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True Crypt Thumb Drive Security

Posted on 2011-03-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
At the suggestion of the experts, I installed True Crypt on my computer and mounted two of my thumb drives with the True Crypt security.

When I take the secured drive to another computer, the drive shows up in my Explorer tree as a "Removable Disk", but the computer cannot access it - and doesn't prompt me for my True Crypt password.  I am running Windows 7. Please help.

Thanks,

Philip Simmons
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Question by:philsimmons
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7 Comments
 
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:michko
ID: 35071544
install truecrypt on the other computer.  you should then be able to open truecrypt, then open the thumb drive.

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Author Comment

by:philsimmons
ID: 35071804
Does True Crypt have to be open on whatever computer I'm using in order to open a secured volume?  What I was trying to accomplish is a transparent system similar to the hardware encryption that was available on my old Black Armor drive.

Thanks,

Phil
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LVL 35

Accepted Solution

by:
torimar earned 500 total points
ID: 35072071
You need to have the TrueCrypt executable on the thumb drive as well; this is called Portable Mode. Here's the documentation:
http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/?s=truecrypt-portable

Evidently, there are two ways to achieve this:
1. Don't encrypt the complete drive, but create a container of well-nigh drive size. Place TrueCrypt on the empty space.
2. Partition your drive into two partitions, a small and a large one; encrypt the large partition and place the TrueCrypt runtime on the small one.

Note: You will still need administrator privileges on the host computers in order to run TrueCrypt!

There is an alternative encryption tool which does not require admin privileges, but this one is not available for other platforms, like Truecrypt is. That tool is called FreeOTFE: http://www.freeotfe.org/


ps:
I saw your other question and prepared a post for it about TrueCrypt and FreeOTFE. Then I realized that you specifically asked for hardware encryption, so I let be.
It's a shame that other experts, if they decide to overrule your express preferences, do not inform you about the exact method to apply and do not mention the drawbacks.
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Author Comment

by:philsimmons
ID: 35072483
torimar,

Thanks 1,000,000 for the reply.  I, too, wondered why nobody had any suggestions for the hardware encrypted drive (I assumed that for some reason they were no longer available).  If you have a simple and reliable hardware solution, I would be willing to pay a premium to get it.  If not, I also appreciate your clarification of what I need to do to make the TrueCrypt Portable work.  I wanted to make sure you got this reply (and offered any hardware suggestions you may have previously prepared), but once I hear back from you I'll close the issue and award you the points.

Phil
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:torimar
ID: 35072774
philsimmons,

I'm afraid the reason for me to not post in your other thread was that I do not know any hardware encrypted external disks that would fulfil your requirements.
Personally, I go with the "two partition" solution described above, and I try to have only those files in the encrypted section which actually need to be there. I need TrueCrypt because I work a lot with Linux computers, but I hardly need the portable mode, because on practically all of my work computers I am an administrator and I can easily install TC if I need it.

On thumb drives I sometimes even use only single file/archive protection as offered by small tools like Sophos Free Encryption: http://www.sophos.com/products/free-tools/sophos-free-encryption.html

If I were in your position I'd possible run a mixed scheme with a FreeOTFE encrypted partition for principle use on Windows PCs where you are no administrator, and a Portable TrueCrypt container on another partition containing the files you will need to access on Mac OS computers.
This will require more disk space, but with software encryption you are free to choose any external drive you like, so the loss could be made up for.

Sorry I cannot be of more help.
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Tolomir
ID: 35073860
I'm not torimar ;-)

You can give ironkey a try.

See https://www.ironkey.com/personal for details.

Advantage runs without the need to install anything on any computer. Allows you to use firefox in portable mode, without the need to store any temporary data on the computer you run it on.

Tolomir

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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Tolomir
ID: 35073873
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