Forums Community Encrypting a folder rather than the files in it

This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Svante 7 months ago.

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  • #8255 Reply

    Odessa James

    Hello,

    My motivations for downloading Axcrypt were pretty common : I’ve got sensitive documents in a folder, and I want to put a lock on that folder.

    When I encrypted it, I thought that from now on, each time I want to access one of the files inside the folder, I would just have to type my password once. But I soon realized that ALL the files were encrypted. And it’s a bit of a mess. ^^;

    So… I would like to know if there’s a way to encrypt “only” the folder.

    I hope I expressed myself clearly enough, because english isn’t my first language.

    Thanks in advance,

    Odessa

    #8256 Reply

    Joshua

    I think I understand what you mean.

    AxCrypt is file encryption software, not folder encryption software. This means that AxCrypt encrypts every single file inside the folder.

    If you want folder encryption you should like at VeraCrypt instead.

    #8273 Reply

    Svante
    Keymaster

    Hello Joshua and Odessa James,

    As mentioned, AxCrypt is indeed file encryption software, and thus encrypts files in a folder – not the folder as such.

    VeraCrypt is not a folder encryption software either actually, it’s a volume encryption software – it creates entire encrypted volumes, i.e. ‘drive letters’  in Windows.

    There are folder encryption solutions as well, but the problems with them is that the operating system does not have any convenient “hooks” to implement such – a folder is not really a container in a file system even if it looks like one in most cases, it’s actually just an index to files. Most file systems also allow many folders to reference the same actual file.

    You can somewhat compare this to the old library system (if anyone around is old enough to remember) where you had the books on the shelves, and then index cards sorted in drawers. A folder would be the index cards for example for one author, and they contain references to what book shelves the actual books are found on.

    Although the comparison is not exact, it illustrates the essential problem – in order to encrypt such a system, you have to both encrypt the folder index (which AxCrypt does not), and the separate files (which AxCrypt does). In the computer, the next problem is how to present such an encrypted folder to an operating system which has no intrinsic notion of this.

    All is possible, to some extent, but it gets complicated which means expensive to build and maintain and often not as robust.

    If you’re using Windows, I might suggest Encrypted File System, which essentially does all this – but it’s also very dangerous because there are many non-intuitive scenarios where the files are lost for ever (for example, windows password reset, re-installation of Windows, moving files to a new computer, etc), unless a complicated procedure called recovery certificate backup is performed, and then restored.

    #8277 Reply

    Anonymous

    Hello,

    I Thank you both for your answers. It seems like there is no perfect option, nothing that exactly matches what I’m looking for (sigh).

    I have a last question : what about a USB key ? SanDisk sells its keys with an encryption software. If I put my folder on it… shouldn’t it do the job ?

    #8278 Reply

    Svante
    Keymaster

    Hello,

    If your goal is to keep an USB stick encrypted, the SanDisk software may well work fine. (Although such bundled softwares have often proven to be less secure than advertised). Here VeraCrypt can do the same job as well. And, depending on the user case, so can AxCrypt especially if you use the “Secured Folder” feature to easily keep the separate files in the folder encrypted, and if you wish to you can use the “Anonymous Rename” feature to hide the actual file names as well.

    Try the various options and use what is the best fit for you!

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