3 Free Full Disk Encryption Programs

Full Reviews of the Best Freeware Whole Disk Encryption Programs for Windows

Full disk encryption software does just that - it encrypts an entire drive, not just a few files or folders. Encrypting your computer's drives keeps your private data away from prying eyes, even if your computer is stolen.

You're also not just limited to a traditional hard drive. External devices like flash drives and external hard drives can be encrypted by disk encryption software, too.

Note: Windows and macOS both have integrated whole disk encryption programs - BitLocker and FileVault, respectively. In general, I'd recommend that you use those full disk encryption tools if you can. If you can't for some reason, or if your operating system included tool doesn't offer a feature you'd like, one of the free disk encryption programs below might be for you.

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Screenshot of TrueCrypt in Windows 7
TrueCrypt. © TrueCrypt Foundation

TrueCrypt is a powerful disk encryption program that supports hidden volumes, on-the-fly encryption, keyfiles, keyboard shortcuts, and more awesome features.

Not only can it encrypt whole disks of data at once, but it can also encrypt the system partition that has an OS installed. Furthermore, you can use TrueCrypt to build a single file that acts as a drive, complete with its own encrypted files and folders.

If you're encrypting the system volume with TrueCrypt, which is the partition you're actively using, you can still carry on with regular activities while the process completes in the background. This is really nice considering how long it takes to run a full disk encryption on large amounts of data.

TrueCrypt v7.1a Review & Free Download

Note: The developers of TrueCrypt are no longer releasing new versions of the software. However, the last working version (7.1a) is still very much available and works great. I have more on this in my review.

TrueCrypt works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as with Linux and Mac operating systems. More »

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Screenshot of DiskCryptor in Windows 7
DiskCryptor. © ntldr, jet-phryx

DiskCryptor is one of the best free disk encryption program for Windows. It lets you encrypt the system/boot volume as well as any other internal or external hard drive. It's also really simple to use and has some pretty neat, unique features.

In addition to password protecting a partition, you can even add one or more keyfiles to it for increased security. Keyfiles can be in the form of files or folders and, if set up as such, are required before mounting or decrypting a volume.

Data on a volume encrypted using DiskCryptor can be viewed and modified while the drive is mounted. There is no need to decrypt the whole drive just to access the files. It can then be dismounted in seconds, which renders the drive and all data on it unusable until the password and/or keyfile(s) are entered.

Something I particularly like about DiskCryptor is that if your computer reboots while a drive is mounted and readable, it automatically dismounts and becomes unusable until the credentials are entered again.

DiskCryptor also supports encrypting multiple volumes at once, can pause encryption so you can reboot or remove a hard drive during the process, works with a RAID setup, and can encrypt ISO images to produce encrypted CDs/DVDs.

DiskCryptor v1.1.846.118 Review & Free Download

The only thing I don't like very much about DiskCryptor is that it has a major glitch that could render your encrypted system volume unusable. It's important to recognize this problem before encrypting a partition that's used to boot into Windows. More about this in my review.

DiskCryptor works on Windows 10 through Windows 2000, as well as Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2012. More »

Screenshot of COMODO Disk Encryption in Windows 7
COMODO Disk Encryption. © COMODO

The system drive, as well as any attached hard drive, can be encrypted with COMODO Disk Encryption. Both drive types can be configured to require authentication by password and/or a USB device.

Using an external device as authentication requires it to be plugged in before you're given access to the encrypted files.

One thing I don't like about COMODO Disk Encryption is that you can't choose a unique password for each encrypted drive. Instead, you must use the same password for each one.

You can change the initial password or USB authentication method any time you want, but it, unfortunately, applies to all the encrypted drives

COMODO Disk Encryption v1.2 Review & Free Download

Note: Program updates to COMODO Disk Encryption shouldn't be expected because the program has been discontinued since 2010. Choosing one of the other full disk encryption programs in this list, if you can, is probably a better idea.

Windows 2000 up through Windows 7 are supported. COMODO Disk Encryption will unfortunately not install to Windows 8 or Windows 10. More »