The great thing about today's nearly universal connectivity is how easy it is to share information, pictures and other material with your business associates, friends and family. The bad thing about it is how easy it is for strangers to get access to your data. This is especially true when we carry so much on our USB flash drives, DVDs, laptops and other portable media. SafeHouse Explorer (free) can secure your data on all media, protecting it from unwanted prying eyes.
SafeHouse installs its own Explorer on any drive or media you indicate. The SafeHouse Explorer uses Windows Explorer's' familiar branching tree structure and drag-and-drop functionality. However, the folders (a.k.a. volumes) you create in SafeHouse Explorer are password-protected and use 256-bit Twofish encryption. (For stronger 48-bit encryption, you'll need to purchase the $60 Professional Edition.)
When creating a new volume, you have the option of having it filled with random data to make it harder to break into. However, that isn't recommended if you intend to e-mail it, because that will make it more difficult to compress the volume to a smaller size. Then, you copy or move your files to the volume, which can be as large as 2,000 gigabytes and is seen as a separate drive letter on both Windows and SafeHouse Explorer. The option of a Secure Move completely destroys the original data (after copying it to the SafeHouse volume), by overwriting it with random data, before deleting. In that way, you have access to the secured information, but hackers can't use any of the various recover schemes to extract your data from its original location on your drive.
When SafeHouse Explorer is installed on portable media, such as a USB flash drive, the data can be accessed on any computer into which the media are plugged, without SafeHouse having to be installed on the PC. But it doesn't leave any trail of that data on the hosting computer. What's more, you can easily email secured volumes, and the recipient will be able to open the files--after you supply the password--without installing any software on their systems. While the basics of SafeHouse Explorer are familiar and straightforward, the support is better than many pricey, much more complicated programs. On installation, you are given the option to go directly to a series of helpful online videos on how the program works.
SafeHouse also comes in a Personal Edition ($30) or the abovementioned Professional Edition, both of which add more functions and features, for greater protection and more convenience. However, the free version provides good basic security on its own for most average users.