Tuesday 10 November 2015

Travel Tips

If you are planning on travelling and want to be able to keep your apps and data handy, then here are some useful tech tips. You will need a USB 3.0 portable hard drive, VeraCrypt encryption software and the Portable Apps program. 1TB portable drives are available for under $100. You can use this to store your photos and documents and to load the Portable Apps program to access useful programs such as Chrome, Skype etc.

It is a good idea to encrypt your hard drive in case it gets lost or stolen while you are travelling. Encryption is just a means of obscuring the contents of the hard drive. A password is required to make the data visible. VeraCrypt is a free encryption utility that can be used for this purpose. To be able to load VeraCrypt on any computer it is advisable to create a separate partition on the external drive. This creates a 2 logical drives on the external drive so when you plug in the drive it will come up with 2 drive letters (one for the veracrypt files and the other for the encrypted data). You can use PartedMagic to create the new partition. This only has to be a small partition to load the VeraCrypt files. I recommend making it 32GB. The rest of the drive is then free to be used for the encrypted data (on a 1TB drive this will be about 900GB). Load VeraCrypt and create a new volume. Choose Encrypt a non-system partition/drive then choose Standard VeraCrypt volume. Select the data partition you created earlier and then the level of encryption required. VeraCrypt will then prompt for a password that will be used to decrypt the volume. Once this has finished encrypting you can setup the smaller drive with the VeraCrypt files. Go to Tools | Traveler Disk Setup in VeraCrypt. Select the small partition you created (which is unencrypted, in my case the 32GB drive) and then click on Create. This copies the VeraCrypt files to the drive which allows you to load the encrypted volume in any computer. Note that if you login to a computer with a limited user account (i.e. does not have full access to the system) you may not be able to load the encrypted partition. Most home computers won't have this problem though.

Now you can install the Portable Apps software on the encrypted drive. Choose which apps you want to use. Once this is all installed you can dismount the encrypted volume and unplug the portable drive.So what you now have is a drive with your favourite portable apps that is securely encrypted and can be loaded on most computers. For more information follow the links.