Beginner’s Tutorial How to Create and Use a CipherShed Container This chapter contains step-by-step instructions on how to create, mount, and use a CipherShed volume. We strongly recommend that you also read the other sections of this manual, as they contain important information.
The main CipherShed window should appear. Click Create Volume (marked with a red rectangle for clarity).
The CipherShed Volume Creation Wizard window should appear. In this step you need to choose where you wish the CipherShed volume to be created. A CipherShed volume can reside in a file, which is also called container, in a partition or drive. In this tutorial, we will choose the first option and create a CipherShed volume within a file. As the option is selected by default, you can just click Next. Note: In the following steps, the screenshots will show only the right-hand part of the Wizard window.
In this step you need to choose whether to create a standard or hidden CipherShed volume. In this tutorial, we will choose the former option and create a standard CipherShed volume. As the option is selected by default, you can just click Next.
In this step you have to specify where you wish the CipherShed volume (file container) to be created. Note that a CipherShed container is just like any normal file. It can be, for example, moved or deleted as any normal file. It also needs a filename, which you will choose in the next step. Click Select File. The standard Windows file selector should appear (while the window of the CipherShed Volume Creation Wizard remains open in the background).
In this tutorial, we will create our CipherShed volume in the folder D:\My Documents\ and the filename of the volume (container) will be My Volume (as can be seen in the screenshot above). You may, of course, choose any other filename and location you like (for example, on a USB memory stick). Note that the file My Volume does not exist yet – CipherShed will create it. IMPORTANT: Note that CipherShed will not encrypt any existing files (when creating a CipherShed file container). If you select an existing file in this step, it will be overwritten and replaced by the newly created volume (so the overwritten file will be lost, not encrypted). You will be able to encrypt existing files (later on) by moving them to the CipherShed volume that we are creating now. Select the desired path (where you wish the container to be created) in the file selector. Type the desired container filename in the File name box. Click Save. The file selector window should disappear. In the following steps, we will return to the CipherShed Volume Creation Wizard.
In the Volume Creation Wizard window, click Next.
Here you can choose an encryption algorithm and a hash algorithm for the volume. If you are not sure what to select here, you can use the default settings and click Next (for more information, see chapters Encryption Algorithms and Hash Algorithms).
Here we specify that we wish the size of our CipherShed container to be 1 megabyte. You may, of course, specify a different size. After you type the desired size in the input field (marked with a red rectangle), click Next.
This is one of the most important steps. Here you have to choose a good volume password. Read carefully the information displayed in the Wizard window about what is considered a good password. After you choose a good password, type it in the first input field. Then re-type it in the input field below the first one and click Next. Note: The button Next will be disabled until passwords in both input fields are the same.
Move your mouse as randomly as possible within the Volume Creation Wizard window at least for 30 seconds. The longer you move the mouse, the better. This significantly increases the cryptographic strength of the encryption keys (which increases security). Click Format. Volume creation should begin. CipherShed will now create a file called My Volume in the folder D:\My Documents\ (as we specified in Step 6). This file will be a CipherShed container (it will contain the encrypted CipherShed volume). Depending on the size of the volume, the volume creation may take a long time. After it finishes, the following dialog box will appear:
Click OK to close the dialog box.
We have just successfully created a CipherShed volume (file container). In the CipherShed Volume Creation Wizard window, click Exit. The Wizard window should disappear. In the remaining steps, we will mount the volume we just created. We will return to the main CipherShed window (which should still be open, but if it is not, repeat Step 1: to launch CipherShed and then continue from Step 13:.)
Select a drive letter from the list (marked with a red rectangle). This will be the drive letter to which the CipherShed container will be mounted. Note: In this tutorial, we chose the drive letter M, but you may of course choose any other available drive letter.
Click Select File. The standard file selector window should appear.
In the file selector, browse to the container file (which we created in Steps 6-11) and select it. Click Open (in the file selector window). The file selector window should disappear. In the following steps, we will return to the main CipherShed window.
In the main CipherShed window, click Mount. Password prompt dialog window should appear.
Type the password (which you specified in Step 10:) in the password input field (marked with a red rectangle).
Click OK in the password prompt window. CipherShed will now attempt to mount the volume. If the password is incorrect (for example, if you typed it incorrectly), CipherShed will notify you and you will need to repeat the previous step (type the password again and click OK). If the password is correct, the volume will be mounted.
We have just successfully mounted the container as a virtual disk M: The virtual disk is entirely encrypted (including file names, allocation tables, free space, etc.) and behaves like a real disk. You can save (or copy, move, etc.) files to this virtual disk and they will be encrypted on the fly as they are being written. If you open a file stored on a CipherShed volume, for example, in media player, the file will be automatically decrypted to RAM (memory) on the fly while it is being read. Important: Note that when you open a file stored on a CipherShed volume (or when you write/copy a file to/from the CipherShed volume) you will not be asked to enter the password again. You need to enter the correct password only when mounting the volume. You can open the mounted volume, for example, by double-clicking the item marked with a red rectangle in the screenshot above. You can also browse to the mounted volume the way you normally browse to any other types of volumes. For example, by opening the ‘Computer’ (or ‘My Computer’) list and double clicking the corresponding drive letter (in this case, it is the letter M). You can copy files (or folders) to and from the CipherShed volume just as you would copy them to any normal disk (for example, by simple drag-and-drop operations). Files that are being read or copied from the encrypted CipherShed volume are automatically decrypted on the fly in RAM (memory). Similarly, files that are being written or copied to the CipherShed volume are automatically encrypted on the fly in RAM (right before they are written to the disk). Note that CipherShed never saves any decrypted data to a disk – it only stores them temporarily in RAM (memory). Even when the volume is mounted, data stored in the volume is still encrypted. When you restart Windows or turn off your computer, the volume will be dismounted and all files stored on it will be inaccessible (and encrypted). Even when power supply is suddenly interrupted (without proper system shut down), all files stored on the volume will be inaccessible (and encrypted). To make them accessible again, you have to mount the volume. To do so, repeat Step 13:-Step 18:.
If you want to close the volume and make files stored on it inaccessible, either restart your operating system or dismount the volume. To do so, follow these steps: Select the volume from the list of mounted volumes in the main CipherShed window (marked with a red rectangle in the screenshot above) and then click Dismount (also marked with a red rectangle in the screenshot above). To make files stored on the volume accessible again, you will have to mount the volume. To do so, repeat Step 13:-Step 18:. How to Create and Use a CipherShed-Encrypted Partition/Device Instead of creating file containers, you can also encrypt physical partitions or drives (i.e., create CipherShed device-hosted volumes). To do so, repeat the Step 1:-3 but in the Step 3: select the second or third option. Then follow the remaining instructions in the wizard. When you create a device-hosted CipherShed volume within a non-system partition/drive, you can mount it by clicking Auto-Mount Devices in the main CipherShed window. For information pertaining to encrypted system partition/drives, see the chapter System Encryption. Important: We strongly recommend that you also read the other chapters of this manual, as they contain important information that has been omitted in this tutorial for simplicity.