All the tips/hints/fixes/other information posted here are at your own risk. Some of the steps here could result in damage to your computer. For example, using a Windows registry editor like RegEdit could result in unintended serious changes that may be difficult or impossible to reverse. Backups are always encouraged.

05 April 2008

Extending the Usefulness of TrueCrypt on Vista with Folder2Junction

As you may know, TrueCrypt is a great, free utility for encryption. It's especially welcome to me, because on Windows Vista Home Premium, there is no EFS. TrueCrypt mounts a virtual disk that is encrypted for the storage of sensitive files and folders, and the encryption/decryption happens on-the-fly (like EFS). Unlike EFS, however, the files have to be in the encrypted area to be encrypted. You can't have, for example, the Mozilla folder in AppData encrypted and keep it in its default location on C:\. Unless, that is...

NTFS offers a neat but difficult-to-utilize feature known as directory junction points. These are like wormholes in the file system that look like folders but point to other directories, even on other disks/volumes. Junctions are a way to store sensitive data on an encrypted disk while maintaining application compatibility and ease-of-access.

To make that easier, I developed a utility (I'm really proud; my first programming triumph!) called Folder2Junction. Folder2Junction adds a command to the contextual menu of folders: Move Folder Then Create Junction Here. Selecting it will prompt you to select where you want the folder and its contents to be stored. It will then move the folder to that location (say, the encrypted disk) and then make a NTFS junction point in the original location pointing to its new location. To the OS and apps, the folder will appear to be in the same place, but it is really a wormhole to the real folder now somewhere else.

Luckily, Windows Vista has some built-in support for junctions, and they will appear in Explorer in Vista with an arrow icon overlay. Also, deleting junctions in Vista's Explorer will delete just the junction and not the original (unlike Explorer in XP). Partially for this reason (but more for the mklink command Folder2Junction uses that is new to Vista), Folder2Junction is compatible with Windows Vista or higher only and is totally freeware. Please see this thread for the download link and more information.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! Was just trawling around to see if there was any way of mounting a truecrypt container to a junction point and stumbled onto your blog.

    Not precisely what I was looking for, but very close! (Basically I'm thinking about how it would be possible to create applications that store their settings in a truecrypt container without resorting to mounting it as a drive)