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Apparent contradiction in documentation

Topics: Technical Issues, Users Discussion
Aug 27, 2016 at 3:00 AM
In the FAQ it states
"Will I be able to mount my VeraCrypt volume (container) on any computer?
Yes, VeraCrypt volumes are independent of the operating system. You will be able to mount your VeraCrypt volume on any computer on which you can run VeraCrypt (see also the question 'Can I use VeraCrypt on Windows if I do not have administrator privileges?')."

However, during the creation of an encrypted volume, Veracrypt demands that you select an option "I will mount the volume on other platforms" versus "I will only mount the volume on .."
(At least this is the case on OS X and Linux. I don't know about Windows.)

There is no discussion of the advantages/disadvantages of the options. I assume there must be a disadvantage to making the volume readable on other platforms, since otherwise there would be no point in having the option not to.
Sep 6, 2016 at 9:39 PM
Edited Sep 6, 2016 at 9:43 PM
If you don't care about using the volume in other environments, you can choose whatever
filesystem you like. If you DO care about that, most systems can read any of the standard
FATs, but most Windows systems can't read an extN and most 'nixes can't read NTFS, so
you might want to avoid those. Of course, if those other systems are owned by you or if you
have permission to install file system drivers you can certainly install software on nixes to use
NTFS and I'm pretty sure extN drivers are available for Windows. In both cases, I think
reading and writing data will be no problem but the permissions won't be handled correctly.
Normally this is not important. I only ran into it once trying to install something on a 'nix from
a tar that was on an NTFS and got weird results because when I extracted it the rwx perms
weren't as expected.

So if you are planning to carry the crypt around along with a portable copy of VC on a thumb
drive and want to be able to access it somewhere where you won't have administrative rights
and you don't know what will be installed there and make the least assumptions, stick with the
FAT. If you want to use a hidden volume, stick with a FAT.
If you NEED some of the characteristics of more modern filesystems use NTFS if you want
to be sure of being able to get to it with Windows systems and are willing to take chances on
access from strange nix systems or an extN if the other way around. AFAIK those are the only
considerations

And just to be clear, this isn't a VC issue per se. It is a Windoze vs. nix issue. Technically, I suppose
Windows VC can decrypt a crypt made with an ext3 filesystem, for example. But Windows itself
wouldn't know how to read the filesystem unless someone has installed extN drivers, for example.
Sep 12, 2016 at 10:28 PM
Perhaps the documentation would be clearer if it said "open" instead of "mount" in "Will I be able to mount my VeraCrypt volume (container) on any computer?".

"Open" means that after providing a correct password (and PIM and keyfile if needed) the Operating System is able to read the unencrypted version of the contents of the file/volume, and it is true that this can be done on any Operating System running VeraCrypt.

On the other hand, "mount" means that after opening the volume, the Operating System actually knows how to deal with that unencrypted data, and so, for example, trying to mount an ext4 (Linux) formatted volume on Windows would result in veracrypt succesfully opening it and then throwing an error because after looking at its contents, Windows would not know how to mount it.