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How to Secure Evernote on a Shared Computer

This article has been updated in a newer post, How to Password-Protect Evernote, which shows an easier way to open an encrypted version of Evernote with a simple desktop shortcut.

Secure Evernote with True Crypt Do you want to keep your Evernote data secure on a less-than-private computer?  Right now there is no "built in" way to secure your Evernote data, aside from using your operating system’s user account features to set Evernote to be available only to certain user accounts on a machine.  Fortunately, there are third party solutions which are even more secure.  One such solution is to pair Everote with a third party program like TrueCrypt, so that your Evernote data is encrypted and protected from prying eyes.


TrueCrypt is a free open-source disk encryption program, and is available on Windows Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.  TrueCrypt can be used a few different ways to encrypt data, such as encrypting an entire drive, encrypting a partition, or creating a virtual encrypted disk.  This post will focus on using Evernote along with a virtual encrypted disk created by TrueCrypt.


Step 1  – Create a TrueCrypt container

True Crypt container creation Follow the instructions in the TrueCrypt Beginner’s Tutorial to download TrueCrypt and create a TrueCrypt Container.  This tutorial is excellent, and will walk you through these steps with easy-to-follow screenshots in more detail than I could cover here.  Think of a TrueCrypt container to be like a file that sits on your drive, doing nothing, until you tell TrueCrypt to transform it into a "make believe" drive, onto which you can store data just like you would with any other drive.  When you’re done with your session, you tell TrueCrypt to "unmount" this make-believe drive, which transforms it back into a file.  This file is just like any other file, and can be moved, copied, and deleted.  The difference is that it is encrypted, and is worthless without the password that you set when creating it.

There is one important point to remember when creating the container.  Specifically, you will need to decide on a file size for your container.  To decide on the size, take a look at the size of your Evernote database, and then add in some room for growth.  In the Windows 3.1 version of Evernote, you can view your database size by clicking on Tools > Account Properties, and then selecting the Database tab.  You may also want to allow extra room if you want to save data other than Evernote data to your container.


Step 2 – Mount your TrueCrypt container


If you followed the Tutorial step-by-step, you will have already mounted the container, but if not, make sure your Container is Mounted using steps 13 through 18 of the tutorial.  Take note of the drive letter you use, as you will need this when configuring Evernote in the next step.  Also, you should hereafter ALWAYS mount your TrueCrypt container to that drive letter, since that is the location to which Evernote will look for its database.


Step 3 – Configure Evernote

evernoteoptions Once your TrueCrypt Container is created, it is time to configure Evernote.  If Evernote is already installed on your machine, you will need to move the database onto the virtual drive you created in Step 2 (i.e. where you mounted your container).  In the current Windows version of Evernote, you can do this by selecting Tools > Options, and then clicking on the "Change . . ." button in the General tab.  After clicking this button, simply navigate to and select the desired location on your virtual drive.  If you’re installing Evernote for the first time, you can install Evernote with the default settings, and then relocate your database file as noted above.


Step 4 – Clean up when finished

When you’re done using Evernote, exit Evernote first, and then unmount the virtual drive that you created.  You’ll find the "unmount" option if you right-click on the TrueCrypt icon in your task bar.


One thing I haven’t tried is starting Evernote prior to mounting the container, to see if that creates any havoc (because Evernote won’t be able to find the database).  To avoid problems, and to remind myself to mount the drive first (Step 2, above), I’ve nested the Evernote start menu icon in a submenu of the True Crypt start menu folder, so that I have to see the True Crypt folder before starting Evernote.


Are any of you securing your Evernote data?  If so, how?