SEC ARRAYS BLOG

How To Encrypt Your Windows Hard Drive With VeraCrypt

In this final part of a three-part series, we’re now going to look at how to encrypt your Windows hard drive with VeraCrypt. In part one we show how to make a normal encrypted folder and in part two how to make a hidden folder inside an encrypted folder.
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But now we’re going to ante and encrypt the
hard drive. After a few stiff drinks to build up the courage to find it’s time to get
this show on the streets.

How To Encrypt Your Windows Hard Drive To Keep Snoopers

It’s actually not too difficult to do. Just follow these steps in order and hopefully your computer won’t explode in your face either. I assume you already have VeraCrypt installed, but if not you can get it here.

First, open up VeraCrypt and click “Create Volume”.

You will then see three options. We already did the first two in the previous article. Today we’re going for option number three – “ Encrypting the system partition or the entire system drive. 
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Click “ Next ” to continue.
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In this case we are going for a normal encryption, not a ” hidden operating system “. So choose the first option and click ” Next ” to move on.
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Personally, I feel (although you may not agree) that
all you need to do is encrypt the part of the hard drive with the Windows operating system
– system on it.

Keeping it simple (that’s always a mantra of mine),
I went for option one – “Encrypt the Windows system partition”. You can decide to
choose the second option, but if you do, you will get plenty of warnings about
the consequences if it goes wrong.

If you only have Windows on your computer then you have
a single boot system. If you have multiple operating systems (e.g. Windows
and e.g. Linux) on your computer then it is a multi-boot system. So
choose which one you have.

It will now ask you which encryption option you would like.
But as I said in previous articles, unless you have a specific
reason why, leave the encryption protocols at their default settings. This is
the AES standard used by governments to encrypt secret documents. Also leave
the hash algorithm as is.

Click on Continue”.

After you have your desired password, it’s time to
generate your key. Make as strong as possible, you have to
move your mouse or trackpad around the VeraCrypt window in a “random order”.

As you do this, the bar at the bottom will
turn from red to yellow, eventually green. When the green bar is full on the far right hand
end of the screen, click “Next.”

Since you are now encrypting a hard drive (or part of it
), you need to take an additional cautionary step when you lock yourself out
of your hard drive. That is called VeraCrypt Rescue Disk (VRD), which
fixes damage to the VeraCrypt bootloader or to Windows so that you
(hopefully) report it.

However, there is n’t
a security risk to this rescue disk since you still need to encrypt
a password for it to work.

VeraCrypt will choose an area for your rescue hard drive to be
placed once it is created. But you can easily move it to another location if
you want by clicking the “Browse” button. DO NOT uncheck the “Skip Rescue Disk
Exam” option – this is the main thing.

Click on Continue”.

This next step opens the Windows Disk Image Burner.
You will see that the rescue disk is an ISO file and choose
burner on your hard drive. A normal 700MB CD is sufficient. Select
“Verify disc after burning.”

Once the CD is in your CD burner drive, click “Burn” to
start the process.

When the process has finished, the disk burner will
open its compartment in the hard drive. Close the tray again, let the disk run,
so disk image burner, you can check the disk to make sure everything worked.

Hopefully you will see it eventually.

Now it’s time for VeraCrypt to do some pre-tests
before it starts encrypting your hard drive or partition (whichever you
chose).

As the next screenshot says, your Windows system
will restart , the boot loader will be installed and if all goes well, the
system will start encryption. Click “Test” with this process.

When the computer reboots – before Windows loads –
you will now see the following screen.

Enter your password in the field. You
probably don’t type a PIM in the password settings (I haven’t) so in that
case, leave it blank when asked for a PIM and hit Enter.

Now wait for your system to login. If it’s the first
time you do this, the log-in process may be slightly delayed.

After you have successfully verified your password,
your system will start using the encryption. As you can see, it takes a long time to encrypt
the system, depending on how big it is, so this could be one of those times
when you need to leave the computer overnight to do its
thing.

Once it’s done, your computer will be much more secure.
Now mock you with satisfaction when your curious roommate tries in vain to break
into your computer to read your love, letters to your unrequited love.
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