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:
Windows XP, Vista, and Win7
There is no mention of “for home/personal/noncommercial use only”, so free for everyone.