Tutorial Key Facts
Supported Operating System Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003, Win 7 & 8 (all versions)
AxCrypt Version AxCrypt-1.7.2867.0 (Old version available with more features - paid version is also now available)
Last Update 2016/09/12
Author Nihad Hassan
Encrypt files and folder using AxCrypt Program
AxCrypt is a lightweight free encryption utility for windows OS, it integrates smoothly with windows explorer and appears in the context right menu click. The following lines will describe how to install and use AxCrypt.
Download AxCrypt from here http://www.axantum.com/axcrypt/Downloads.html, save the executable on your disk.
Update ( 2016/09/12) There is a newer version of AxCrypt. New files encrypted with AxCrypt 2 are not compatible with AxCrypt 1.x! Files originally encrypted with AxCrypt 1.x will be decryptable with AxCrypt 2 and will remain compatible with 1.x, even after modification and automatic re-encryption.
Right click the installer and select ‘Run as Administrator’ as follow
A windows contains software license agreement appears, Hit ‘I agree’ button to continue
The software begins to install on system …
Finally the last window appears stating installation completed successfully and offer an option to register your software online (we will skip this step here but you can register if you want)
Hit the finish button and you are done.
Now, in order to begin encrypting using this utility, go to the file/folder you want to encrypt and ‘right click’ on it as follow
A new option in right menu (Windows context menu) appears ‘AxCrypt’ when selecting it a sub menu appears contains the following options:
- Encrypt a copy
- Encrypt copy to .EXE
- Clear Passphrase Memory
- Shred and Delete
I will explain what each option will do in the following table:
|Encrypt||This will encrypt selected file/folder|
|Decrypt||This will decrypt selected file/folder|
|Encrypt copy to .EXE||This option will allow us to encrypt selected file/folder to an .EXE file , this allow us to move our encrypted file and open it in another computer which do not have ‘AxCrypt’ already installed in it.|
|Clear Passphrase Memory||Clear past entered passwords from memory|
|Shred and Delete||Allow us to overwrite the selected file/folder memory location and delete it permanently from system, this makes recovering this file/folder near impossible for most forensic tools available. (More on Disk wiping on ‘secure deletion’ section|
|About||Information about software version and its authors|
|Language||Here you can select from a set of languages to change program interface|
Now, we return to our work, in order to encrypt the file we should select ‘Encrypt’ from the right menu as appears in the last picture, the password window appears as follow
We must enter a password and verify it again; we can also choose to use a keyfile.
Tip on selecting passwords:
Always choose a password which is difficult to guess or even to remember! , the password should contains both small and capital letters, symbols and numbers and it should not be less that 20 characters. You can read more about selecting secure passwords from | http://www.darknessgate.com/knowledge-base/perfect-pssw0rd/
If we select to use a ‘keyfile’ in addition to password (passphrase), the following window pop up
The above window warn the user that using a ‘keyfile’ in addition to password is more secure, however, he needs to keep this file in a save location, because if he lost his keyfile he will not be able to recover his data at all. In my case I select to use a keyfile by pressing the “OK” button, the new generated ‘keyfile’ will be a text file.
AxCrypt will warn the user if he select to save his ‘keyfile’ on a none removable media as appears in the above screen.
Random data will be generated for each key , do not modify this data, because this will render your ‘keyfile’ inoperable.
For our example, I will not use a ‘keyfile’, enter the password and click ‘Ok’.
The file will be encrypted and its extension will be changed to .axx
We have encrypted our ThunderWeaver.txt file as appears in the figure above.
Now, to decrypt our file again, right click above our encrypted file and select ‘Decrypt’ as appear in next capture:
The password window appears, enter your password and select your ‘Keyfile’ also if you have previously selected to encrypt your file using both passphrase & ‘keyfile’.
Enter your password and hit ‘Ok’, your file will be decrypted to its original state as appears in the screen below.
If we select to ‘Encrypt to .EXE ‘ , a new file will be generated with .EXE extension in the same working directory , the size of the file will be greater than the original one (in about 230 K.B) , the benefit of this option it will allow us to open the encrypted file on a PC that does not have AxCrypt installed on it.
If I move this encrypted file with .exe extension to another computer (Win XP SP2 in our example) which does not have AxCrypt installed on it and double click on it, the following window will appear:
Enter your password and click ‘Ok’
File will be decrypted and extracted to the current working directory.
Portable Version of AxCrypt:
Additional two separate versions of this program exists, one for encrypting and second for decryption , these tools could be used without installation, ideal for usage within a USB flash memory.
AxCrypt2Go.exe allow us to select file to encrypt:
AxDecrypt.exe allow us to select a file to decrypt:
Download AxCrypt from here (3.24 M.B)