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AxCrypt -- File Encryption For Windows

Windows 7 Home Premium does not include file level encryption. This is limited to the more expensive (Professional and up) versions of Windows 7. While there are a number of freeware file encryption programs, I wanted one that worked as an Explorer extension for convenience and had both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. After looking around a bit, I discovered that Windows 7 and 64-bit support was still fairly rare. Fortunately, one of the better file encryption program, AxCrypt, had a beta version with Windows 7 and 64-bit support.

Major Features:

* Right-click integration with Windows Explorer makes AxCrypt the easiest way to encrypt individual files in Windows.

* Double-click integration makes it as easy to open, edit and save encrypted files as it is to work with unencrypted files.

* No configuration required, just install it and use it.

* AxCrypt encrypts files that are safely and easily sent to other users via e-mail or any other means. Self-decrypting files are also supported, removing the need to install AxCrypt to decrypt.

* AxCrypt is translated into English, Danish, Swedish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Spanish, French, Italian and Norwegian so chances are it speaks your preferred language.

All Features

* Windows XP/Vista/2008/Windows 7 compatible, including 64-bit.
* AES encryption with 128-bit keys.
* Edit an encrypted document directly with double-click.
* Optional pass phrase cache - type pass phrases once per logon and/or reboot.
* Automatic pass phrase validation before decryption or editing.
* Key-File generation and support.
* No options or user interface - easy to install and use.
* Relatively light-weight, less than 1Mb download
* Extensive command-line interface.
* Server mode options.
* Huge file support > 4GB (on Windows NT/2K/XP).
* Dynamic brute force counter measure - iterative key wrapping.
* Integrates well with web based file sharing services.
* Selective compression before encryption - faster downloads/uploads.
* Retains original file name and information of an encrypted file.
* Integrated shredder.
* Shredding of all temporary and encrypted plaintext files.
* Secure memory handling - no keys or data in the paging file.
* Industry standard algorithms.
* Data integrity verification - no undetected modification.
* Unique data encryption keys used for every file and (re-)encryption.
* Polyglot - currently speaks English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian and Swedish.
* Easy to add more languages - contact me (I'm especially looking for Nordic languages)!
* Open source - no backdoors.
* Private branding support for commercial or corporate versions.
* It's FREE!

AxCrypt just works. Right click a file in Explorer and the AXCrypt submenu allows you to encrypt or decrypt it, among other options. You encrypt files with a pass phrase (which you can set to be remembered until you reboot or logout if you wish). While encrypted files have an .axx extension, double-clicking on them in Explorer still opens them in their original application. When you save from the application, the update file is automatically re-encrypted. AxCrypt just lets you do your work without getting in the way. Two warnings, however. First, if you forget your pass phrase, there is no "backdoor" in the program to allow you to recover your encrypted files. Second, as of this posting, the 1.7 version that works with Windows 7 and 64-bit versions of Windows is in beta. While I haven't discovered any data-eating bugs in the beta version, there could be some.

While AxCrypt is not quite as convenient as the built-in file encryption of the more expensive professional and ultimate versions of Windows, it seems quite good enough for the average user who only needs to keep a few files of financial and other personal data encrypted.

Rating: 4.0
Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/2008/Windows 7 compatible, including 64-bit
License: Freeware
Price: Free
Version Tested: 1.7.1970.0 Beta
Web Site: http://www.axantum.com/axCrypt/

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Blog | by Dr. Radut