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Cryptxt v3.21 -- Encryption Software

by Alan German

I recently decided that it would be useful to be able to encrypt a number of files to, hopefully, protect the data they contain from being read by any unauthorized individuals.  One thought was that the data source might be stolen, and encrypting the files would make the actual data useless to the casual thief.  No doubt there are many similar applications for data encryption that may be of interest to others.

A search of the file library on PUB II identified a number of candidate programs and, after reading some of the associated documentation files, I settled on Cryptext v3.21, a freeware utility from Nick Payne of Australia.

The documentation for Cryptext indicates that it runs under Windows 95, 98 and NT4.  I can confirm that the program also works just fine under Windows 2000.  For those in the know, the program "performs strong file encryption using a combination of SHA-1 and RC4 with a 160-bit key".  It certainly sounds impressive, and the files are definitely scrambled at the end of the process.  So, it works for me! 

Versions are available in English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Installing the program, adds "Encrypt" and "Decrypt" items to the context menu you get when right-clicking on files or directories in Windows Explorer.  The first time you use the program it prompts for a password and a repeated version of this password for verification purposes.  After that, encrypting a file is as simple as right clicking on a file or a sub-directory in Explorer, selecting the encrypt menu item, and entering the chosen password.  The file is encrypted and the normal file icon changes to a key in a lock indicating the file's changed status.  Decrypting the file requires basically the same sequence of actions but using decrypt from Explorer's menu.  One really nice feature of the program is the ability to encrypt all the files in a sub-directory by selecting the directory rather than the individual files.

The program works fine with files and directories on hard drives and removable media (e.g. CD-RW).  So, if you have an application for file encryption in mind, you may wish to give Cryptext a try, but don't forget your password!

Bottom Line:

Cryptext Version (Freeware)
Version 3.21
Nick Payne

Originally published: September, 2003

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