I would like to encrypt a few of my external hard drives (from 400GB to 1TB) that I connect to my machines via USB. I have never done this before, so I'd like to ask for advice on how to go about this.
These hard drives have family photos on them (no state secrets or anything illegal), and my main motivation is to protect my privacy, should I ever be burgled. So the encryption doesn't necessarily have to be industrial strength, just something for reasonable personal security.
I have searched around to see what kind of free solutions are out there. My PCs are running Win7 (Home and Pro). The online advice I came across so far I found somewhat confusing. E.g. some people said to use BitLocker, but for some reason my Windows 7 installations don't have BitLocker. The only thing I can find in my Win 7 Pro machine is called "Encrypting File System (EFS)
." But it looks like it doesn't work on Win7 Home, so it would be a hassle to try to use an encrypted drive on both Pro and Home.
Any suggestions for a relatively hassle-free encryption solution for external hard drives for personal use that would work with both Win7 Home and Pro? Or does it mean that an external hard drive would only work with the machine that encrypted it? Sorry, I'm really clueless about how this is supposed to work. Ideally I'd like to be able to use such an encrypted hard drive across several machines using Win7 Home and Pro.
P.S. I'm also a bit worried about encrypting my drives and then losing the encryption keys or messing things up some other ways. It would be just as much of a disaster if I permanently lost access to our family photos by making the drives inaccessible. So what I'm saying is I need an idiot-proof solution.
P.P.S. It seems that since the Snowden revelations there are not many solutions out there that are generally trusted.