Unless you encrypt your files, outsiders can easily gain access to them—even without knowing your Windows password — by booting into their own operating system from a disc or a bootable USB drive that they have inserted into your machine.
If you work with sensitive data — because you manage a small business, for example, or because you store personal financial documents on your PC — you should consider encrypting the files to protect them against snoopers and thieves, especially if you keep them on a laptop, which can easily be stolen or lost.
One useful encryption utility is TrueCrypt, a free, open-source program. In this article I’ll discuss how to use it to create virtual encrypted disks, which enable you to protect specific sensitive documents without having to encrypt your entire drive.
A virtual encrypted disk is a single encrypted file container. As with any other file, you can delete, move, or copy this file container. To access the contents of this TrueCrypt-created file, however, you must mount the volume (the file container) as a drive — and to do that, you must first enter your encryption password.
The file container will appear as a drive in Windows, similarly to the way the C: and D: drives do, and then you’ll be able to access, modify, remove, and add files and folders inside the encrypted file container.