someone physically steals my computer they won't be able to access my data unless they can also decrypt it (but most people who steal computers are usually more interested in selling them on the black market, and I suspect that the buyers are usually more interested in just getting a cheap computer for their own personal use -- if they can't log in to the OS, then my guess is that they'll most likely just format with a new OS installation).

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I guess in a round-about way, that was my question. If using TrueCrypt would allow SQL serve 2008 to run properly. – Andy Evans Sep 16 '11 at 18:31
Yes. TrueCrypt won't cause any interference for MS-SQL Server (or any other applications). – Randolf Richardson Sep 16 '11 at 18:36
Thanks for the help ... thought a little research before I have an 'Oh crap' moment. – Andy Evans Sep 16 '11 at 20:19
The easy way to avoid that moment is to backup everything first (everyone should be backing up their data regularly anyway). =) – Randolf Richardson Sep 16 '11 at 20:51

We've had good luck with both TrueCrypt and PGP's full disk encryption. There is a performance impact, but it's not huge. Tom's Hardware did a decent review for TrueCrypt here.

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