The free TrueCrypt encryption software makes it easy to create a virtual encrypted disk within a file – there are several illustrated guides available on the main site showing how to create and mount (open) these files. The guides illustrate the standard way to mount such an encrypted file container:
- Open TrueCrypt and, from the main program window, select a free drive letter.
- Press the ‘Select File’ button and browse to the location where the container is stored and then select it.
- Press the Mount button – the Password Entry window appears for you to type in the correct password and mount the container.
This process works but it is time consuming – listed below are some quicker ways to mount a file container, using either Favorite Volumes or a Registry tweak.
1. Favorite Volumes – mount the volume in the usual way then select Favorites from the TrueCrypt menu bar and select ‘Add Mounted Volume To Favorites’ as shown below:
The volume now appears in the Favorite Volumes window. Select the volume and type a label for it in the ‘Label of selected favorite volume’ text box as shown below – this step is essential if you have more than one favorite volume as it identifies which is which:
1A. Tick the ‘Mount selected volume upon logon’ box if you want to automatically display the Password Entry window and mount the volume when Windows starts. Press OK to close the window and apply your changes.
1B. Press OK to close the window and apply your changes. To mount a specific Favorite Volume, open TrueCrypt and select ‘Favorites’ from the menubar then select the volume you wish to mount – the choices are listed at the bottom of the context menu as shown below:
If you only have 1 Favorite Volume (or if you want to mount several at once), a quicker alternative is to just right click the TrueCrypt Background Task icon (in the system tray) and select ‘Mount Favorite Volumes’ to open the Password Entry window and mount the volume(s):
Note that this option will try to mount all your favorite volumes, one at a time – to omit one, press Cancel in the Password Entry window to skip to the next Favorite.
2. Registry Tweak – another way to open a specific volume more quickly from Explorer (or a shortcut) is to change the registry entry for opening TrueCrypt volumes. First, ensure that volumes are associated with TrueCrypt – browse to a volume in Windows Explorer and check that the File Type is listed as ‘TrueCrypt Volume’ with a file extension of .tc
If the volume has no file extension and is listed as just ‘File’, rename it by adding .tc at the end of the filename – Windows should automatically associate it with the ‘TrueCrypt Volume’ file type.
Now double click the file – by default, the main TrueCrypt window opens and you must select a free drive letter then press the Mount button to display the Password Entry window and mount the volume. A much quicker method is to jump straight to the Password Entry window when you double click the volume – without displaying the main TrueCrypt window at all.
To do this we need to edit a registry entry. Open the Registry Editor (press Start and type regedit in the search box then press Enter) and browse to the following key:
In the right hand panel, double click the ‘Default’ string to edit it – by default the value will normally be: “C:\Program Files\TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.exe” /v “%1″
Leaving a single space after the current value, add /a /q background to the end of the command so that the new value is as shown below:
“C:\Program Files\TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.exe” /v “%1″ /a /q background
Close the Registry Editor and double click a TrueCrypt volume to test – it should immediately open the Password Entry window ready to mount the volume and also open the TrueCrypt Background Task icon (if not already open) ready for dismounting the volume(s) later.
The commands added to the registry key above perform the following actions (there are several other helpful commands listed in TrueCrypt’s Command Line Usage):
- /a – automatically mount the volume.
- /q – perform requested actions and exit (main TrueCrypt window will not be displayed).
- background – launches the TrueCrypt Background Task (tray icon) unless it is disabled in the Preferences. If you don’t want to launch this, just delete ‘background’ from the registry key entry.
Tip: to save time navigating to the location of the volume in Explorer, you could create a desktop shortcut to it – right click on the volume and select ‘Send to \ Desktop (create shortcut)’. Once created, you could change the shortcut’s name (and icon) to something else if required for privacy and/or pin it to the taskbar etc.
TrueCrypt is an excellent free encryption program but, in many cases, there is no need to open the main TrueCrypt program window just to mount a volume. Using Favorite Volumes and tweaking the registry can make it easier and quicker to automount selected volumes.