Traveling around with a USB flash drive full of your personal files is often very useful. However, it can also be risky. These little thumb drivescan easily be lost or stolen. If you have personal information on them, the loss could cause you plenty of trouble. Fortunately, there are several free utilities designed to keep your personal files protected (encrypted) with a password. USB Safeguard is a good option.
USB Safeguard is available as a single executable file named usbsafeguard.exe’. It’s only about 736k, so it will fit easily on most current USB drives. You’ll find that you actually have to move the usbsafeguard.exe file onto the flash drive before it will run. Once it’s started for the first time, you’ll see the following prompt for a password:
You can type in your password, or you can use the built in on-screen keyboard by clicking the tiny keyboard icon just above the first password field. You’ll have to enter the password twice to confirm it’s typed correctly.
Next you’ll be asked to save the password in a text file on your hard drive. This is a precaution you might want to take, just in case you forget the password later.
After that, you’ll get the main interface where you can add files from your flash drive that you want to encrypt. You can add files by dragging and dropping them into the large empty area, or you can use the Encrypt Allbutton to grab everything on the flash drive.
If you’ve added files by dragging and dropping, you’ll need to hit the Encryptbutton to move to the next step. Here’s what it looks like while it’s encrypting your files.
After it’s finished encrypting, the original files will need to be removed. The following screen gives you several options for dealing with them.
Here’s what it looks like when you are deleting files:
Now when you look at the files on the flash drive, you’ll only see the usbsafeguard.exe file and the encrypted archive named image.dsk. That single image file could contain hundreds of files if that’s what you want in it. The size of you flash drive is the only limitation.
In order to get your files back out, all you have to do is run the usbsafeguard.exe file and supply the password. You’ll see all the files listed and you can select them and decrypt(unpack) the ones you want.
Here are three other file encryption tools we’ve written about:
Techie Buzz Verdict:
This is a good solution for protecting files. I’m not very happy with the main interface that’s used to drag and drop files into. I think it might be more useful if it was more like a Windows Explorer file browser. That said, I plan to keep a copy of it.
Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)