PGP Whole Disk Encryption - Virtual Disks

Virtual Disks are encrypted container files that behave like hard drives.  They are especially useful when you need to protect a large group of files, but you don't want to encrypt the entire drive that they are stored on (i.e., a portable drive that is used on computers without PGP).

NOTE:  Password recovery is not available for virtual disks.  If you lose or forget the password associated with the disk, then all files contained within will be lost. 

Creating a Virtual Disk

  1. Open PGP Desktop and click on PGP Disk on the left sidebar.
  2. Click New Virtual Diskand configure the settings.
    • Name:  Anything that you would like.
    • Location:  The disk will be portable.  This is just the initial location.
    • Mount as:  This is the drive letter the disk will display.
    • Mount on startup:  Optional
    • Unmount when inactive for:  Optional
    • Capacity:  Dynamic will start off at size zero, and can expand up to the size you define.  Fixed will always occupy the size you define.
    • Format:  Fat32 works on all common operating systems today, but the maximum size of a file is four GB.  NTFS can handle large files, but it is only usable on Windows XP and Vista.
    • Encryption:  The encryption standard used - for most cases this will be the default AES 256.
  3. At the bottom of the window, you will need to click the button next to New Passphrase User...
  4. When prompted, provide a username and password that will have access to the device and then click OK.
  5. Click the Create button in the top-right section of the application and PGP will create and mount your new virtual disk.
  6. The disk will be mounted and available until you open PGP Desktop and either select or right-click the disk and choose Unmount.

Accessing the Virtual Disk

If you ever need to access the virtual disk, and it's not mounted, you can either open PGP Desktop and choose Mount, or you can double-click the virtual disk file which should be named in the following format:  .pgd.

When you double-click the file, you will be presented with a login box, in which you will need to enter the passphrase associated with the virtual disk.  If you need to modify the way the drive is mounted (i.e., read-only, or a different drive letter), you can do so by clicking the Options button.

After you enter a passphrase and click OK, you will be able to access the virtual disk as you would any hard drive.


Last modified on September 28, 2012