TrueCrypt is the world’s foremost free/open source encryption program, but running it portably can be a bit of a hassle. In this posting, we will show you an extremely easy and fast method to run TrueCrypt portably from your hard drive or from a portable USB drive. You could also put it in your Dropbox folder, giving you instant access to the same encrypted volume across multiple Windows PCs.
We will use a free, third party program called ‘Launcher for TrueCrypt’.
Follow the steps below:
Step 1. Download, install, and run Truecrypt. If you already have TruCrypt installed go to step 2.
Step 2. Create an encrypted volume.
Note: the steps below will show how to do that. If you are familiar with the process or if you already have an encrypted volume you would like to use, skip to step 3.
- Click ‘create volume’ to create a new volume
- Select ‘Create an encrypted file container’ and then ‘Standard TrueCrypt volume’.
- For volume location, click select file, then create a volume anywhere. In the example below, we created a volume called ‘Test Freewaregenius’ on the desktop.
- Next choose your Encryption Algorithm; the default (AES) is good enough. Click next.
- Choose volume size as needed. For this tutorial we choose 100 megs.
- Choose a password, enter it twice, click ‘Next’
- Finally, select the filesystem and cluster (if in doubt, use the default values), and click ‘Format’
Step 3. Download Launcher for TrueCrypt (TC_launcher.zip). This program will let you access your TrueCrypt volumes without having TrueCrypt installed on your machine.
- Extract TC_launcher.zip in an appropriate location. It doesn’t really matter where, since eventually you will be able to move it around your hard drive or onto a portable drive.
- *Important, pay attention* Next go to your installed TrueCrypt folder, which typically is in ‘C:\Program Files\TrueCrypt\’ (see screenshot below left). COPY this folder to the extracted folder ‘TrueCrypt Launcher\Program Files’ (see screenshot below right. Note that there is already a ‘TrueCrypt’ folder there, overwrite it).
- Next MOVE your TrueCrypt encrypted volume created in ‘Step 2’ above to the same place (the ‘Program Files’ folder inside the extracted TC_launcher folder). Again see screenshot above right).
Step 4. Run TC_Loader.exe from your TC_Launcher folder
- Select your encryption file and select a drive letter. Make sure to choose something like ‘U’ or ‘Y’ that is unlikely to be used on a machine where you might use TrueCrypt from a USB.
- Enter your password in the next screen.
- Your volume should now be mounted (see screenshot below). TrueCrypt should be running in the system tray. Note that this is the portable and not the installed version that is running.
Note that you can dismount the TrueCrypt volume via TrueCrypt in the system tray menu or by double clicking TC_Loader.exe.
Step 5. ** Important final settings **
In the TC_launcher folder (see screenshot below), go to ‘TC_launcher\Data\settings.ini\’, and open it with a text editor such as notepad.
Change the ‘Imagepath’ field such that anything before the actual folder where the portable application resides is removed. For example, in the example below, I removed the ‘desktop’ part from the path.
This will allow the application to run successfully no matter where you move the folder. If you want to rename the folder (i.e. not TC_Launcher but something else) make sure that the new name is reflected in the settings file. Save and exit
Step 6. Final steps
You can now uninstall TrueCrypt from your machine (optional), and move the TC_Launcher to a USB or to some other location on your hard drive.
If you want to use it with Dropbox simply move the folder into your Dropbox folder and share appropriately.
Questions, ideas, thoughts? Please share them in the comments section below.