This article explains how to create and use PGP Virtual Disks.
This article covers some of the basics required for using PGP Virtual Disks. More information on using PGP Virtual Disks is also found in the user guide.
A PGP Virtual Disk is an area of space, on any disk connected to your computer, that is set aside and encrypted. PGP Virtual Disks are much like a bank vault, and are very useful for protecting sensitive files while the rest of your computer is unlocked for work.
PGP Virtual Disks were called PGP Disks in previous versions of PGP Desktop. The phrase PGP Disk now includes both the PGP Virtual Disk and the PGP Whole Disk Encryption features.
A PGP Virtual Disk looks and acts like an additional hard disk, although it is actually a single file that can reside on any of your computer disks. It provides storage space for your filesyou can even install applications, or save files to a PGP Virtual Diskbut it can also be locked at any time without affecting other parts of your computer. When you need to use the applications or files that are stored on a PGP Virtual Disk, you can unlock the disk and make the files accessible again.
PGP Virtual Disks are unlocked and locked by mounting and unmounting them from your computer. PGP Desktop helps manage this operation for you.
Although you specify a size for your PGP Virtual Disk, you can also create a dynamically-sizing disk, one that grows larger as needs require it. The size you specify when you are creating the disk is the maximum size the disk can become. When a PGP Virtual Disk is mounted, you can:
Files and applications on a PGP Virtual Disk are stored encrypted. If your computer crashes while a PGP Virtual Disk is mounted, the contents remain safely encrypted.
When a PGP Virtual Disk is unmounted, it does not appear within Windows Explorer, and it is inaccessible to anyone without proper authentication.
When you create a new PGP Disk volume, it is automatically mounted so you can begin using it to store your files. When you are ready to secure the contents of the volume, you must unmount it. Once a volume is unmounted, its contents remain secured in an encrypted file where it is inaccessible until the volume is once again mounted. There are several ways to mount a PGP Disk volume:
Mounted PGP Disk volumes appear as drives in the Finder.
You lock a PGP Virtual Disk by unmounting it. There are several ways to unmount a PGP Disk volume:
Once a PGP Disk volume is unmounted, its contents are locked in the encrypted file associated with the volume. The contents of the volume are stored in the encrypted file and its contents remain inaccessible until the volume is once again mounted.
|Caution: The Disk tab of Preferences > PGP Options has some settings for the PGP Virtual Disk feature. One option is Allow PGP Virtual Disks to unmount even while files are still open, while the other option is Unmount when computer goes to sleep.
While these options can be useful for advanced users who protect their data with regular data backups, they are not recommended for most users. If you choose the Unmount when computer goes to sleep option you might consider also selecting the Prevent sleep if disk(s) cannot be unmounted option as well. While that option may help reduce the chance of data loss, it is always better to save and close files properly before unmounting a disk.