Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

TrueCrypt allows the user to create an encryption volume on a file or a device hosted encryption on a drive or partition.What is advantage or disadvantage of one over the other?

share|improve this question
add comment

6 Answers 6

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Partition pros:

  1. It's harder to accidentally delete a partition. :)
  2. Necessary when encrypting the entire operating system.

File pros:

  1. Files are easier for many people to understand.
  2. Files are easier to move/copy.
  3. You can use the rest of the partition for other files (like the traveler mode files)
share|improve this answer
add comment

The other option that TrueCrypt provides is to create "headerless" file containers inside either encrypted partitions or other file containers, thus hiding even the existence of the file-within-a-file for maximum deniability; the only way someone can know it's there is...well, to know it's there. Combines all the advantages (and disadvantages) of both methods.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Just to expand upon Jeremy's second file 'pro': you can share file-based encrypted volumes, which includes hosting them online on a service like Dropbox, which is a great way to share sensitive information and to create secure backups, or even to access sensitive information with other computers you use.

share|improve this answer
add comment

File Pro: You can use a file over NAS. I have a TrueCrypt volume mounted from my ReadyNAS. It's not the fastest but works for well enough for what I need.

share|improve this answer
add comment

To add to Jeremy's answer. Full disk partition (aka full Hard-drive encryption) is only supported for Windows (Vista, XP, Server 2003, & Server 2008). So if you want full disk encryption for Macintosh or Linux, you are SOL.

One advantage that file encryption has over partition/device is simply the fact that you can synchronize that file between computers. Here is an example where it would come in to play:

You have a KeePass database, spreadsheet with Tax information, other miscelanous important documents that you want to backup onto multiple systems but want to ensure that they remain secure. Well you could create a 1GB (Or whatever size) Truecrypt file in which you can store these things. Once created, you can synchronize the file between computers easily using a product like DropBox.

I hope this has helped.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Use full disk encryption if possible. That way swap files, web browser cache, etc. are also encrypted.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.