If you are a seasoned Windows/Mac user, you probably already know that TrueCrypt is the most well-known free disk encryption program for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, but TrueCrypt has some inherent and significant drawbacks, for example, it doesn’t allow to expand or shrink the partition/volume/container.
KACE Virtual Disk Utility( Dell acquired KACE a year ago ), is a free, lightweight, easy to use and flexible virtual disk freeware. It lets users create a virtual disk which stores all your files and folders, the virtual disk itself is a single file, and the file system of the mounted virtual disk is platform neutral which is called “KACE Virtual Disk”, it’s not NTFS / FAT16 / FAT32 / ext2 / ext3 / ext4 / hfs / hfs+ / jfs / linux-swap / reiserfs / reiser4 / xfs, this gives you the ability to mount the same file as a virtual disk on both Windows OS and Mac OS X.
During the new virtual disk creating process, it gives you the option to enable encryption, KACE has not documented which the encryption algorithm is used, but when I opened the executable file “VirtualDiskService.exe” with Hxd – an excellent free large text file viewer & hexadecimal editor, I found the string “AES128″.
The size of the virtual disk does not need to be specified, after you’ve created a virtual disk, no formatting operation is needed, this is obvious different to TrueCrypt. A virtual disk uses the available space on a regular system disk where the .kvd file resides, and increases the capability of the disk dynamically as new files are added and vice versa..
- No learning curve, it’s simple to install and operate.
- Cross-platform, Mac and Windows versions available, and you can use the same host file which the virtual disk resides on in Mac and Windows.
- No defragment needed, virtual disks automatically self-compact when they’re dismounted.
- Automatically expand and shrink virtual disks.
- Industrial standard 128 bit AES encryption.
- On the fly encryption and decryption.
- Windows 64bit native installation available.
Conclusion: KACE Virtual Disk Utility is a competitive alternative to TrueCrypt.
During the installation process on Windows 7, it may pop up a dialog saying “The installer has insufficient privileges to modify this file: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\KACE\Virtual Disk Utility.lnk”, you can take the ownership of the directory “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\” and create a new folder named “KACE” under it manually to solve this issue.
System Requirements: Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or Mac OS 10.5 or later.