Below are answers to some of the most-frequently-asked questions regarding SafeHouse.
Not exactly. Although SafeHouse can surely encrypt most of your drive, true whole disk encryption products work very differently, in that they encrypt every single sector of your hard drive from the moment your PC is powered up. These products are more complicated than SafeHouse, and consequently, more expensive. You also don't get to choose which files should be protected and which should be left alone. SafeHouse is a much-less invasive product that allows you to personally pick and choose which files are to be protected. SafeHouse also shines over and above whole disk encryption products when it comes to making secure backups or working with removable media.
Absolutely. SafeHouse volumes are normal files and can be backed up using either Explorer or any standard backup software. See Backing Up SafeHouse Volumes.
Yes, but there are some restrictions. See Using SafeHouse on Network Servers.
Absolutely. See Storing Volumes on CD/DVDs.
Yes. SafeHouse volumes can be emailed as attachments just like any other file. See Emailing Files using SafeHouse.
Yes. Although the Personal Edition does not support creating volumes with the wide variety of encryption schemes included in the Professional Edition, it can, however, read and write any volume created using either edition. And the same goes for the Professional Edition.
SafeHouse volumes are just normal files -- albeit much bigger than most other files. You can delete them using Explorer as you would any other file. Be careful about your Recycle Bin. You'll need to empty your Windows Recycle Bin to fully reclaim the space used by the volume. Alternatively, you can tell Explorer to bypass the Recycle Bin by holding down the keyboard shift key while clicking on the Delete menu item in Explorer (right click on volume file in Explorer, hold shift key and click Delete).
SafeHouse Professional includes the ability for system administrators to reset volume passwords. This procedure allows them to pick a new password, but it does not allow them to determine what the existing password is. See the Administrator's Guide for more information on resetting lost passwords.
SafeHouse passwords can only be reset if the resettable password feature was specifically enabled by your system administrator in advance. This feature is included in the Professional Edition only. See the Administrator's Guide for more information on resetting lost passwords.
SafeHouse operates in trial mode whenever it is installed without entering an activation key. For the first 30 days, SafeHouse is 100% functional with the minor exception that it does not allow you to choose long passwords when creating volumes. After 30 days, the software changes to read-only mode, whereby you can still open volumes and read all files; however, you will not be able to write back or update them. As such, you will never be locked out from getting at your own files, even if you choose not to purchase the software. This also makes it easy to distribute encrypted data on CD/DVD since recipients can use the trial software to access the protected files.
Yes. You may freely distribute the SafeHouse trial version, including, but not limited to distributing it on CD/DVD, hard drives and USB devices. You do not need any special license to do this nor do you need to contact us or receive permission in advance. Please obtain the latest version of the SafeHouse software from SafeHouseSoftware.com. The download available from the SafeHouse website is a dual-mode installer which installs in trial mode when you do not enter an activation key.
The SafeHouse Resize Volume wizard is the first place to look for shrinking a volume; however, it can only shrink within certain limits. It does not move any files around within the volume, so if you have large gaps between where files are located (something that can occur naturally in Windows) it may not be able to offer you the level of shrinkage you desire. Further, it cannot shrink lower than the original starting size. But there is a very simple solution for getting smaller. Create a new volume of the size you want, then open both old and new at the same time and drag the files over to the new one. When you're satisfied all is good, you can close the old volume and delete it.
Different manufacturers take different approaches to encryption and data privacy. Like any other kind of lock in the world, each approach has its pros and cons, conveniences and inconveniences. SafeHouse uses an approach known as virtual disk encryption. This is a very safe technology, however, there are some things you may want to be aware of just to be clear on what protection is provided, and what is not.
Things to know:
Windows keeps what is known as a "swap file" to help move data in and out of memory as it needs to make room for running multiple programs at the same time. This swap file is typically saved to drive C: and is frequently 1 to 2GB in size. SafeHouse does not protect the contents of this temporary Windows file. It is possible that if you were working on a sensitive document and Windows wrote some of the memory containing your confidential text to the swap file, fragments of your document could be found in the swap file for a very short period of time. Most security products do not encrypt the swap file since to do so would significantly slow down Window's performance. It would take a very skilled and determined intruder to extract any information from this file, and then, only very small bits here and there might be there.
SafeHouse cannot protect you from keyboard sniffers.
When a volume is open, all access to the volume is controlled by Windows, not SafeHouse. Therefore, a rogue program or virus could attempt to inspect or delete files within the SafeHouse drive letter - just as it might for your primary C: drive. Closed volumes are immune to such attacks. If you are surfing the Internet and are worried about some browser vulnerability allowing access to your disk files, you are advised to close your SafeHouse volumes before visiting unsafe websites.
It's important to know that the items mentioned above are common to the technology used by SafeHouse and not specific programming flaws within the software. SafeHouse is a very safe and secure product which has withstood the test of time.