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Old 07-21-2012, 03:53 PM   #21
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Consider using TruCrypt. I used it and it worked very well and very fast. Just remember the password or you are toast!

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Old 07-21-2012, 08:48 PM   #22
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Why not just keep your confidential stuff on a thumb-drive and leave it in a secure place. Better yet keep 2 copies on two drives in two different places.

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Old 07-21-2012, 10:14 PM   #23
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Folder encryption, even when it works, creates a false sense of security. Open a file and there's a good chance a temp copy is made which is unencrypted (because its not in the encrypted directory). These temp files can be retrieved with unerase software. Plus bits and pieces can end up in the unencrypted swap file.

I have to add my recommendation of TrueCrypt to the list. It encrypts the entire drive transparent to Windows. It will ask you for the password prior to the Windows boot loader running. As noted, don't lose the password.... Truecrypt provides among the highest strength encryption which even attempts by governments to crack encrypted drives failed. The nice thing is it is highly optimized and you're not likely to perceive any noticeable slowdown of the computer at all. Its been around for a long time, is well tested and best of all... free. Even so, its recommended you backup the drive prior to encrypting it (it will encrypt it in the back ground while you use it, you can even shut down and it will pick up where it left off).
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:34 AM   #24
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I would use a whole disk encryption method and not bother with individual folders. I would also turn on password protection so you have to login every time your computer sleeps / screen saver comes on (and make the duration short).
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:48 PM   #25
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Be careful if you use the included XP folder encryption feature (the one where the encrypted folders are green in color).

It won't explicitly ask you for a password everytime you use it, but if you later upgrade your OS without remembering to download your credentials first, you will loose access to your files after the upgrade.

I prefer to use Truecrypt on a whole drive (my E:'ncrypted' drive in my case).
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:05 PM   #26
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Thanks a lot for the replies - sounds like Truecrypt is a good option. As far as backups, though, I assume using truecrypt (or other encryption) isn't going to be compatible with something like google drive, where the files automatically sync to my online storage?

I'm ok with using a backup external drive, it's just more of a hassle because it means I have to manually do the backup. But there aren't really that many files that are critical to have encrypted, and they're not ones I use often anyway, so that's workable.

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Old 07-23-2012, 05:23 PM   #27
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Create an encrypted volume with Truecrypt and back that up where you can. The volume can be whatever size you like. It appears as a file on your local drive. It can be backed up as any other file can.

What I have is a 2GB encrypted volume on my hard drive. I log into windows and I am prompted for my encrypted volume password. I enter the password and the file mounts as a volume with drive letter. You see folders and files as if they are on any other volume.

You can encrypt entire drives or just a portion. In this case, I am limiting the size of the encrypted volume to 2GB so that I can more readily back it up to cheaper media, like a usb drive or dvd. You have to make decisions based on your need.
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Old 07-23-2012, 05:44 PM   #28
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I keep all of my private files on the cloud on Google Docs, soon to be Google Drive. That means I can access the info from any computer, anywhere. Nothing on my computer.
Won't help if someone grabs the computer while I'm connected to the cloud, but ya gotta trust somebody.

BTW... Google Docs has most of the features of Open Office, for spreadsheets, and most common documents. I find it easier to use.

I am not naive enough to believe that anything is foolproof, but Google's 2 step verification, and other security features is a step in the right direction.
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:15 AM   #29
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I use google drive too, but I use the sync feature so that I have a folder on my desktop and anything I put into it is automatically backed up online.

The suggestions to simply use an external drive made me think harder about what stuff I have that really needs to be encrypted versus just important files that need to be backed up on a regular basis. And it's really not much stuff that needs to be encrypted, I would only do that for things that have account numbers, SS#s, etc. And they're files I rarely use. Now I'm thinking maybe I'll just keep the sensitive files online in my account (which is online-only, same as how imoldernu uses google drive).

That doesn't solve missionfinder's point about temp copies that could be recovered if I open the doc on my computer, I guess.


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