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I want to encrypt a non-system partition with TrueCrypt in Windows 7, and I would like to re-use the previous drive letter. Is this possible?

The TrueCrypt documentation is not really clear about this. After encrypting a non-system partition, there is a warning panel in the Volume Creation Wizard:

IMPORTANT: Please keep in mind that this volume can NOT be mounted/accessed using the drive letter E:, which is currently assigned to it!


The original drive letter E: should only be used in case you need to remove encryption from the partition/device (e.g.. if you no longer need encryption). In such a case, right-click the drive letter E: in the 'Computer' (or 'My Computer') list and select 'Format'. Otherwise, the drive letter E: should never be used (unless you remove it, as described e.g. in the TrueCrypt FAQ, and assign it to another partition/device).

The TrueCrypt FAQ describes how you remove a drive letter assignment from the original partition, which is just the way to reassing/remove a drive letter for any drive in Windows.

Apart from the warning panel of the Volume Creation Wizard, the TrueCrypt documentation does not mention that you should not "re-use" the previous drive letter.

So the question is: does anyone know if the following should work, or if there will be issues with this?

  1. Encrypt a Volume currently mapped as drive letter E:
    • E: will still appear in Windows, but look like an unformatted partition, Windows Disk Management console shows partition as RAW
  2. Mount this TrueCrypt Volume as drive letter F:
    • E: and F: will both be shown in Windows, F: will contain the data, E: will not be accessible
  3. Remove the assignment of drive letter E: from the Windows Disk Management console
  4. Re-mount the TrueCrypt volume under the (now free) drive letter E:

Thanks for any input.

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If you can remove the assignment of the RAW partition for E: and truecrypt and still access the drive, then you are just fine to mount the unencrypted drive as E: or any other unused drive letter. (I'd give a less vague answer, except the truecrypt site is down and I can't doublecheck things.)

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Thanks, I will try this out... – Palmin Jun 27 '13 at 15:41

There was no mention of success or failure using the above. I can confirm that I did successfully do this on my configuration (with Windows 7 and TrueCrypt). So in summary, it looks like you do have to sacrifice a drive letter to use full disk encryption on a non-system partition/drive, but it does not have to remain drive D: (or whatever).

(Also, on a side note, beware that TrueCrypt can unencrypt a system partition/drive, but a non-system partition/drive essentially requires reformatting to undo.)

Steps (basically as the questioner outlined):

  1. remap physical drive from D: to N: using Control Panel => Administrative Tools => Computer Management => Disk Management
  2. delete any previous TrueCrypt system favorite mapping of D: to Whatever: ; restart computer
  3. using TrueCrypt, mount physical N: as TrueCrypt D:, then make it a systems favorite and automount it each time the computer boots
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As opposed to what bluelake's answer says, you don't have to sacrifice a letter. This is what I just did (Windows 7, 32 bit): I wanted to encrypt drive D (hd 1).

  1. From Computer Management, I removed the assignment of the letter D: for hd 1.
  2. In Truecrypt, I encrypted in place hd 1 (took 17 hours for a 1TB disk).
  3. In Truecrypt, I mounted hd 1 as the D: drive.
  4. In Truecrypt, System Favorites, I ticked "Mount as Window Starts" and the option below (only sysadmins can dismount).

For all practical purposes, drive D: functions exactly as before, but it is encrypted.

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