There are numerous file (and folder) encryption programs that are available to protect sensitive files on your computer; however, most people do not understand their purpose. If you are carrying files around on a flash drive that are potentially sensitive in nature, OR maintaining sensitive files on a PC that is accessible by many people, OR storing sensitive files on the internet; then it is important to protect the content of those files from prying eyes. One way of doing that is through file encryption. Encryption software is designed to make your files unreadable (or accessible) to other people. The encryption process usually prompts you to create a key (or password) prior to the software making the file(s) unreadable. As a result, in order to make the file readable again (through a process called decryption) you must enter the password that you originally provided.
One of my favorite encryption programs, that is FREE, small in file size (< 200 KB), and is portable; is Drag ‘n Crypt ULTRA. The “cool factor” to this program is that when you launch the program, a small target (or drop zone) appears on your desktop (see below).
To encrypt a file (or folder), you simply drag the file (or folder) to the target (or drop zone) and drop it. Drag ‘n Crypt Ultra will go to work automatically, prompt you for a password, and then create the encrypted file. As an added level of security, the source file is erased to prevent someone from restoring the file using data recovery software (which is especially easy on a flash drive).
To decrypt the file you simply drag the file you originally encrypted to the target (or drop zone), enter your password, and the file will be restored to its’ original condition.
If you right mouse click on the target (or drop zone), you also have the following options:
My (2)-two favorite options is “create file association” and “Use Context Menu”. With the “file association” option activated you can open your encrypted files by simply mouse clicking on the file(s) and if you have the “context menu” option activated you can perform your file encryption operations through the Windows Explorer context menu, which is typically activated by a right mouse click on a file (or folder).
Overall, Drag ‘n Crypt is fast, offers decent protection ( Twofish coding algorithm) and does not require installation (can be carried and used on your flash drive). I especially use this program to protect files on my flash drive and to protect files that I store online.