How to: Encrypt your Files in Windows, Linux & Mac OS X

Regardless the operating system you use, you will always be able to hide any types of files you want. We should warn you though that anybody, who has access to your computer, can also gain access to your hidden files. Therefore, you should take more effective measurements, so that nobody will never view these files. For this reason, we propose you to begin encrypting your files. As a result, the person, who has access to your PC, will have to use your required encryption key to view your hidden files. This method is very efficient and it allows you to prevent other people from viewing your sensitive personal data.

In this guide we will find out how you can encrypt your personal files in the most popular operating systems. Let’s see how you can do this.

Encrypt your Files in Windows

Fortunately Windows users can take advantage of the BitLocker drive encryption. The BitLocker is preinstalled in Windows and it can encrypt your entire Windows drive or another internal drive. On top of that, the BitLocker to Go allows you to encrypt a USB flash drive or another external drive. You can also create an ecrypted container file with the help of the BitLocker and a VHD file. You will find some additional encrypted files in that container file.

BitLocker is not available in the standard Windows editions. You will be able to use it only in Enterprise, Proffesional and Ultimate editions.

Furthermore, you can find a very limited encryption feature in several Windows 8.1 computers. This feature is device encryption and is available in every Windows version. The downside is its requirements. For example, it requires the use of specific hardware and Microsoft account, which can back up your encryption key online.

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In case you can’t use BitLocker, you will need to install third-party tools, such 7Zip or other file archiving tools, which include in-built encryption. 7Zip can be used to create AES-256-encrypted archive files, for which you will need their password in order to view them. Although this tool will not help you to encrypt your entire hard drive, you will still be able to encrypt many files.

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Encrypt your Files in Linux

Ubuntu provides you with encryption support by default. Furthermore, every Linux user can encrypt files, while installing the operating system. In addition, Ubuntu and GNOME-based Linux distributions lets you to encrypt removable drives by using the Disk Utility app.

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Luckily, Linux users can take advantage of the tools, which are provided by Linux, to encrypt files easily. For instance, you can encfs to encrypt files and store them in a folder. You can also create encrypted archives by using the Archive Manager.

Encrypt your Files in Mac OS X

Mac OS X includes several encryption features by default too. These features are available in all Mac systems.

First of all, the FileVault tool can encrypt your entire system drive. Additionally, you can encrypt removable drives with the help of the Finder. Be aware though that the next time you plug the drive into your Mac, you will be asked to insert the drive’s encryption password. Finally, the Disk Utility is very helpful in case you want to create an encrypted disk image file. You can then lock or unlock this file whenever you want.

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Once you decide to encrypt your files, you should be careful at every stage of the operation, so that the final encrypted result would not be decrypted easily. Stay tuned as we will focus on every encryption method in all operating systems.