Introduction: Protect Important Files With a Secure Flash Drive

Picture of Protect Important Files With a Secure Flash Drive


In this world of advancing technology the files on home and work computers are getting to be more and more crucial. Now instead of getting paper bills we can pay bills on the internet, manage bank accounts and more, but what if that data was stolen? It would be devastating would it not? This is the idea behind making a secure encrypted flash drive to store critical files in and take them with you wherever you go.

Step 1: Choose Carefully...

Picture of Choose Carefully...


There are many secure flash drives out on the market such as the renowned IronKey but these flash drives do not come cheap and for many people may not agree with their budget in this economy. The truth is you cannot expect a homemade secure flash drive to rival the commercial drives but i will show you how to come as close as i know how.

What you will need...

1.) a flash drive (duh) I would recommend at least a 2 gig but for this Instructable i will be   
      using a 1 gig Lexmark drive...

2.) TrueCrypt software - It's freeware available here

Note: This works on both windows and mac OS. (For this purpose I am using a Windows XP 32bit)

Step 2: First...

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First you want to backup any files on your flash drive you don't want to lose. You can put these back on later after the process is complete. To backup your files follow the simple instructions below...

Backing up your data...

1.) Plug in your flash drive and navigate to it's root folder

2.) Select all the files within the flash drive or select the files you want to keep

3.) Right-click and select copy

4.) Create a folder somewhere on your computer where you will remember such as the
      Desktop or My Documents folder

5.) Inside this folder right-click and select Paste

6.) Once this is done copying you may move on to the next step

P.S. I know some of you may be shaking your heads that I would include this step but i want to accommodate inexperienced users.

Step 3: Format Time

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Now that all the data from the drive is backed up safely, you want to format the drive. This will erase all the data on the drive and give  clean slate to work with.

Format...

1.) click Start->My Computer

2.) locate your flash drive and right-click it

3.) select format

4.) In the the volume label box enter the name for your new drive (In this example i will be
      using Secure)

5.) Click the check box for Quick Format

6.) If there is an option available for the File System select Fat32

7.) Click Start

8.) Wait for it to finish

Step 4: Setting Up a Root Folder...

Picture of Setting Up a Root Folder...

Set up a folder in the device to install the encryption software...

Setting up a folder...

1.) Click Start->My Computer->

2.) Inside your Flash Drive right-click and select New Folder

3.) Rename the folder as TrueCrypt

Easy enough?

Step 5: Installing TrueCrypt Software...

Picture of Installing TrueCrypt Software...

Next we will install the encryption software...

Installing...

1.) Run the TrueCrypt.exe file

2.) Accept the agreement. Nothing new there.

3.) you will be faced with two options, Install or Extract Select Extract

4.) Next click browse and navigate to the folder you made in the last step and click extract

5.) After it is done it should open the folder in the flash drive, if not then open it.

6.) click on the file called TrueCrypt Format.exe
 

7.)  Select Create a file container and then click Standard TrueCrypt Volume and click Next

8.) Click Select File... and navigate to your flash drive

9.) Name the file Encrypted

10.) Now you will notice some confusing looking options... lucky for us that the program 
        defaults are what we want on this situation so go ahead and click Next

11.) Next you will see a windows saying Volume Size enter in your desired size. (I always
        opt to leave a little extra space for any other files, for this i will use 1.60 gb or 1538
        mb.)

12.)  Now you will notice a window prompting for a password. Create your new password.
         (Remember to make a good password, one that is easy for you to remember but
         hard for anyone else to guess.)  Click Next

13.) Click on Format and wait.

14.) You will get a window saying it was successfully created, Move on to the next step...

Step 6: Create a Autorun.inf File...


Now open Notepad and copy/paste the following information into it:

[autorun]

action=Mount Truecrypt volume
open=TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.exe/q/v "Encrypted"
shell\mount=Mount TrueCrypt volume
shell\mount\command=TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.exe /q /v "Encrypted"
shell\dismount=Dismount TrueCrypt volume
shell\dismount\command=TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.exe /q /d


Save this as autorun.inf and save it in your flash drive

Step 7: Try It Out...


Now you can unplug your flashdrive and every time you connect the drive it will automatically load and ask to mount the file.

To mount the file manually simply go into the TrueCrypt folder and click TrueCrypt.exe select the drive you want to mount it as and select browse and select the encrypted file you made in the flash drive. and click mount. its as simple as that.

Now that you have your encrypted files you can load it with great software such as Tor. to learn to do that move onto the next step.

Step 8: Loading Up Tor...

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Tor is an anonymity software. You can download a bundle of this software including a preconfigured browser and IM client from here

Install...

1.) First plug in your flash drive and mount the encrypted volume.

2.) Click on the bundle file and click the browse button and navigate to your encrypted
      folder

3.) Click extract

4.) Once extracted you can now start it by clicking the Start Tor Browser icon

5.) Once loaded look in the bottom right corner of the browser window to be sure it says
     Tor enabled

6.) Have fun browsing anonymously and keeping your files safe!

Comments

Jedrokivich (author)2011-04-29

Instead of copying, you should cut instead because you're gonna reformat the drive anyway (cutting is much faster than copying).

luke127 (author)Jedrokivich2012-08-10

That's is totally wrong. Cutting has to physically MOVE the data whereas if you copy it all your doing is basically well copying it. So copying will be much faster. Especially when moving files from 1 drive to another.

tigr87 (author)2012-02-04

what if we dont have anything on the flash drive yet

jf78 (author)tigr872012-02-04

Then skip this step but i would still recommend formatting the drive

shadow wave rider (author)2011-08-09

you do administer on everything dont you. when you make the file And when you make the autorun.inf

BennyBeat (author)2011-05-06

JF78 (Author) says:
"Note: This works on both windows and mac OS. "

It works on GNU/Linux, too...
Really nice tutorial!!! Thanks

Benny ^_^".

jf78 (author)BennyBeat2011-05-06

Thanks for you comments :) I was not using Linux until recently. Thanks for trying it! glad to know it worked for you!

shadow wave rider (author)jf782011-08-08

so it works on windows 7. just wondering. im just sick of searching all this stuff and then the stuf not working and windows 7.

Hi Mr. Awesome!
Yes, it works also on Win7. Just a little trick:
Try to install all the software with Admin Rights (right click with the mouse button on any executable and select option "run as Administrator" or something like this... My OS is not in English language, sorry). Then, you should able to install anything without problems ;)

Cheers,
Benny ^_^"

Lorddrake (author)2011-04-13

I am having trouble getting the autorun file to launch when i plug in the flashdrive. other than that it works just fine. I used the same naming convention you mentioned in the instructable and copied and pasted the autorun data directly. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

jf78 (author)Lorddrake2011-04-14

Honestly im not that great with those files. I had that file working. Maybe theres a discrepancy somewhere. If i were you i would google autorun files and try to write your own

Lorddrake (author)jf782011-04-14

I actually already did that. The autorun file is working (sort of) because it uses the icon and the drive label i designated .. i just can't seem to get it to launch the truecrypt program like it is supposed to.

jf78 (author)Lorddrake2011-04-14

hmm i never had too much of a problem with it

xZCodmaNZx (author)2011-02-28

Im somewhat new to encryption, and I have a mac and how would I create the "autorun.inf" file
Thanks

eurofyter966 (author)2010-06-30

Works great. Thanks.

uthus (author)2010-06-29

After encrypting files with GPG, I typically put copies on the fingernail sized Micro SD in my phone. That way if I'm out somewhere and I absolutely need a file or if my laptop is stolen I can still recover whatever I need.

jf78 (author)uthus2010-06-29

Good idea. I usually keep a backup on a SD card hidden somewhere safe incase I lose my flashdrive.

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