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Newbie: How do I "know" my files are encrypted & how to move encrypted files to Google Drive

Topics: Users Discussion
Apr 10, 2015 at 8:31 PM
I'm a newbie to encryption - many heartfelt thanks to idrassi for his labor (& countless hours) of love and to all the others who support VeraCrypt - thank you!

First, the beginner tutorial for setting up VeraCrypt is excellent. Over the past 2 weeks I've played with my volume(s), moving files, working with files, etc, in the mounted volume(s). I fully understand files are encrypted/decrypted in RAM on the fly, thus I always see "normal" files, not "garbage". Question: how do I "KNOW" my files are encrypted when all I see are "normal" files? I'd like to know how to export an encrypted file and prove to myself the file truly is encrypted.

Second, I've studied this discussion board & documentation but haven't figured out how to get encrypted files moved to Google Drive. I know it can be done because of this prior post:

I've tried moving my mounted volume to GD but the test files are in plain unencrypted format - I'm not doing something right...

Thanks to all for helping a newbie!
Apr 10, 2015 at 11:25 PM
Hello Don,

TrueCrypt and VeraCrypt are disk encryption utilities that allow you to encrypt an entire disk, a disk partition or virtual disk called file container. The generic term used is disk volume.

Hence, your files are encrypted within the volume. When you dismount the volume, the files are locked-up in the volume encrypted. You cannot extract files within the dismounted volume to export as encrypted files. And when the volume is mounted, per the design of on-the-fly encryption/decryption will prevent copying the files in the volume as encrypted files to a target drive like Google Drive.

There are hex editors that can confirm that once the volume is unmounted that the data is encrypted. Be careful not to make any changes using the hex editor to the volume or you will corrupt the data or prevent the volume from being mounted in VeraCrypt.

Help this helps explain at a high level the difference between VeraCrypt and other utilities that encrypt selected files but not the disk.

Apr 11, 2015 at 4:15 PM
Thank you! I foresee the loss of my laptop in an unsettled part of the world so VeraCrypt works great for that context. However, I'm still looking for a solution to encrypting files in Google Drive and/or Dropbox. For uploading/encrypting individual files to Google Drive, I've run across Boxcryptor. Would appreciate any other suggestions/comments from the VC community on other possible alternatives for my second context. Thanks again!
May 25, 2015 at 10:20 PM
You don't really need Boxcryptor or really any thirdparty software aside from TC/VC and the installed client version of your cloud provider. I very strongly suggest to make use of this software and not upload/download manually through a web browser interface.

If you do this, technically, the container file (or any other cloud synced file) exists in two locations and states in the same time. It resides on the providers disks and it is stored on your hard drive, in the appropriate folder (GDrive folder, Dropbox folder, OneDrive folder, etc.)

Now, what you do when you mount a container volume on your computer is no different whether it is on the cloud or not. TC/VC open the file on your hard disk, assign a drive letter to it and you are good to go. Only after you are done and chose to dismount there is a difference. On a normal computer the file would be dismounted and be left alone until the next mount. On the case of a volume container file in any of the mentioned cloud providers folders, the cloud client notices a change of the file contents via the "last modified" time stamp and starts to sync the file.

Unfortunately, as it stands today this means that the ENTIRE file has to be uploaded again, at least for GDrive and OneDrive. Dropbox however has something called block level sync, which means that it will have much less data transfer needed to replicate the file on the cloud servers. I.E. if you have a 2GB volume, and you open it and copy a 100MB file into it, Dropbox will only have to transfer 100MB and some change, while most other providers will require you to upload the whole 2GB again.

Depending on where you are in the world and how well bandwidth infrastructure is in that area this may or not be a deal breaker (or rather a strong pointer indicating that Dropbox is the way to go if you're on a tight data volume budget)