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
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!
Cryptext Version (Freeware)
Originally published: September, 2003