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Encrypting files improves the security of your data. For most computer users, this statement is not new, yet encryption is rarely implemented consistently in practice. This is also due to Windows, because Microsoft, similar to the topic of backup, does not prominently display Windows’ on-board tools for encryption. For those who rely on Windows 10 Pro, Bitlocker is worth a look. Full encryption for SSD or hard drive is an important thing, especially for notebooks. But even if you don’t want to or can’t use Bitlocker. You can also encrypt files with a lot of other tools. We present a wide range of encryption tools in this article. However, using all tools at once is too much of a good thing; as a basic rule, you should use encryption wherever sensitive content is involved.

Encryption made easy: 7-Zip

Very simple: In 7-Zip you can very easily specify encryption. Image: CHIP The most common reason why users do not use encryption is complexity. But there are really simple solutions, for example to simply encrypt a few files. In fact, you may already have the tool on your computer, because the popular packer 7-Zip can also encrypt files and folders. When encrypting, you simply select the type of encryption and set a password. Only those who know the password can view the data.

Download the latest 7-Zip version for free

  • 7-Zip (64 bit) 22.0.1

    1 7-Zip (64 Bit) 22.0.1 Version 1.2.39 7-Zip is a very good free ZIP program, with which you can create and unpack archive files, also the RAR format is supported.

  • 7-Zip (32 Bit) 22.0.1

    1 7-Zip (32 Bit) 22.0.1 Version 1.2.39 The zip program “7-Zip” is a good packer freeware, which can unpack as well as compress files and also supports the RAR format.

Data encryption complete

Can do a lot: VeraCrypt offers various encryption algorithms. Image: CHIP The above example with 7-Zip is more suitable in practice for casual cryptographers. If you want to encrypt more data, you are better off with VeraCrypt. There are basically two ways in which you can use the program. For example, the tool creates data vaults that appear as drives in Windows Explorer. Everything you store there will be encrypted. This is handy if you want to protect a specific project, for example, or a folder with private correspondence. But the software can do even more. If you travel a lot with your notebook, you should think about encrypted partitions or even complete encryption of the computer. If the notebook is stolen, no one can get to your data – VeraCrypt also masters this type of full encryption, making it a good alternative to Bitlocker on Windows 10 Home.

Download: VeraCrypt

  • VeraCrypt 1.25.9

    1 VeraCrypt 1.25.9 Version 1.2.39 VeraCrypt is an encryption program that aims to be better and more secure than the formerly very popular TrueCrypt.

Encrypt data for cloud storage

Makes cloud storage secure: Boxcryptor encrypts data before uploading it to cloud storage. Image: CHIP Cloud storage is a really handy thing, this year experts expect 1 billion additional users for online storage. The problem is that most providers do not offer effective end-to-end encryption. So users have to take precautions themselves. But there are tools that can help you with this, such as Boxcryptor. The software allows you to choose whether you want to manage the generated keys yourself or whether Boxcryptor should take care of it. The first option is more secure, but more complex. Then you can integrate the well-known storage services such as OneDrive or Google Drive into Boxcryptor.

Download: Boxcryptor

  • Boxcryptor 2.55

    1 Boxcryptor 2.55 Version 1.2.39 You can store your data encrypted in the cloud with the freeware Boxcryptor.

Encrypt passwords: No problem thanks to KeePassXC

KeepassXC is one of the most comprehensive free password managers. Image: Manufacturer Fine out are all those who can remember a secure password for every user account. However, most users do not manage to do that. They then either use one password for everything or various very weak passwords that are well remembered. One way out of the dilemma is to use password managers like KeePassXC. They encrypt passwords in a small database. Ran come only you with the master password. So you only have to remember one password, the rest are stored in the password safe.

Download KeePassXC: KeePassXC

  • KeePassXC 2.7.4

    1 KeePassXC 2.7.4 Version 1.2.39 KeePassXC is a further development of the popular password manager with browser support.

Encrypted backups: You should create them in any case

Backups: You should also use encryption for data backups. Image: CHIP Backups should be made regularly, keeping in mind that they give a perfect view of your data in the hands of strangers. So the approach can only be to encrypt backups without fail. Most backup programs have encryption options on board, such as AOMEI Backupper Pro. The software is currently still available for free!

Download Aomei Backupper Pro: Aomei Backupper Pro full version for free

  • Aomei Backupper Pro – Full Version (1-year license) 7.1

    1 Aomei Backupper Pro – Full Version (1-year license) 7.1 Version 1.2.39 “Aomei Backupper Pro” is the professional version of the well-known freeware Aomei Backupper Standard. It has more tricks and comes with better support. At CHIP you get the otherwise 40 euro expensive version for free.

External hard drives are ideal for backups

If you want to create backups – even encrypted ones – external HDDs are perfect for the job. The Seagate Backup Plus Portable offers enough space for your backups with 4 TB. Seagate Backup Plus Portable 4TB (STDR4000200) Source: | Prices incl. VAT plus shipping Compare other offers Everyone has files they want to protect from others’ access. In that case it is handy that you can encrypt Windows folders and protect them so that they are not even recognized as folders without a password. Version:11 Languages:German License:Full Version Platforms:Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows, Windows 10 With a free freeware tool you can create extremely secure encrypted container files that can only be opened with the right password. They are presented as additional drives that you can use normally and fill with important files. You can even have these containers uploaded to the cloud automatically. When the computer is turned off or not used for a certain time, the drive closes automatically. Our video guide gives you tips on secure passwords:

Encrypt folders and drive with VeraCrypt

The freeware program VeraCrypt is the successor of the well-known tool TrueCrypt, which at some point was no longer considered secure. VeraCrypt is free, secure and relatively easy to use. You can encrypt entire drives, but also create “containers” that are encrypted with a password. These can then be “mounted” as drives and react just like any other drive. But if the computer is shut down, the user logs off or the screen saver comes on, the drive can be disconnected so that nobody can use the absence for snooping. So you can encrypt a drive with all folders and hide it in a file:

  1. Download VeraCrypt and install it – either as portable or fixed installation.
  2. Start VeraCrypt and change the language to German: “Settings →Language”.
  3. Now click on the button “Create Volume“.
  4. The default selection of the next page is “Create an encrypted container file“. Leave it like this unless you want to encrypt an entire drive. Click on “Next.
  5. In the next window leave the selection at “Default VeraCrypt volume” if you don’t need a “hidden volumeif you don’t need a “hidden volume” that is hidden inside a standard volume.
  6. Now you need to specify the name and location for the container file. Click on “File” to specify this.

GIGA TipIf you choose an innocuous name like “Picture.jpg” or “Invoice.docx”, it won’t affect your encrypted folders, but snoopers won’t notice the container file so quickly.

  1. Now it’s getting serious: You have to specify an encryption method. You can choose AES, Twofish, Serpent or a mixture of them. The respective explanation appears below the selection.
  2. Afterwards you define how big the encrypted drive should be. The available space on the target drive is displayed.

GIGA TipIf you decide to automatically synchronize the container file with your cloud web space, you should limit the size to the space you really need. Otherwise, depending on the connection, uploading and downloading will take quite a long time.

  1. Now you need to create a secure password to encrypt the virtual folder.
  2. In the next window you should move the move the mouse back and forth untiluntil a random key is created to format the drive. Then click on “Format“and the creation of the container file begins. Depending on the selected size, this will take seconds to a few minutes.

After that you will get a message that your new encrypted volume has been created successfully. Our picture gallery shows you how to encrypt even a whole USB stick:

How to use the encrypted folders in Windows

To use use encrypted drives and folders in Windows, you must you have to “Mount“. That is, you must load the corresponding container file in VeraCrypt and connect it to a drive letter. This is how it works:

  1. Start VeraCrypt.
  2. Click on a drive letter
  3. After that click below on “File” and search for your container file. The file name is not saved for security reasons.
  4. Now click on the button “Include“. A window will open where you have to enter your password password.

This decrypts the container file and displays it as a separate drive in Explorer. It will remain there until you shut down the computer or disconnect the drive in VeraCrypt. You should take a moment to familiarize yourself with the options for automatic disconnect which you can find under “Settings → PreferencesPreferences”. There you can also specify that the drive is automatically closed again if, for example, it has not been used for 10 minutes or the screen saver starts.

Survey on data security on the Internet

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