How to Encrypt your Hard Drive

Published on February 13, 2014

Hard drives hold all kinds of personal data that many would like to keep protected.  The easiest way to protect your hard drive from being compromised is to encrypt it.

Encrypting a hard drive is essentially giving your hard drive an extra layer of heavy armor that will help prevent attempts at information theft.  Encrypting is a much more secure form of protecting your information than, say, a system password.  It will conceal the data your drive holds and make accessing the files just about impossible for anyone who does not know the password.

Should you encrypt your hard drive?  The answer is a resounding yes.  Avoid the hassle of fraud and theft of all kinds by encrypting now rather than later.

Tools to Encrypt Your Hard Drive

There are a couple of ways you can go about encrypting your hard drive.

If you are a Windows 7 Ultimate or Business user, it comes with BitLocker which is a tool that lets you encrypt your entire hard drive.

If you use Windows 7 but don't have Ultimate or Business editions, TrueCrypt is a great free/open-source tool which has the ability to encrypt your entire disk (or a portion of it), or even your external drive.

For Mac OS X users, you can use FireVault which encrypts your Mac's home folder.  (Or your whole hard drive, assuming you're on OS X "Lion" or newer.)

Users can also consider buying external hard drives (or flash drives) that automatically include encryption tools.  Some even have built-in fingerprint sensors!

Guides to Encrypting Your Hard Drive


There are a few guides available online to help you encrypt your own hard drive.  The best we've seen is Lifehacker's article, which you can access by clicking here.

In addition to the Lifehacker article, you can refer to PCWorld's article.  It has a general section, but also a section with really specific information.  You can access this article by clicking here.

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