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TrueCrypt was an encryption program that existed several years earlier. While there were no big statements that it had ever been audited or added to, the source code was usable. Its creator was (and continues to be) unknown. Nonetheless, it was cross-platform, simple to use, and extremely useful.

TrueCrypt allowed you to create an encrypted file "vault" in which you could store sensitive information (text, audio, video, images, PDFs, and so on). If you had the correct password, TrueCrypt will decrypt the vault and grant read and write access to any computer running TrueCrypt. It was an effective technique for creating a simulated, lightweight, fully encrypted drive (except it was a file) where you could securely store your files.

TrueCrypt finally shut down, but VeraCrypt soon stepped in to fill the gap. VeraCrypt is based on TrueCrypt 7.1a which has several enhancements to the previous version (including significant algorithm changes for standard encrypted volumes and boot volumes). Custom iterations are available in VeraCrypt 1.12 and later releases for improved encryption security. Better still, VeraCrypt will load old TrueCrypt volumes, making it simple to migrate your TrueCrypt volumes to VeraCrypt.

Install VeraCrypt

By downloading the required installer file from the VeraCrypt download website, you can install VeraCrypt on all major platforms.

You can also create it yourself from source code. It includes wxGTK3, makeself, and the standard programming stack on Linux (Binutils, GCC, and so on).

VeraCrypt can be launched from your program menu after it has been installed.

Create a VeraCrypt volume

You must first construct a VeraCrypt volume if you are new to VeraCrypt (otherwise, you have nothing to decrypt). On the left side of the VeraCrypt window, press the Create Volume button. Choose whether you want to construct an encrypted file container or encrypt an entire drive in the VeraCrypt Volume Creator Wizard window that appears. Follow along as the wizard guides you through the process of building a vault for your records.

I made a file container for this post. A VeraCrypt container is similar to any other file in that it can be stored on a hard disk, an optical drive, in cloud storage, or somewhere else. It can be transferred, copied, and erased much as every other file. It can hold more files than most other files, which is why I call it a "vault" and VeraCrypt developers call it a "container." A VeraCrypt file is called a "container" by its creators because it can hold other data objects; it has little to do with the container technologies popularized by LXC, Kubernetes, and other modern IT systems.

Choose a filesystem

You'll be asked to choose a filesystem during the volume development process to determine how the files you put within your vault will be stored. Since the Microsoft FAT format is outdated, non-journaled, and has volume and file size limitations, it is the only format that both platforms can read and write to. FAT is the best choice if you want your VeraCrypt vault to work through platforms.

Apart from that, NTFS is compatible with both Windows and Linux. The open-source EXT series is compatible with Linux.

Mount a VeraCrypt volume

You can install a VeraCrypt volume from inside the VeraCrypt window once it's been developed. Tap the right-hand Select File button to install an encrypted vault. Select your encrypted file, then press the Mount button in the lower-left corner of the VeraCrypt window to mount it to one of the numbered slots in the upper half of the VeraCrypt window.

Your installed volume appears in the VeraCrypt window's list of available volumes, and you can access it from your file manager as if it were an external disk. On KDE, for example, I open Dolphin, go to /media/veracrypt1, and then copy files into my vault.

Close a VeraCrypt volume

It's critical to close a VeraCrypt volume when you don't need it open to protect your records. This protects it from prying eyes and opportunity crimes.

It's just as easy to close a VeraCrypt container as it is to open one: In the VeraCrypt pane, select the specified volume and press Dismount. You, and no one else, have access to the archives in your vault.

VeraCrypt for easy cross-platform encryption

There are many ways to keep your data stable, and VeraCrypt wants to make things as simple as possible for you, no matter what device you need to do it on. VeraCrypt is an open-source file encryption program that is simple to use.