Beginner's Tutorial

System Encryption

 Supported Systems

 Hidden Operating System

 Rescue Disk

Plausible Deniability

 Hidden Volume

  Protection of Hidden Vol.

  Security Requirements

 Hidden Operating System



Hardware Acceleration

Encryption Algorithms





Hash Algorithms




Technical Details


 Encryption Scheme

 Modes of Operation

 Header Key Derivation

 Random Number Gen.


 Volume Format Spec.

 Standards Compliance

 Source Code

TrueCrypt Volume

 Creating New Volumes

 Favorite Volumes

 System Favorite Volumes

Main Program Window

 Program Menu

 Mounting Volumes

Supported Systems

Portable Mode


Tokens & Smart Cards

Language Packs

Hot Keys

Security Model

Security Requirements

 Data Leaks

  Paging File

  Hibernation File

  Memory Dump Files

 Unencrypted Data in RAM

 Physical Security


 Multi-User Environment

 Authenticity and Integrity

 New Passwords & Keyfiles

 Password/Keyfile Change

 Trim Operation


 Reallocated Sectors


 Journaling File Systems

 Volume Clones

 Additional Requirements

Command Line Usage

Backing Up Securely


 Use Without Admin Rights

 Sharing over Network

 Background Task

 Removable Medium Vol.

 TrueCrypt System Files

 Removing Encryption

 Uninstalling TrueCrypt

 Digital Signatures



Issues and Limitations


Future Development


Version History



Portable Mode Search


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Portable Mode

TrueCrypt can run in so-called portable mode, which means that it does not have to be installed on the operating system under which it is run. However, there are two things to keep in mind:

  • You need administrator privileges in order to be able to run TrueCrypt in portable mode (for the reasons, see the chapter Using TrueCrypt Without Administrator Privileges).

    Note: No matter what kind of software you use, as regards personal privacy in most cases, it is not secure to work with sensitive data under systems where you do not have administrator privileges, as the administrator can easily capture and copy your sensitive data, including passwords and keys.

  • After examining the registry file, it may be possible to tell that TrueCrypt was run (and that a TrueCrypt volume was mounted) on a Windows system even if it had been run in portable mode.

Note: If that is a problem, see this question in the FAQ for a possible solution.

There are two ways to run TrueCrypt in portable mode:

  • After you extract files from the TrueCrypt self-extracting package, you can directly run TrueCrypt.exe.

    Note: To extract files from the TrueCrypt self-extracting package, run it, and then select Extract (instead of Install) on the second page of the TrueCrypt Setup wizard.

  • You can use the Traveler Disk Setup facility to prepare a special traveler disk and launch TrueCrypt from there.

The second option has several advantages, which are described in the following sections in this chapter.

Note: When running in portable mode, the TrueCrypt driver is unloaded when it is no longer needed (e.g., when all instances of the main application and/or of the Volume Creation Wizard are closed and no TrueCrypt volumes are mounted). However, if you force dismount on a TrueCrypt volume when TrueCrypt runs in portable mode, or mount a writable NTFS-formatted volume on Windows Vista or later, the TrueCrypt driver may not be unloaded when you exit TrueCrypt (it will be unloaded only when you shut down or restart the system). This prevents various problems caused by a bug in Windows (for instance, it would be impossible to start TrueCrypt again as long as there are applications using the dismounted volume).

Tools -> Traveler Disk Setup

You can use this facility to prepare a special traveler disk and launch TrueCrypt from there. Note that TrueCrypt 'traveler disk' is not a TrueCrypt volume but an unencrypted volume. A 'traveler disk' contains TrueCrypt executable files and optionally the 'autorun.inf' script (see the section AutoRun Configuration below). After you select Tools -> Traveler Disk Setup, the Traveler Disk Setup dialog box should appear. Some of the parameters that can be set within the dialog deserve further explanation:

Include TrueCrypt Volume Creation Wizard

Check this option, if you need to create new TrueCrypt volumes using TrueCrypt run from the traveler disk you will create. Unchecking this option saves space on the traveler disk.

AutoRun Configuration (autorun.inf)

In this section, you can configure the 'traveler disk' to automatically start TrueCrypt or mount a specified TrueCrypt volume when the 'traveler disk' is inserted. This is accomplished by creating a special script file called 'autorun.inf' on the traveler disk. This file is automatically executed by the operating system each time the 'traveler disk' is inserted.

Note, however, that this feature only works for removable storage devices such as CD/DVD (Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, or a later version of Windows is required for this feature to work on USB memory sticks) and only when it is enabled in the operating system. Depending on the operating system configuration, these auto-run and auto-mount features may work only when the traveler disk files are created on a non-writable CD/DVD-like medium (which is not a bug in TrueCrypt but a limitation of Windows).

Also note that the 'autorun.inf' file must be in the root directory (i.e., for example G:\, X:\, or Y:\ etc.) of an unencrypted disk in order for this feature to work.

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   See also: Using TrueCrypt without Administrator Privileges

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