Full Disk Encryption


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A pivotal element to data privacy is encryption. Acronis always recommends storing the data in an automatically encrypted format to avoid unauthorized changes. This safeguard protects data transmitted by the user to another computer system. Unfortunately, in most cases, people can't read or decode files with encryption methods like 256. Similar goes for machines.

For those who have been hacked

We all know that data is extremely valuable, and it's not just companies who want to keep their data safe. Individuals are also at risk of having their personal information stolen by hackers. Hackers can access your files without your knowledge or permission, which means they could steal sensitive information like credit card numbers and social security numbers. These types of breaches can cause a lot of damage to people's lives and careers. So it's essential to protect yourself from this type of attack!

Acronis True Image 2019 provides the best protection against ransomware attacks. A new Ransomware Protection feature detects suspicious behavior in real-time before any changes happen on your computer system. This way you can prevent unauthorized changes from happening in the first place! With our software, you will be able to rest easy knowing that no one else has access to your files but you – even if someone tries hacking into them! You won't have anything left behind after an attack because we delete everything for good! Our software completely erases every byte off the hard drive so there's nothing left for anyone else but you - no matter what happens next! And don't worry about getting locked out; we've got several disk encryption solutions for that too with our Rescue Media Builder tool which creates an emergency bootable USB key containing all necessary tools needed for recovery purposes - including decryption keys as well as other useful utilities such as

For Windows Pro Users: BitLocker

BitLocker encrypts entire disks and uses a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip, a unique microchip that stores keys used to create the encryption. It also generates new encryption key variants randomly when encrypted data is read from or written to the encrypted startup disk. This way, each time you perform any sort of data recovery manipulation on your PC it uses a different decryption key.

Bitlocker can be used for full-disk encryption, but not with the bootloader. Microsoft's built-in full-disk encryption BitLocker To Go encrypts USB flash drives and other external media in much the same way as does Drive Encryption: The TPM chip controls access to encrypted hardware devices and partitions and forces complex user authentication procedures — usually requiring a password, PIN code, startup key or biometric gesture.

BitLocker is an encryption method for PCs that provides security to hard drives. It uses sophisticated algorithms to encrypt all data with a single key that more users can protect. The TPM chip works together with software controls to block hackers from attacking your PC's operating system through various injection techniques using USB devices. If someone tries to boot the computer with another OS or modify system partitions, they'll have trouble doing so without knowing your login details. First, make sure the TPM chip restricts access. As soon as you type in your password/PIN/startup key/gesture after the machine boots up it will unlock your drive, you can use it and do your work.

If a hacker gets to the disk directly (for example through a different OS on a bootable USB), they still won't get access unless they have managed to break the encryption password addition, ad. In addition, a new encryption key is created every time you read or write data which makes recovery impossible even if hackers get physical access to your computer.

If your computer supports it: Windows Device Encryption

Do note that BitLocker is included with business versions of Windows (Ultimate and Enterprise), but not the home version (Home Premium, Home Basic, or Starter editions). Also, you'll need a computer with a TPM chip.

If your OS doesn't support BitLocker: DiskCryptor  

DiskCryptor supports pretty much everything that Bitlocker does. It can be booted from CD/USB drives and works on all OSes including Linux, BSDs, and OS X for full-disk encryption.

For Mac OS X Users: FileVault 2

Mac OS X includes file-level encryption called FileVault 2. It's pretty easy to use as it is an intuitive interface, making creating a solid password a breeze. It can be enabled by opening the System Preferences panel, clicking on Security & Privacy, and choosing FileVault under the General tab.

FileVault 2 is a full-disk encryption feature that protects user data on lost or stolen devices. It generates a unique key for each computer every time a user logs in, meaning that previous files cannot be decrypted without proper credentials. The encrypted disk uses AES 128-bit XTS-AES FIPS standard to encrypt disks and keys are then stored in an encrypted sparse image format of the partition's contents. To further protect access to your Mac, you must enter your password every time you log in or wake from sleep (screen saver with automatic login disabled). You can also save the FileVault recovery key using Apple's built-in Keychain app, which stores passwords for network sites and servers.

BitLocker vs DiskCryptor vs FileVault 2 - Pros/Cons

Suppose you have a UEFI BIOS + HDD computer with a GPT partition. In that case, you'll be better off using BitLocker because it can encrypt all partitions at once, including the bootloader section which is essential if you want to install another OS on your PC DiskCryptor is probably your best option if that isn't the case. It supports UEFI bootloaders and can also be used in combination with Bitlocker on some computers (see below).

For either program make sure to create a bootable USB drive (with DiskCryptor this means it needs to be a FAT32 partition) before you get started with the installation. The encryption process will begin automatically when you restart your computer and enter your password. Make sure to have all your data backed up in case anything goes wrong.

BitLocker + DiskCryptor/FileVault 2 - How to encrypt a PC using a bootable USB

If you have Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate editions you can use Bitlocker together with DiskCryptor/FileVault 2 for full-disk encryption on any operating system that supports UEFI bootloaders. Here's how: 1. Install Windows 7 64-bit onto a PC or virtual machine, activate it, and log in. 2. Install DiskCryptor onto Windows 7. 3. Reboot the computer and enter the BIOS settings (F2 on most computers). 4. On the Boot tab, make sure UEFI is enabled and not CSM (Compatibility Support Module). 5. If your hard drive isn't yet formatted as GPT, enable AHCI SATA mode and boot from your USB drive containing either BitLocker or DiskCryptor depending on whether you want to encrypt only the Windows partition or every existing partition on that disk (including secondary ones such as backup partitions or Linux distros you've installed). You will be prompted to choose a different installation location to click 'Yes.' 6. Use either Bitlocker/DiskCryptor to encrypt the USB drive itself, depending on which program you are using. Now continue with Part 2 of this guide by opening Disk Management and formatting the USB drive as NTFS.

Here it is also highly advisable to download 'EasyBCD' - a free bootloader manager for Windows that allows you to edit UEFI entries. Open EasyBCD and enable BitLocker under 'Operating Systems'. Alternatively, if you want full-disk encryption but prefer DiskCryptor over Bitlocker (most people should go with the latter), then click 'Add Entry' and select "Use a custom boot loader. Next, click 'Browse' to locate \boot\bcd in your disk's EFI system partition (this may be hidden by default), and make sure to enter the correct path. Click OK, then apply changes, and Bitlocker/DiskCryptor will appear as a boot option.

In case you want to encrypt only the Windows 7 installation itself, simply click 'Add Entry' in EasyBCD and choose "Use TPM + Startup Key". Enter an appropriate name (such as Windows 7) for your entry, select 'Toggle Keys' on the next screen (if enabled, this is usually disabled by default), and continue.

BitLocker vs DiskCryptor vs FileVault 2 - Pros/Cons

Suppose you have a computer with UEFI BIOS + HDD with GPT partitioning. You'll be better off using BitLocker because it can encrypt all partitions at once, including the bootloader section which is essential if you want to install another OS on your PC. However, if that isn't the case, DiskCryptor is probably your best option. It supports UEFI bootloaders and can also be used in combination with Bitlocker on some computers (see below).

For either program make sure to create a bootable USB drive (with DiskCryptor this means it needs to be a FAT32 partition) before you get started with the installation. The encryption process will begin automatically when you restart your computer and enter your password. Make sure to have all your data backed up in case anything goes wrong.

There you go, now you know how to encrypt and/or decrypt your PC's hard disk with whatever bootloader it uses (UEFI or legacy). If you want to add an extra layer of security on top of that, here are some free, open-source whole disk encryption programs worth checking out:

Best Encrypted Disk encryption systems Given my poor experiences so far with full-disk encryption software such as Bitlocker and DiskCryptor, I've decided ...

Turn on and set up FileVault 2

Enable FileVault 2 on your Mac by going to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and clicking the lock icon in the bottom-left corner. Next, enter your administrator password (you won't be able to access this screen otherwise), enable 'FileVault 2', and make sure both check boxes next to 'Remember my password in my keychain' and 'Require a password after sleep or screen saver begins' are checked. Now reboot and hold down Command + R while booting up, then type: diskutil list Press Enter and note the name of your external hard drive - it should read something like APPLE SSD SM0256F. We'll need that info later, so write it down you don't remember it already.

Now to make sure the keychain password is the one you want (if not, this could be a very long process) - open Keychain Access which can be found in Applications > Utilities. Look for 'FileVaultMaster' in the list of items under Category, right-click it and select Open Password Assistant. To proceed with encryption, you'll need an administrator account on your computer with its distinct password. Make sure that's the case before moving forward or else you won't be able to complete these steps. If everything checks out, click 'guess', follow the instructions until the 'Task Summary' window pops up, then click either "Edit details" if you want to change something or "Start Task" to start the encryption process. When finished, restart your computer and enter an administrator password.

If you can't remember your login user name on Windows 7/8/10 or want to change it, click Start, then 'Computer' or 'My Computer. Here's a guide showing how to find it.

Change Boot Order from BIOS Setup Utility

In case you ever want to remove BitLocker from your PC, there are two ways of doing it - either with a recovery key (see below) or by booting into BIOS Setup Utility and choosing Change Boot Option #1 - that's the one for removable devices such as USBs. The disadvantage is that if someone knows what they're doing, they will be able to bypass the protection quite easily.

Your computer will automatically reboot into BitLocker recovery mode with a 48-digit key that you'll have to use to unlock the drive in case you can't do it from your usual Windows account or another bootable USB drive.

If this happens, make sure you don't lose your recovery key because, without it, there's no way to decrypt the data on your hard disk. Also, avoid giving out this user name and password combination to any person or program unless necessary. That means when installing software, select the "advanced" installation option by clicking Custom instead of Express - that way, you avoid having programs add themselves as new users on your computer without your knowledge.

Microsoft Bitlocker

You can also delete user accounts and change their password from this menu in case you suspect any foul play. Microsoft Bitlocker has always been a popular choice if you're looking for free full-disk encryption software, so I'll show you how to use it on Windows 10 (if you're using Windows 8, here's how it works ). Here's the procedure:

After entering your desired password twice and clicking Next, Windows will ask if you want to keep files stored in libraries on this PC encrypted too - click 'Encrypt libraries' and then Finish. Files that used to be saved in libraries like Documents or Pictures before encrypting your hard disk with BitLocker won't be accessible after restarting your computer unless they were already moved to their original location. Also, make sure to create a backup of any files you want to keep on some other media or online (in case they happen to be lost in the process and can't be recovered).

Now, let's see how it works

1. Click Start, then 'Control Panel', and type BitLocker into the search field. When finished, choose Manage BitLocker from the list of results and click Continue when ready. Make sure that your computer is plugged into an electric outlet if you're encrypting your hard disk because it might last longer than usual depending on the size - so please don't do this overnight while unplugged unless necessary.

We recommend formatting NTFS on your hard disk for security reasons before encrypting it with BitLocker. If you want to do that after the process is finished, right-click Start, then click Computer Management followed by Disk Management.

2. Now choose Turn On BitLocker from the list on the left side and then select an unlocked drive from the list below. 2.1 Please note that this option will only appear if a compatible TPM security chip is installed on your computer and protected by a PIN code - you can check out our guide to choosing a new laptop for more information about this particular topic. Also, encrypting your operating system partition should be done every time you upgrade Windows, or some files might not work correctly. So please don't skip this tutorial if you're following it in order.

3. Choose how to unlock your hard disk when needed. You can either use a password (recommended), an external drive or a smart card - pick what you feel is the best choice for you and click Next to proceed. Also, make sure that 'Run BitLocker system check' is checked - this will test your setup before encrypting the disk, so please don't skip it if possible since it will save you time, later on, should something go wrong.

4. Now enter the desired password twice and click Next followed by Finish to begin encrypting your hard disk (depending on its size, this process can take anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours).

After restarting your computer (or whenever necessary), Windows will ask for your password before continuing to boot - if you mistyped it in the beginning, this is where you'll see the BitLocker recovery key window. Of course, you can also use any of these options in case something goes wrong:

4.1 Enter your password and click Continue 4.2 Click 'Enter 48-digit recovery key' and either enter a USB drive or insert one and start typing its content (the recovery key). 4.3 Finally, choose 'Startup key:' and click Browse to enter another option:

By inserting a USB flash drive with the startup key saved on it, for example, you can unlock Windows 10 until Microsoft decides to stop supporting this particular feature (which could be several years from now).

5. After restarting, Windows will no longer ask you for a password and your files should be accessible without having to enter anything when necessary - if anything goes wrong or you can't access some of them despite that, please check out the BitLocker recovery key section linked above.

Reset your password or change your FileVault recovery key

If you want to change your password or FileVault recovery key, follow these steps

1. Open BitLocker from the Start menu. 2. Select Turn off BitLocker on this drive and click Continue in the pop-up window. 3. Choose 'Change Password' in the next window that appears if you already have a password set for this drive, or choose 'Change recovery key' otherwise. 4. Enter your current password (if any) in the following window and click Show 48-digit recovery key to see it - note that this is not your password or recovery key and you can't use it to decrypt your files. 5. Enter a new password (and confirm it). 6. Click Update followed by 'Finish' and restart your computer if prompted to do so - that's it!

Note: If you want to remove the BitLocker encryption from this disk, right-click on the drive in Explorer and choose 'Unlock Drive'. After entering the correct password (or recovery key), all of your data will be unprotected and accessible again!

If at any time during this process Windows asks for a decryption key while booting, see this tutorial: How to enter a 48-digit BitLocker Recovery Key.

Turn off FileVault (optional)

You can follow this tutorial to turn off FileVault or set it up again.

Note: If you use your recovery key, USB flash drive, or a startup key on another computer, this might cause 'key conflicts' with the BitLocker system on that other machine (which shouldn't be possible since each recovery key is encrypted individually). This issue will hopefully go away in future versions of Windows 10 thanks to an upcoming feature called BitLocker Network Unlock - if you're not sure how to resolve this problem, read our tutorial about Fixing BitLocker Key Conflict Issues.

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