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Best Encryption Software

The Top 10 Encryption Software Programs

Do you have sensitive files on  your computer?  Bank information?  Password files?  Maybe even a private journal you don't want accessible by your roommates?  Here's a list of the ten best data encryption software tools that run on Windows.  If you think I've missed anything, or you disagree, please comment below!

1. Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) Desktop Home

Rating

Homepage

http://na.store.pgp.com/desktop_home.html

Cost

$99

Comment

Encrypts an entire drive or a virtual encrypted disk (mounted like a drive).  Automatically encrypts and decrypts email.  Runs on Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, 7.


This is the Cadillac of home encryption software packages.  Not only does it encrypt files or an entire drive-but it encrypts and decrypts your email.  A really handy feature is the ability to create a PGPZip file.  This allows you to group a bunch of files together, encrypt them, and send them to someone else.  Nice.  For those of you who want your Instant Messages encrypted, PGP Desktop Home handles that too!  If you'd like to send the file to someone else, PGP uses the concept of public and private keys-you must encrypt the file with the recipient's public key.  The recipient will then use her private key to decrypt the file on the other end.

2. Folder Lock

Rating

Homepage

http://www.newsoftwares.net/folderlock/

Cost

$39.95

Comment

Good interface, a ton of features.  Uses AES-256.  Runs on Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, 7.

Folder Lock is one of the most popular encryption software packages out there, and it's easy to see why.  It comes with features no one else offers like hack monitoring, stealth mode, and data shredding.  It is also very fast, which is important.  You create hidden lockers on your file system that can be stored anywhere.  They are encrypted using 256-bit AES (military standard) and can only be opened by your password.  The lockers are undeletable-you need to log into Folder Lock in order to delete them.  It does not give you the ability to automatically encrypt/decrypt email.

3. TrueCrypt

Rating

Homepage

http://www.truecrypt.org/

Cost

Free, Donations encouraged

Comment

Encrypts an entire drive or a virtual encrypted disk (mounted like a drive).  Runs on Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, 7.

This is the ultimate freeware encryption utility.  It provides the ability to hide a volume to the point where it looks like random data on the disk.  It uses encryption algorithms AES-256, Blowfish (448-bit key), CAST5, Serpent, Triple DES, and Twofish.

4. SafeHouse Explorer

Rating

Homepage

http://www.safehousesoftware.com/SafeHouseExplorer.aspx

Cost

Free.  Personal edition costs $30.  Professional edition costs $60.

Comment

Nice interface.  Uses its own interface to show your hidden, encrypted files once you enter your password.  Runs on Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, 7.

SafeHouse Explorer has a great interface.  It is very easy to use.  The free edition allows you to encrypt your files using 256-bit Twofish encryption on a private storage volume.  You can even make a self-extracting EXE encrypted vault for sending to another party.  This means that the recipient can decrypt your file without the need to install SafeHouse!  You can also use it to protect files on USB Flash drives and memory sticks.  It does not give you the ability to automatically encrypt/decrypt email.

5. AxCrypt

Rating

Homepage

http://www.axantum.com/axcrypt/

Cost

Free. Donations encouraged.

Comment

No nonsense encryption/decryption.  Uses AES-128.  Encrypt a file or folder by right-clicking it.  Runs on Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, 7.

Maybe you don't like all the bells and whistles-you just want to encrypt your bank files or your journal.  If that's the case, you should check out AxCrypt.  It doesn't give you a lot of crypto algorithms (it only offers AES-128) but that's more than sufficient for most encryption needs.  It doesn't hide the file either, it just names it with an ".axx" file extension.  It also does not do volume or whole drive encryption.

6. GNU Privacy Guard (GPG)/GPG4Win

Rating

Homepage

http://www.gpg4win.org/ (uses technology from GPG)

Cost

Free, Donations encouraged

Comment

Very useful for encrypting/decrypting emails, it can also encrypt/decrypt files.  It's a bit clunkier to set up than some of the others.

GPG4Win is a great version of GPG to install on your home PC, unfortunately the documentation is translated from German-so it can be challenging at times to set up what you want.  GPG is the open source and full implementation of RFC4880 (OpenPGP).  The nice thing is that if the GUI provided by gpg4win doesn't seem to meet your requirements, you can always use the command line version of gpg to get down and dirty.  Check out the GPG HOWTOs here.  Like PGP, GPG uses public and private key pairs to handle sending encrypted files back and forth.  It does give you the ability to automatically encrypt/decrypt emails.

7. SafeBit Disk Encryption

Rating

Homepage

http://www.safebit.net/

Cost

$39.95

Comment

Good interface, uses AES-256.  Create hidden "safes" on your local or external hard disks.  Runs on Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, 7.

SafeBit Disk Encryption allows you to create unlimited (limited to the size of your hard drive, obviously) hidden "safes" on your hard drives.  You can create them on local, external, and even USB drives.  Using 256-bit encryption (AES), SafeBit automatically decrypts your files when you read them from the safe, and encrypts them on the fly as you save them back.  A nice feature is the ability to save your safe passwords on a USB key-which you can then use to unlock your safes when present.  It also has an automatic closure system which closes your safe when it isn't being used.  It has been known to have stability issues, which is why I am giving them a little lower rating.

8. Dekart Private Disk

Rating

Homepage

http://www.private-disk.net/

Cost

$65.00, student licenses available.  Free upgrades.

Comment

Flexible interface.  Uses AES-256. Many features.  Runs on Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, 7.  Supports 64 bit.

Dekart Private Disk works like it's named.  It is a private disk that is mounted when you supply a password.  It is accessed through a drive letter, just like any other disk in the system.  The drive is encrypted using high grade 256-bit AES encryption.  It does not give you the ability to automatically encrypt/decrypt email.

9. KakaSoft File Encryption

Rating

Homepage

http://www.kakasoft.com/freeware.htm

Cost

Free

Comment

Powerful and light, offers 4 encryption algorithms.  Runs on Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, 7.

This is a pretty good, lightweight encryption program.  Like AxCrypt, it doesn't rename the files or hide them, but no one will be able to read the file unless they know your password.  It allows you to quickly encrypt a list of files using Blowfish, AES, MD5, or Triple-DES.

10. SuperEncryptor 10

Rating

Homepage

http://www.encryptor.net/

Cost

$39.95

Comment

Powerful but it hasn't been translated into English well.  Runs on Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, 7.  May be spyware?

This tool looks amazing!  And it has won many awards in China.  It can encrypt files or folders using powerful 256 bit encryption.  It even hides your files or can disguise them-making them look like a recycle bin.  However, there is some talk that it stops antivirus scanning and opens up some unnecessary network connections.  I don't know why or what it is doing (I haven't seen it do that myself) but it's certainly something that gives me pause.  The company, Yiyousoft is a Chinese company which hasn't spent a lot of money on translating their website into English, which signifies that it may be tough for native English speakers to get support.  It does not give you the ability to automatically encrypt/decrypt email.

Last modified about over 3 years ago.

# Comment from

over 3 years ago.   

I had been arguing with my close friend on this issue for quite a while, base on your ideas prove that I am right, let me show him your webpage then I am sure it must make him buy me a drink, lol, thanks.



- Kris

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