There’s pretty much two programs that can handle encryption, but they do it in different ways.
AxCrypt is a simple file encryption program. It allows you to encrypt & decrypt files as needed, but it’s a manual process & it doesn’t hold onto the password after you decrypt the files. AxCrypt works pretty much any Windows computer (Windows 98 & up) & can include a self-decrypting file for those without AxCrypt.
TrueCrypt is a more sophisticated encryption program as it uses encrypted containers. Encrypted containers are inconspicuous files that store multiple encrypted files within. TrueCrypt maps encrypted containers that are mapped & treated like a separate hard drive. While it does take some time to mount the encrypted containers, the big advantage is that TrueCrypt encrypts & decrypts files on the fly. This means that TrueCrypt will decrypt the file before another program reads it & then TrueCrypts will encrypt the file before saving to your hard drive.
TrueCrypt supports all the major encryption algorithms & includes “Secret Containers” (a built-in container within a container) for added security.
TrueCrypt is open-source & is available for Windows (XP & higher), Mac OS X & Linux.
Both AxCrypt & TrueCrypt include keyfile support for the truely paranoid.
Personally, I prefer TrueCrypt for the on-the-fly encryption (so you don’t have to re-encrypt the files when you’re done with them) & the encryption containers retain their passwords. However, the choice for encryption software remains with you.
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