Safe One, from Steganos, is a freeware application that converts part of your hard drive into a secure partition, only accessible when the right password is entered.

Data security has become a major feature of network and computing safety in recent times, especially with some high-profile blunders in the public domain. While encryption is provided with a number of products, whereby data is scrambled and can only be recovered using the appropriate key (or password), many users do not employ it because freely available alternatives can be complex to use.

Safe One, from Steganos, is a freeware application that converts part of your hard drive into a secure partition, only accessible when the right password is entered. Encryption is provided via the reliable and widely used 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which the US Government considered suitable for non-classified information. Theoretically it is breakable, but current levels of technology make that unlikely.

This won't be your primary concern with Steganos Safe One, however.

Assuming that you have generated a secure password (and there is a password generator to help with this, or even the innovative PicPass, which allows access by matching up a sequence of pictures), the files can simply be dragged and dropped into Steganos Safe One's virtual drive.

If Steganos Safe One is not running, the drive is not even visible, making it even harder for casual users to locate your data.

The virtual drive could be located on an external hard disk, and if you are concerned about remembering your password, this in turn can be stored on a USB device. So far, so good, and Steganos Safe One is extremely easy to use. However, there is one down side: the freeware product is limited to two 1GB virtual drives, which will limit its usefulness to some.

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Steganos Safe One: Specs

  • 200MHz processor
  • Windows XP/Vista
  • 256MB RAM
  • 100MB disk space
  • 200MHz processor
  • Windows XP/Vista
  • 256MB RAM
  • 100MB disk space

OUR VERDICT

Bearing in mind the size limitation, if you have no encryption software installed on your PC Steganos Safe One's very simplicity makes it a good choice, allowing users to drag-and-drop files into protected areas. What's more, as it is free you have nothing to lose. If security is important to you, however, you will want to upgrade to Steganos Safe 2008 which enables you to create as many encrypted drives as you wish, each up to 256GB in size.

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