Tag Archives: TrueCrypt

Lotus Notes from a TrueCrypt volume on a USB disk

Starting with version 7.0.2, IBM developed an installation method for Lotus Notes they call NOMAD. See the IBM developerWorks document here.

I tried it and it works, even within a TrueCrypt volume on a USB disk. It’s not a PortableApps package, but it is usable.

NOMAD will take 350 to 500meg of disk space.  To install NOMAD, you will have to open a command prompt window and go into the folder where you expanded the Lotus Notes client, c1652en for version 7.0.3. Type the following command:

setup /a /v"NOMAD=1 TARGETDIR=F:\ /qb+"

IMPORTANT:

  • This will overwrite the AUTORUN.INF on your USB or in your TrueCrypt volume, so make a backup copy before starting!
  • F:\ is the drive letter to install to. This will need to be consistent because NOMAD will expect to run from this drive letter every time.
  • Type the command as-is (other than changing the drive letter) and don’t forget any “.

This will create the following files and folders on your USB:

  • AUTORUN.EXE
  • AUTORUN.INF
  • AUTORUN.INI (contains reference to drive letter, if you need to change it after running setup)
  • Lotus Notes 7.0.3.msi
  • program files folder
  • system32 folder

To launch Lotus Notes, double click on the AUTORUN.EXE.  AUTORUN will then perform a “mini-install” and copy the appropriate files to your hard drive, create a shortcut on your desktop then Launch the Notes client.

Exiting Notes will NOT remove the Notes Client files.  Make sure you right-click (from Explorer) on the USB drive Icon and select “Eject”.  This will perform the “mini-uninstall”, then allow you to remove the USB drive.  If you are running from a TrueCrypt volume, dismounting the TrueCrypt volume will trigger the same events.

Chris Whisonant provides some additional information, along with some tips on what to delete after running setup, to free up some disk space.

Autorun Truecrypt 5 on a USB drive using Traveler Disk Setup

Earlier, I posted a HowTo on using Autorun TrueCrypt from a USB drive. I recently upgraded to version 5.1a.  Here is how to accomplish the same thing, using the built in “Travler Disk Setup” in TrueCrypt.

I suggest you read the 7 Applications I carry on my TrueCrypt USB drive, to help you decide what goes into your encrypted volume and what stays out.

The current version of TrueCrypt is 5.1a.  There are many bug fixes!  Make sure you are using the most current code.  Get a fresh copy here.

Follow the instructions and install TrueCrypt to your system.  We are then going to create the volume and finally, use the Traveler Disk Setup to install TrueCrypt to the USB and have it create the AUTORUN.INF.

Run TrueCrypt and from the menu pick File -> Create New Volume. Select Create a file container, next, Create a Standard Volume, next and use the select file button to select your USB drive, make a folder called TrueCrypt, select it, then type in a filename of your choice (hint: TrueCrypt.tc), next, select your encryption algorithm (hint: take the defaults), next, select the size. You can use almost the entire USB drive. You will need about 1.5 meg for the TrueCrypt programs. On a 2 gig USB drive, I left 500meg for anti-virus, anti-spyware and repair programs, so I can check out a machine before I open my encrypted volume.

travelerdisk.pngWhen TrueCrypt is done creating the volume, go back and complete the Traveler Disk Setup. From the TrueCrypt menu, pick Tools -> Traveler Disk Setup. Use the first Browse button to navigate to the root directory of your USB drive. Uncheck the “Include TrueCrypt Volume Creation Wizard”, Click the Auto-mount TrueCrypt volume, use the lower Browse button to navigate to your file (TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.tc). I suggest checking the “Open Explorer window for mounted volume”. Click “Create”. TrueCrypt should pop up a windows telling you that it was successful. Then click Close. You will have to eject the USB drive then reinsert to test it.

For more information on Traveler Mode, see the TrueCrypt documentation.

Microsoft Developer network (MSDN) has an article, which covers all the options in a AUTORUN.INF file and DailyCupofTech an article AUTORUN.INF Tweaking.

A number of people (including me) have had trouble with Autorun NOT working. First, make sure you have the latest patches and drivers.

Then, go into the registry with REGEDIT (Start->Run->RegEdit)

Look at this information:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\CDRom

If this is 0 (Zero) set it to 1 (One)

Then check (Windows 95 through XP, not Vista)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

If this is 95 (0x5F hex) set it to 91 (0x5B hex)

For details on the above information, check out document, KB 330135. It details things to try when AUTORUN or AUTOPLAY do not work and document, KB 136214 which details the second registry edit.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/330135

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/136214

Microsoft has more hits than I can catalog when searching for AUTOPLAY at search.msdn.microsoft.com

http://search.msdn.microsoft.com/Default.aspx?query=autoplay&brand=msdn&locale=en-us&refinement=

I did have a machine that never ran my AUTORUN file. I eventually made it into a print server…

The 7 Applications I carry on my TrueCrypt USB Drive

This Christmas, I received a Target gift card, which I used to purchase a new 2gig USB drive. I don’t normally purchase new electronics for reasons outlined in this article, so I was quite excited!

1. The first thing I loaded was TrueCrypt, so I could protect all my data. I checked the TrueCrypt.org website and they are scheduling the release of TrueCrypt 5 for later this month some time in February, I can’t wait to upgrade. Version 5 should have a Linux and OSX GUI.

I used TrueCrypt to create a 1.5 Gig NTFS volume on my USB drive. I keep ALL my documents and programs in the encrypted partition. Why, you ask? If I kept my program files outside the encrypted volume and my USB drive was lost or stolen, it would be like my laptop was stolen while it was signed in. Who ever found it would have full access to every website and FTP host I use.

Running programs from encrypted volumes might seem like it would be slow, but it is not. USB drives can be formatted with FAT or FAT32, both of which are very inefficient. TrueCrypt can format the encrypted volume as NTFS, a vast improvement. I have noticed that programs actually run more smoothly from the encrypted volume, at about the same speed.

I did leave about 500meg outside the encrypted partition. I use this to store TrueCrypt and virus/spyware cleanup programs like HiJackThis and SpyBot Search & Destroy. That way, I can cleanup a machine before I open my encrypted volume.
pstart.png

2. The second application is PStart. PStart is a great, minimalist start menu.

I’ve looked at other program launchers including the PortableApps suite, Imation’s U3 and Lexar’s PowerToGo. None are as simple and useful as PStart. Pstart lets me add programs or folders to my start menu. It can be configured to close as soon as an application is launched, remain resident until closed, or remain open. Because of it’s size, it loads very quickly and the only thing I have to do to install it is copy PStart.exe to the root directory of my encrypted volume.

3. EverNote PE, a recent addition, is a note manager. It’s user interface reminds me of the old Apple Newton, like one continuous roll of toilet-paper. I use it as a place to store information about networks I manage, IP addresses, software license keys, notes on how I setup a particular server, technotes, quotes and various other random bits of information. You can drop in graphics or clippings from other programs like Excel, Word, Paint, etc. Data is accessed via a hierarchical tree or via a terrific search feature. It is actually fun software to use. This is the only commercial software of the bunch. Everything else is Free. I purchased the Portable Edition, especially designed for USB drives.

4. KeePass – an awesome open source password manager. I use it to track all my passwords for work, personal, online banking and e-mail. KeePass encrypts the passwords and since KeePass is already on an encrypted volume, everything is doubly protected.

5. TotalCommander is a swiss army knife style file manager. It displays two folder windows side by side and allows you to copy or move files from one to the other. You can also delete, edit and do many other things, but the two I use it most for are FTP and synchronizing files from my USB to my Hard Drive. The built in FTP client is great. Once I realized that I needed to define a transparent firewall, I found that it worked better than FileZilla. I use TotalCommander for all my FTP needs.
Not only are my files on my USB drive encrypted, but so are the ones on my hard drive. I actually have 1.5gig TrueCrypt volume on my hard drive that matches what is on my USB and I use TotalCommander to synchronize the files.
TotalCommander is not a portable application, but from the authors website, you can download a utility which will copy TotalCommander, it’s plugins and the .INI file to your USB drive. Totally cool.

6. EditPadLite – this is my choice for a multi-file, tabbed interface text editor. The keyboard shortcuts in EditPadLite make sense to me and EditPadLite can be configured to keep it’s settings in an .INI file, making it an ideal portable editor.
There are other nice editors, including a PortableApps version of NotePad++.

7. Thunderbird Portable Edition. This is a version of Thunderbird e-mail, specifically configured to run from a USB drive. It is part of the PortableApps suite. I normally use web based e-mail for my personal e-mail and Lotus Notes at work. I have Thunderbird to read all my mail boxes as IMAP using SSL, for those times I just really want a real e-mail client.

I also have a copy of Q10, which I am trying out for writing posts. It is the most minimal program I have ever tried. All that is onscreen are yellow letters on a black background. Since I can’t use it to fiddle with graphics or fonts, it helps me focus on writing. One cool thing about Q10 that I just discovered is that it reopens the last file that you worked on, even if the USB drive letter changes. Q10 worked so well for this post that I may try it out at work for memos and TPS reports.

What’s on your USB drive?