You might wonder why USB encryption software is such important as long as we always keep our USB flash drive with us. The answer is obvious. Unfortunately, data portability comes at a cost. Whether you loose the USB flash drive or somebody stoles it for any particular reason, you will certainly wish for the information carried by the USB flash drive to be inaccessible to other users.
You can protect sensitive data on your USB flash drive by encrypting files with some free free USB encryption tools. It is easy and straightforward. We provide you with the best options in the following article.
TrueCrypt is an open source application that encrypts data storage devices on-the-fly, so that no user intervention is needed after providing the correct password. That means that once you have applied the encryption procedure that is required in the first place, all further data copied to or from a chosen drive is automatically encrypted.
TrueCrypt is not time consuming. The main tasks are to select the volume you wish to protect, and choose the encryption algorithm from a list. Whether you need to encrypt only one partition (even if Windows is installed on it), the entire hard drive, or an USB flash drive, TrueCrypt simplifies the process. Encryption with this tool will not slow down computer. Encryption and decryption take place in real time.
Given the facts that TrueCrypt is freeware, easy to use, time efficient, and it also comes with a beginner’s tutorial, we certify this app to be one of the safest solutions for sensitive data encryption. Download it now (TrueCrypt Setup 7.1a.exe – 3.3MB)!
USB Safeguard offers free data encryption for USB flash drives. It doesn’t need installation, the 256 bits encryption and decryption being unnoticeable for computer performance.
Once encrypted, files on the USB pen drive can be viewed and accessed only after users type in the password. USB Safeguard features work even if you don’t have administrator rights. One of the app’s downfalls is that it can apply only one encryption algorithm. Other issues may appear for users who need to protect only one partition or the default partition for Windows. Unfortunately, you can’t do that with USB Safeguard.
USB Safeguard is a freeware USB pen drive data encryption tool available for all Windows versions. Its basic features and portability don’t make it the best app in this category given the limitations we have mentioned. Get it from here (usbsafeguard.exe – 83KB)!
SecurStick is another freeware solution that provides encryption functions for USB flash drives. It has the same basic features other already reviewed apps have. It doesn’t need installation. It is fast, user friendly, and it doesn’t ask for administrator rights to be used. You can store both unencrypted and encrypted files on the same data device. One advantage is that SecurStick is compatible with 64 bit Windows distributions.
SecurStick is a freebie that protects your portable data in case you lose the USB flash pen or you need to make information on a specific hard drive inaccessible to other users of the same computer. You can download it from here (SecurStick-1014.zip – 225KB)!
Cryptainer LE freely encrypts your data device in a 448 bits algorithm. It works on hard disks, CD Rom’s and USB flash drives by creating 100 MB vaults in which you can drag and drop the files you need protection for. Cryptainer Mobile makes it possible to carry the application on a portable device so that there is no need to make additional installs on any computer you might use. One unique feature allows users to send encrypted files via e-mail so that security transfers will no longer be a reason to worry.
Cryptainer LE is compatible with all distributions of Windows. Intuitive and lightweight, this app turns encrypting into a simple drag and drop operation. Click here (cryle10.exe – 7.3MB) to download it!
USB Flash Security
USB Flash Security provides encryption services freely for files up to 4GB. It has been developed with the same features in mind as other previously reviewed apps have. After installation and encryption, files can be accessed by password submission. USB Flash Security is available for all Windows versions and it is as lightweight and reliable as any other encryption tool based on a 256 bits code.
One of its downfalls is that it is not portable so installation will be needed on any new computer you work at. USB Flash Security comes with a tutorial, which can turn useful for new users. Download it now (usbenter.zip – 9.8MB)!
USB data encryption is one great choice you can do for the safety of personal or professional sensitive information. Provided that these tools are all free and user friendly, you may wonder which one is the best free USB encryption solution. As far as we have studied the alternatives, it looks that there are no security issues regarding any of them, but given its features and its encryption algorithms, [highlight color=”yellow”]we consider TrueCrypt to be the best[/highlight].
UPDATE: On 28th of May, 2014 TrueCrypt developers announced that that they will not continue to develop it as Microsoft does not support Windows XP anymore, and new Windows versions come with encryption support. But there is a new alternative to TrueCrypt called VeraCrypt, that can be downloaded from here (VeraCrypt Setup 1.21.exe – 28.37MB).
Some screenshots of VeraCrypt: