Easily encrypt your USB/flash drive with SafeHouse Explorer… even if you don’t have administrator access!

We all know TrueCrypt is the king of encryption software. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most feature filled and secure encryption software out there; best of all, it is open source. The only one problem with TrueCrypt is you need administrator access to install it on any computer or, to stay relevant to the topic on hand, you need administrator access to run TrueCrypt encrypted-files from a USB/flash drive. So for all its good, the need for administrator access makes TrueCrypt useless in many situations. This is where SafeHouse Explorer comes in.

SafeHouse Explorer is a free, easy to use encryption software which is specifically designed to work with external media such as a USB/flash drive. With SafeHouse Explorer, a user can easily encrypt their USB/flash drive on any computer, and decrypt, read, and reencrypt their USB/flash drive on any computer. Unlike TrueCrypt, you do not need administrator access to use SafeHouse Explorer (if you download the portable version of course). So, essentially, you can use SafeHouse Explorer on any computer you want including but not limited to Internet cafes, or your work computer.

Using SafeHouse Explorer is pretty much point and click. Since “showing you” is better than “telling you”, watch this demo video by the developer demonstrating SafeHouse Explorer:

For the purposes of the video, the developer used the installer version of SafeHouse Explorer. However you can do everything shown in the video using the portable version also. Just make sure, if you are encrypting data on external media, to place the SafeHouse Explorer Volume and the portable version of SafeHouse Explorer on the external media as shown in the video so you can access your data when you travel. If are you already running the installer version of SafeHouse Explorer there is no need to re-download the portable version of SafeHouse Explorer; there is a built in feature where you can create a portable copy of SafeHouse Explorer on your external media and copy your data over also:

One thing to take note is when you run SafeHouse Explorer for the first time, portable or installer version, you will be asked to install “performance enhancements”. These “enhancements” consist of installing a driver on the computer. If you are on your own computer and you have administrator access this is no problem – go ahead and do it. However if you are running the portable version and you are not on your own computer (i.e. you probably don’t have administrator access) you will not be able to install this driver. If this is the case for you, do not worry – SafeHouse Explorer works just fine without the driver. The driver is just a “plus”; it is not required.

Asides from the external media friendliness, it is worth mentioning…

  • You can create self executable EXE encrypted files. In other words, you can encrypt your files into a standalone EXE and send it to someone else who does not need to have SafeHouse Explorer to open them; they just need your password. However do take note if you do create a self executable EXE you will not be able to normally interact with your files as if you were using a volume. The good thing is, though, SafeHouse Explorer has the option to go from volume -> EXE but it also can do EXE -> volume so you can switch between the two depending on your needs.
  • Your SafeHouse Explorer volumes are limited to 2,000 GB. I say “limited”, but honestly, is 2,000 GB a limitation or is it a goal (to get that much data in one place).
  • There is no way to recover your password after you set it. So don’t forget it!

Now the biggest caveat of SafeHouse Explorer is it is not open source. However it is free, so you have no fear of ever being cut off from your files, and it uses 256-bit TwoFish encryption, so you can rest assured your data is safe and, at the same time, you will feel little to no lag while using SafeHouse Explorer.

Overall, SafeHouse Explorer is an excellent alternative to TrueCrypt… especially for those people who regularly use computers where they do not have administrator access to. You can grab SafeHouse Explorer from the following links:

Version reviewed:

v3.00

Supported OS:

Windows XP, Vista, and Win7

License information:

There is no mention of “for home/personal/noncommercial use only”, so free for everyone.

SafeHouse Explorer Homepage

[Direct download – installer version]

[Direct download – portable version]

Thanks Steelers6!

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22 comments

  1. Pingback: [Windows] Encrypt files using 11 encryption algorithms with 1-abc.net File Encrypter

  2. Pingback: Need to encrypt your files? Let AxCrypt or TrueCrypt do the job for you. | Reviews, news, tips, and tricks | dotTech

  3. DoktorThomas

    “Showing you” is not necessarily a preferred methodology, especially if wise surfers have removed flash, java and silverlight from their computers for the obvious endless security problems with those scripts. With a site such as this one, assuming at any level cannot be entertained. At least include a link to the script of the unwanted video clip.

  4. Giovanni

    Hey Ashraf!!

    Have a look at this awesome OPEN SOURCE highly PORTABLE disk encryption program!!

    http://www.freeotfe.org/

    As you can see, it allos you to gain access on encrypted volumes even on Windows PC where this tool hasn’t been installed (i.e. in Internet Café).

    But the best part of it is that cyphers include AES (256 bit), Twofish (256 bit), Serpent (256 bit) and even Blowfish (448 bit), which is missing in SAFEHOUSE EXPLORER.

    So it looks like a more powerful encryption tool than SAFEHOUSE EXPLORER: what do you make of it??

    Let’s give it a whirl and let me know your feedback about it!!

    Cheers
    Giovanni

  5. Giovanni

    Hey Ashraf!!

    Have a look at this awesome OPEN SOURCE highly PORTABLE disk encryption program:

    http://www.freeotfe.org/

    As you can see, it allos you to gain access on encrypted volumes even on Windows PC where this tool hasn’t been installed (i.e. in Internet Café).

    But the best part of it is that cyphers include AES (256 bit), Twofish (256 bit), Serpent (256 bit) and even Blowfish (448 bit), which is missing in SAFEHOUSE EXPLORER.

    So it looks like a more powerful encryption tool than SAFEHOUSE EXPLORER: what do you make of it??

    Let’s give it a whirl and let me know your feedback about it!!

    Cheers
    Giovanni

  6. john

    Hi

    I would like to use Safehouse Explorer on an Android 2.2 mobile phone

    I have created an Safehouse folder on the memory card on my PC.

    But when I put the card in phone I cant open the Safehouse folder.

    Can anyone advise how to make this work on an android phone?

    Or perhaps there is another android application that does the same as Safehouse Explorer (ie — you dont have to wait for files to encrypt and decrypt)

    Any help is welcome- thanks.

  7. MikeR

    Must be old age. IGNORE my post at #13. A simple change of the folder’s properties to ‘Hidden’ removes it from view in Explorer. Yes, unchecking that in folders/options will make it visible but a casual user is unlikely to do so.

  8. MikeR

    First reaction re Safehouse v Iobit’s ‘Protected Folder’ commercial software:

    Iobit wins because its software renders any protected folder invisible, whereas any Safehouse encrypted folder appears in Windows Explorer.

    So although no-one can (theoretically) get into a Safehouse volume, anyone can see its presence.

    Both Iobit’s ‘Protected Folder’ and, to lesser extent, TrueCrypt, actually make an encrypted folder invisible (TrueCrypt’s is easy enough to spot though as the file size in Windows Explorer is a giveaway to its presence.)

    So far, then, the Iobit product seems to out-perform Safehouse. But perhaps Safehouse in paid-for guise provides the invisibility that Iobit does with ‘Protected Folder’???????

  9. Johan Aa

    I’ve been using SafeHouse Explorer (free version) for years and it works good. Some users experience periodically problems when moving files in and out of the container (I have experienced that too), and functionality of the UI could be improved a little bit.

    As a free alternative I also use Axcrypt (AxCrypt2Go) which functionality is much simpler (and faster to use) and it is also fully portable on usb-drives and need no administrator rights. It can encrypt/decrypt single files and folders and – like Safe House – create self executable EXE encrypted files as well.

    http://www.axantum.com/

  10. MikeR

    Great to see Ashraf’s psychic abilities continue to be unbeatable.

    I happened to be visiting a friend last week who showed me his latest acquisition: “Protected Folder” from Iobit. He’s previously used TrueCrypt, but like many, found the initial setting up something of a faff, and the subsequent opening of hidden files also a little time consuming. Me, I don’t have that problem; I’m used to TrueCrypt, and it has never let me down.

    Anyway. Iobit’s ‘Protected Folder’. Nice interface, nice sound effects of a vault door opening and closing. Very quick and easy to use. But it ain’t cheap, and certainly not free. More to the point: it’s from Iobit, and I’d sooner be touched with the plague than have any Iobit product, free or paid-for, on any computer of mine — the Malwarebytes scandal killed off Iobit as far as I was concerned.

    So although ‘Protected Folder’ *seemed* OK, I shrugged it off. Yet something quicker and simpler than TrueCrypt was of appeal to me, especially as I’m travelling a lot now, and need to have certain financial documents like tax returns and insurance renewals etc, as well as banking details, to hand.

    And so Ashraf promptly turns up with this. Am-az-ing.

    Thanks, Ashraf, and welcome back. Having now watched the developer’s helpful video tutorials, I’m off to download this.

    And it’ll be very interesting to see how Iobit’s ‘Protected Folder’ commercial software compares.

  11. Fish

    Thanks, Ashraf.

    I remember having used SafeHouse Explorer in its earliest version. Since I didn’t need it then, seems like I’ve totally forgotten about it.

    Now I’ve been looking for an obvious alternative for using TrueCrypt, so here comes.

    Hey, welcome back!

  12. Fish

    Thanks, Ashraf. I remember having used SafeHouse Explorer in its earliest version. Since I didn’t need it then, seems like I’ve totally forgotten it. Now I’ve been looking for an obvious alternative for using TrueCrypt, so here it comes.

    Hey, welcome back!

  13. Phil

    There is a very important point that haven´t been covered: does SafeHouse Explorer support “on the fly encryption”.
    >”…decrypt, read, and reencrypt their USB/flash drive on any computer…”
    as for that, it seems it doesn´t support it; decrypting all and reencrypting all again…

  14. MerleOne

    Just some more points : when you install the driver (the so-called enhancements), the encrypted container can be seen as a virtual drive, say E:, so you don’t need the SafeHouse Explorer to manage files in the encrypted container.

    The commercial version offers a nice plus : auto-resizing of the container (when formatted within in FAT32).

  15. Kerry

    I use this program and its excellent as I transport tax files on my usb.
    You can’t see any of the files when exploring the drive unless you run safe explorer and enter the password. I love it and highly recommend it!. Works perfect on win xp home 32 bit.

    Keep up the Great work !!!