USB disk or USB stick is a device that you often tend to carry wherever you go.It is small and easy to carry and it can also store considerable amount of data. Some people even use it to share data with friends and others. Since you carry it with you, the risk of someone else getting access to your confidential data (which is far more precious than the USB stick) is high, if you lose it or misplace it.How do you avoid this situation?
Here we will review a free tool called Rohos Mini Drive that lets you create a hidden and encrypted partition on the USB flash memory. This is a portable application and it doesn’t require the end user (with whom you had shared the data) to have any special program on their PC to access files on the hidden partition, as it can be carried in the same USB stick. The end users will only need to know the password of the encrypted secret volume in the USB memory stick.
The partition that you create with Rohos Mini Drive is not readily visible when you plug-in the flash stick into the USB drive. It is a hidden partition and Only when you run the Rohos application within the USB drive and enter the right password, the hidden partition becomes visible.
Rohos Mini Drive doesn’t require any administrative privileges to run it. This will prove to be useful when you want to access your confidential data on the flash memory, by plugging it into a public computer to which you wouldn’t have administrative privileges.
Features of Rohos Mini Drive
- Creates a virtual encrypted partition (disk) within a USB flash drive.
- Automatically detects your USB drive configuration and creates the encrypted partition.
- It is a Portable application that allows you to work with the encrypted partition on any computer. You can run it from within USB drive.
- Encrypted partition can be protected by password
- Encryption is automatic and carried out on-the-fly
- Encryption algorithm: AES 256 bit key length. Using NIST compliant encryption standards.
- Has a Virtual Keyboard– to protect your encrypted disk password from a keylogger
- Autorun Folder – The shortcuts will automatically start upon disk connection
- File Virtualization – open files on PC with no Admin rights via Rohos Disk Browser in associated application without first decrypting them into temporary folder.
- The limit of encrypted partition size is 2 GB.
Rohos Mini Drive program does not create a real partition on the USB flash drive. Thus, when you insert your USB drive into USB port only one drive letter will appear in Windows. The second drive (the secured one) will appear only after you active it by entering a password.
How to install Rohos Mini Drive
Though Rohos Mini Drive is portable, and doesn’t require any administrative privileges to use it on the flash stick, the initial step to create an encrypted, password protected USB drive requires you to install and run the application on your PC. This will require administrator privileges.
- Download Rohos Mini Drive from here
- Double click the downloaded exe file to run it
- Select the language in which you want to install. It is available in English, French, German, dutch, Italian and Portuguese
- Follow the instructions in the wizard to install it
How to create secured, encrypted, password protected USB partition
After installing Rohos Mini Drive on your PC, you can proceed to create a secured, encrypted, password protected USB partition by following the steps below.
- Open the Rohos Mini Drive application through the shortcut icon on your desktop or the “Start” menu
- In the Rohos Mini Drive main window, click “Setup USB Key”
- Rohos Mini Drive will detect the USB key and throw open a “Setup USB key” window. By default, it will list one USB drive but if you have multiple USB sticks inserted into multiple USB drives, you can manually detect the correct USB drive by clicking Change against “USB Device has been found“.
The application will also by default set up the partition disk size (500 megabytes), disk letter (R:, in this case), file system (NTFS) and encryption algorithm. You can change these on the “Disk Details” window, which is thrown open when you click Change against “Partition Image File“. Ensure that the image file is created on the USB stick (I drive in my example). Click “OK” on the “Disk Details” window, after making the desired changes, if any.
- On the “Setup USB key” window, specify a strong password to access the disk and finally click “Create Disk”
- Rohos Mini Drive will start creating the encrypted volume on your USB stick.This process will take some time
- After completion, it throw a completed message.
That is it! You have created a password protected USB partition on your flash stick. Navigate to the partition on the USB stick (R:) through the windows explorer. You may then store all your confidential data in the hidden partition and install all your portable apps.
To access the encrypted volume on another PC (say a public computer), plug in the USB key, navigate to the USB drive though windows explorer and you will find the Rohos Mini application icon. Double click on it and enter the password that you set earlier. You will now be able to access your data and portable applications.