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Copying NTFS VeraCrypt file container to exFAT USB flash drive

Topics: Technical Issues
Dec 7, 2015 at 12:31 AM
I have about twenty 4.3GB VeraCrypt file containers on my Win 7 NTFS hard drives to which I add and delete files on a daily basis. These containers are easy to burn to DVD+RW for backup.

What about USB flash drives formatted with exFAT? Is it possible to just drag and drop an unmounted VC file container to a USB flash drive for backup purposes? Or is it absolutely necessary to create a new container on the USB flash drive? Do I need to format my flash drive to exFAT or NTFS?
Dec 7, 2015 at 1:22 AM
Edited Dec 7, 2015 at 1:22 AM
Hi Cassandra,

CassandraC wrote:
What about USB flash drives formatted with exFAT? Is it possible to just drag and drop an unmounted VC file container to a USB flash drive for backup purposes?
Sure can. You can even mount the containers while they are on the USB drive.
Or is it absolutely necessary to create a new container on the USB flash drive?
You don't need to create a container on your USB drive to hold the container you're backing up. You can just copy it over.

Now, there is a catch with USB. Because of the way flash drives work, it's a bit harder to ensure that old copies of old files aren't lingering around on them. This means that if you ever change the password on your containers because you feel your old password has been compromised, and if you then put the container on a USB drive that once held the old password, it's possible that the old header encrypted with the old password could be lingering on the USB drive.

So, to sum up, a USB stick is a great way to store a container. But if you ever feel the password has been compromised, then the safest thing to do is destroy the USB drives and use new ones.

If you're interested in all the technical reasons for this, let me know and I'll expand on this.
Do I need to format my flash drive to exFAT or NTFS?
That's mostly a matter of preference. I, myself, am not a huge fan of exFAT. It's too proprietary - Microsoft has tried to burden it with patents to slow its adoption outside of Microsoft unless you "license" the technology.
Dec 7, 2015 at 2:48 AM
This is marvelous info, and answers all my questions. I will be able to make much more frequent backups of all my containers because a USB 3.0 flash drive is a lot faster than DVD+RW, and a lot more convenient.

Thank you for the warning about compromised passwords and lingering headers: noted. At what flash drives cost today, a new one won't be a horrible financial burden. I have to admit that is one glaring security fault with solid state memory, be it in flash drives or SSDs: you can't shred or erase individual files or folders like you can on a spinning hard disk.

So exFAT or NTFS is a toss up... exFAT is non-journaling, while NTFS (journaling) takes up more space yet can sort of fix minor file corruption, from what I know. After having dealt with tens of thousands of .chk files from the (bad old) Win 95 FAT32 days, I think I'll go with NTFS!

Thank you so much.