Why can't I turn on automatic encryption on my Windows PC?

Episode 1206

Mark from Los Angeles, CA

Mark is having trouble encrypting his hard drive in Windows 8.1. He's told it's encrypted by default, but Leo says if he can't get it turned on, then his hardware probably doesn't support it. Mark should look for TPM 2.0 support. Users also need support for Windows connected standby feature. So if he doesn't have all that, he'll have to get a third party encryption utility. TrueCrypt is free and open source, but unfortunately, they've given the government a back door.

Is encryption illegal?

Episode 1203

Gary from Mission Viejo, CA

Gary is concerned with being able to encrypt his data. Is it secure? Leo says it is, but law enforcement can get the keys if asked by Microsoft. Leo says that using BitLocker is a good solution for keeping his data secure, though. What about TrueCrypt? Leo says he can use it, but it will stop working down the line.

Is there an alternative to TrueCrypt?

Episode 1100

John from New Jersey

John wants to know if there's a cross platform alternative to TrueCrypt since development of it ended. Leo says that BitLocker is Microsoft's file vault, and Apple's is called FileVault. Both work great, but they aren't cross platform. Leo says that TrueCrypt is still around, but that the writer of it allegedly took to the Internet and said it wasn't safe anymore. It's been audited and so far seems to still be legit. So who knows? Leo doesn't know of any open source options anymore. BitLocker is a good alternative.

Why doesn't Windows 8.1 support TrueCrypt?

Episode 1084

Walter from Burbank, CA

Walter got a new computer and just updated it to Windows 8.1. But he's thinking of downgrading to Windows 7 because he likes TrueCrypt's whole disk encryption. Leo says that BitLocker is good and it's built into Windows 8.1. Fast and effective. He can get BitLocker through Windows 8.1 professional, but Windows 8.1 automatically encrypts by default, and he'll have to use his Microsoft account to login.

How can I encrypt my hard drive?

Episode 1082

Pete from Brooklyn, NY

Pete would like to encrypt his hard drive so nobody could use his computer unless they had the password. Leo says the easiest way to do this is to use the file lockers that the OS comes with. Windows has BitLocker, and Apple has FileVault. He can turn them on in the OS. But some people don't trust them because they don't know if there's a back door built into them for the NSA. So open source options like TrueCrypt exist. Can he just encrypt folders? Leo says absolutely. He can also encrypt external drives.

How can I encrypt and backup my data?


Episode 1074

Dave from Fountain Valley, CA

Dave is looking for a good backup solution for both business and personal. He wants to encrypt the data and back it up. Leo says that if Dave turns on encryption on the drive, that's effective. The OS has encryption: File Vault for the Mac and BitLocker for Windows. He'll have to be sure he backs up the certificate and doesn't lose it. Third party options that work include TrueCrypt.

Is Windows Encryption safe?

Episode 1056

Brad from San Jose, CA

Brad is planning to build a Windows 8.1 rig and is curious as to how Windows 8 will handle the SSD drive and if Windows eDrive will be good encryption. Leo says it will work just fine. And you really do need to encrypt anything you put on an SSD drive because it doesn't really delete everything. But encryption software from Microsoft may have a back door on it for the Feds. But if that's not your worry, then Windows E will work great for basic protection. But if you're really paranoid and concerned, then Leo advises using TrueCrypt.

Should I be concerned about my data while using a VPN on public Wi-Fi?

Episode 922

Von from Kentucky

Leo says that as long as Von is in a VPN, she's OK. When she isn't using a VPN, however, she is broadcasting in the clear. Since there are often security holes in Windows, she'll want to make sure she keeps Windows up to date. If there's something that really needs to be secured on her drive, she'll want to use encryption. Then even if someone could gain access to her computer, they couldn't get access to those files.