Following shaneselman's advice (http://www.hanselman.com/blog/TheComputerBackupRuleOfThree.aspx), I'm setting up a 2TB external drive as a backup, and encrypting it using TrueCrypt. This is under Windows 7. (I've used TrueCrypt before, but not since XP days.) I installed TrueCrypt with default options.

After taking 23 hours to format the 2TB container, it finishes with an error saying "TrueCrypt cannot obtain administrator privileges." When I click OK on that, it says it can't format the container as NTFS, do I want to format it as FAT, and I don't so I click No, and it exits with nothing to show for 23 hours of compute time.

So I set the "Run as administrator flag" on the TrueCrypt shortcut, and try again. This time, when I go to format the contain (prepared to wait ANOTHER 23 hours), it pops up a dialog saying you're formatting this as administrator. "The volume may be created with permissions that will not allow you to write to the volume when it is mounted. If you want to avoid that, close this instance of Volume Creation Wizard and launch a new one without administrator privileges."

Great - I can either run as non-administrator, and it will fail to create the volume at all, or I can run as administrator and create a volume I can't write to.

I think I'm doing something wrong, but it's not clear to me what. Any help?

4 Answers 4


The answer to this is that TrueCrypt, at the completion of the formatting operation, pops up a dialog box requesting Administrator access (probably if you have UAC turned on, which I do). But if there is no response to that dialog within a reasonable time (a few minutes, I think), then the dialog times out and fails, causing the observed error message.

Since the format operation took nearly 24 hours, I wasn't sitting there watching for it to complete. When I figured this out and re-ran it, I paid attention to the time remaining, and made sure that I WAS there to respond to the Dialog when the format operation finished.

  • 1
    The easier way is to just run it as admin from the start.
    – Bob
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 10:15

You can launch Truecrypt with elevated privileges and format the volume.

Once you have done that, just add your user account to the list of accounts that have access to the drive. (You can do this because Windows will automatically request that you elevate to take ownership of the disk, in case you do not have access to it.)


You can also format the drive as FAT32 and once the process completes reformat the volume as NTFS.


If you're just going to go away and let truecrypt run on it's own, you could temporarily lower the security threshold and simply allow programs to run without confirmation pop-ups:

"Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Action Center"->User Acount Control -> change settings.

Lower the bar to "never notify". To be on the safe side, pull out your network cable before you do this, and set the bar up to whatever setting it was at after you're done.

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