FreeOTFE v5.21

webfork on 6 Nov 2017
  • 8MB (uncompressed)
  • Released on 4 Jan 2012
  • Suggested by Rails

FreeOTFE, named for "on-the-fly disk encryption" creates one or more encrypted virtual disks using numerous available encryption algorithms (e.g. AES, Twofish, Serpent, and many more), and can be used to encrypt entire partitions. A separate application that doesn't require administrative rights called FreeOTFE Explorer is also available from the same site, using an Explorer-like interface (see version comparison).

64-bit users: FreeOTFE Explorer is functional, but Windows 7 64-bit users cannot use FreeOTFE as the drivers are unsigned.

Note: On startup, you will receive a message asking you to use portable mode drivers to start the virtual disk drivers (you need administrator rights to do this, otherwise the menu item will be grayed out). When you shutdown the program, you will also be given the option to stop the virtual disk drivers.

Note: Site offline -- linking to Sourceforge mirror.

System Requirements: Win2K / WinXP / Vista / Win7
Writes settings to: Application folder
Dependencies: Administrator rights for non-Explorer version
Stealth: ? No. Device/service entries are created in the registry.
License: Freeware/Open Source: FreeOTFE Explorer License (v1.1)
How to extract: If using FreeOTFE Explorer:
Download the ZIP file and extract to a folder of your choice. Launch FreeOTFEExplorer.exe

If using FreeOTFE:
Download the ZIP file and extract to a folder of your choice. Launch FreeOTFE.exe

Optionally, to disable the "do you want to enable portable mode?" prompt:

* Launch FreeOTFE.exe /portable on /noexit


* Open the View - Options menu and select the Advanced tab. Click Autostart portable mode if FreeOTFE drivers not installed/running
Similar/alternative apps: VeraCrypt
What's new?
  • Added Russian language translation.
  • Added translator credit to "About..." dialog.
  • Minor tweaks to portableapps .com launcher.

39 comments on FreeOTFE  The Portable Freeware Collection Latest Entries Feed

Ray 2007-01-19 11:29

I tried this program and Dekart Private Disk Light, and I had the same problem with both: I can copy a few files onto the encrypted drive but then my computer completely freezes. Has anyone been able to get these programs to work?

Erind 2007-03-21 06:56

My recommendation... use TrueCrypt instead. NEVER had a problem at all.

Pete 2007-03-21 13:34

I've been using FreeOTFE since it originally came out; never had any problems with it so far!

It's got a much better interface then truecrypt; a lot cleaner - and there's also a PDA version available

a 2007-07-08 18:07

it seems like truecrypt, and this have volume incompatibiltys, and its kind of slow to load its drivers, although it's a nice alternative to truecrypt a little smaller in size.

dawid 2007-09-07 02:08

This is the software i was looking for... O joy !
but behold ! it did not "really" work. it crashed...
i will wait for another version. tested version: v2.00.
i will give truecrypt a try meanwhile ^^

HEL 2007-09-17 11:11

Someday I'll find an on-the-fly app that can let me click it, type a password, and have access to secure files that ends immediately after I close the app. WITHOUT admin requirements.

Toucan is a PITA.

guigtm 2007-10-05 00:25

I have the same probleme. I can copy a few files onto the encrypted drive but then my computer completely freezes.
tested with version: v2.00. (I need it for desktop AND for PDA)
Any idee????

Marsh 2007-10-20 02:21

Works pretty darn well for me (both the PC and PDA versions), and has never had any problems. It's pretty secure, adn offers significantly more options than truecrypt

dawid 2007-12-22 05:16

My mistake (user error) - hardware problem on my end; works pretty well actually no problems with it

Paul 2008-09-18 09:44

But are these damned admin. rights required also if decrypting a folder on a removable drive?
I would understand encrypting disk C (!!), not folders whose access is by default allowed to everyone...

Nige 2009-04-22 04:59

The latest version doesn't need *ANY* administrator rights at all! (FreeOTFE with FreeOTFE Explorer)

At *last*! A disk encryption system which can be used truely portably!

Shreela 2009-05-24 02:21

I'm able to install portable apps into a TrueCrypt volume and run them perfectly. But I'm concerned about TrueCrypt requiring admin rights in order to open the portable TrueCrypt from the USB.

So I checked into FreeOTFE, and at this time, only the FreeOTFE "Explorer" is able to run from a USB without admin rights, so I chose that one.

I am not able to run any apps from a volume mounted from FreeOTFE Explorer. I've tried two different apps: an encrypted fSekrit text file as an exe, and portable on-screen keyboard. Neither would run from the volume mounted under FreeOTFE Explorer. The volume does seem like a decent archive container, but I could use 7-zip for that.

Meanwhile, I'm still looking for a way to run portable apps from within an encrypted volume, for I wish to store sensitive data in apps such as Thunderbird (pop3/SMTP account info), Pidgin (various IM login info), portable Skype (username/PW), ect...

hey Ray 2009-05-25 11:45
Hugh H. 2009-05-25 14:20

I've used FreeOTFE for several months now, and I'm using it right now in fact. I'm currently on ver on driver 4.50.0000. The only issue I've had is occasional messages about the recycle bin being corrupted, in spite of the fact that I disabled the use of the recycle bin on all drives the day I installed XP (always do).

I haven't tried hacking the software or my data, so I'm just assuming it is really protecting it, but on that assumption, I'm willing to put up with the recycle bin messages to have the functionality.

Since it popped up in the 'latest' list, I assume it's an update so maybe it's better than before?

Infestedtassadar-X17 2009-07-21 09:08

Tried using this and I think I will be sticking with Truecrypt.

O and I noticed with this program, you can drag/drop passwords stores in/from Keepass

Data corruption 2009-07-27 20:09

I've done everything by the book - followed the instructions exactly, but have had repeated data corruption while using truecrypt.

It seems intermittant - which is probably why some people here haven't had problems with it.

FreeOTFE on the other hand seems rock solid - and doesn't need administrator rights (unlike truecrypt) when used portably

GrahamG 2009-10-13 16:31

FreeOTFE isn't that great in my opinion. Could have been a Vista issue, but it wasn't easy to get this installed. Even with Admin Rights it kept throwing up installation errors. I gave up in the end. If you want a truly portable encrypted volume that can contain data and apps (and be able to allow those apps to run!) then go for I even bought this because it was far better than most of the rest.

GrahamG 2009-10-13 21:56

I'm prepared to admit when I'm wrong. I went to the FreeOTFE website. Tried using the installer, but didn't get far - same with the zip version. But then I tried the portableapps version and bingo - it worked fine. The bonus was that the portableapps version also worked without admin rights. I need to try this out a little more, but I think the portableapps format looks like is does a useful job.

GrahamG 2009-10-14 07:40

OK, still using the portableapps versions and can state the following: FreeOTFE needs Admin Rights to run - even with the current version. So, setting up new volume will require admin rights and these can be formatted to any file system. FreeOTFE Explorer doesn't need access rights to run, so is useful for accessing the data in the encrypted volume if you are out and about. However, the Explorer doesn't act as a virtual drive only OTFE does that, so not really a useful option if you are wanting a volume that contains programs as well as data. OTFE is OK, but my preference is still for

swis1310 2009-10-19 04:51

I looked a long time for something to work like SafeHouse, almost broke my puter with Rohos even, so excuse me, but I have a lot to say about it. Unlike the other software I tried here, I use SafeHouse Explorer. It's free, does not require admin rights and works with files and programs from within the file browser. If your volume is write-protected, it copies the files you work with to the computer and automatically secure-deletes them and locks your volume when you stop SafeHouse. It's pretty fast on this slow puter. If volumes are marked read-only when opened you can't copy to, change or delete anything on it without changing volume from read-only first, even through Windows Explorer. Mounts created volumes as removable drive rather than fixed disk or partition (unlike Rohos!) so Windows won't mess with it. Have not checked on registry entries though, so I don't know about that issue. Would like to hear from some testing on that. Stores and runs on flashdrive though, I just create simple autorun.inf for it.

swis1310 2009-10-19 05:11

SafeHouse requires no admin rights, neither to create or access a volume, unlike TruCrypt. forgot to mention that. It can optionally install a driver to allow working with the volume through Windows Explorer, and that does require admin rights. But it's not necessary for creating and accessing a volume and using the files and programs through the SafeHouse browser. And it's way faster than FreeOTFE on my setup. If you're after encrytion options, another program might be better, but if you're looking for encryption, decent security and convienience, I've found this to be the best. Would still like some feedback on wether or not it leaves registry entries though. I have not tested that yet, I think you guys might be the pros for that!

Naww 2009-10-25 12:55

Both OTFE explorer and Safehouse explorer doesnt allow to double click and open file, they are useless for example If you want to open AVI file or a play MP3. they offer first to decrypt them into temp folder. ha.
Only Rohos Disk Browser support on-the-fly encryption principle -

TumblerLock 2009-11-02 15:28

FreeOTFE and FreeOTFE are easily the best of the lot.

SafeHouse Explorer can't handle large files - it just eats up all free memory and then hangs.

Rohos has major problems with corruption on a number of systems I've tried it on. It doesn't happen every time, about 5-10% of the time I've used it, so it's some kind of intermittant fault. When it does hit though, it completely destroys all the data it was supposed to be securing. Having this happen once out of every 10 times I've used it *doesn't* give me confidence - even though I take backups regularly.

TrueCrypt needs administrator rights, and just DOESN'T WORK without them

I'm sticking with FreeOTFE - it does the job, works well, and hasn't caused any problems

Hellbent 2009-11-18 02:29

Use Trucrypt for about a year, unfortunetly our company has moved to a new AV program called sophos and trucrypt hangs thePC's. So far FreeOTFE seems to be working OK

Tigers 2009-12-21 17:09

I need some help, please!!!?

I've installed FreeOTFE Explorer twice but still get "Access Denied: Error 0000FF" when I try to store files in the encrypted volume. I use Win7, NTSF on my laptop and FAT on the memory stick that has FreeOTFE Explorer and the encrypted volume on it.

Clearly, I'm missing the point entirely somewhere along the line but I just plain can't see where!! CAn anyone point me in the right direction, please?

Best regards


gris 2010-01-05 05:11

You may just try another application, Pismo File Mount, downloadable from

Tigers 2010-01-25 14:43

Sorted out the problem I was having! Using the latest version of FreeOTFE Explorer (v3.50) eliminates the "Access Denied" problem I was having.

Best encryption system I've seen so far!

Best regards


Yucca 2010-02-09 06:10

This program has major issues with 64-bit versions of Vista and Windows 7, since the drivers are not signed by Microsoft. There is a crude work-around on the program's web site, but it is not pretty. It puts the words "Test Mode" in every corner of your desktop after implementing the work-around. (See the program FAQ about this problem and work-around at .

FreeOTFE Explorer works fine, since it does not install drivers.

-- Yucca

GrahamG 2010-05-22 00:03

Works fine with no problems whatsoever under Windows 7

Happy User 2011-03-18 19:51

Just what I needed, simple, clean, intuitive and it also has a U3 version. For me FreeOTFE Explorer is just perfect.

Very good software. I recommend it to everyone.


paulbodine 2012-11-29 01:27

Here is a use that would seem common:

I want to take my 40G of files with me as a reference on consulting gigs. Since the files contain valuable IP, I want to protect the files should the thumbdrive be lost or stolen.

Bought a Lexar 64G thumbdrive (USB3.0), changed the filsystem to NTFS (so it would handle a folder larger than 4G), downloaded FreeOTFE Explorer 3.51 onto my 64-bit Windows 7 PC (USB2.0), created a 50G file on the thumbdrive, and attempted to copy the 40G folder with the files onto the drive.

It ran and ran. Two days later I stopped the transfer. Less than half had been copied. I felt if it took this long to copy things on and off the drive, it just wasn't going to work. (In addition, I plugged the thumbdrive into another PC and it required me to load FreeOTFE Explorer onto that PC before it would open the folder. I don't think I will be able to load FreeOTFE Explorer onto the PC at work, since I don't have administrator rights.)

When I deleted the folder from the thumbdrive, it took another two days to complete this task.

Obviously I'm going down the wrong path. Ideas?


Midas 2012-11-30 15:51

@paulbodine: have you tried TrueCrypt?


webfork 2012-12-02 03:56

paulbodine: as this may be a computer issue rather than specifically a problem with FreeOTFE, I've posted my reply to a forum thread:


jonezrin 2013-06-22 12:08

Website and download link appear to be dead.


webfork 2013-06-22 22:50

@ jonezrin: thanks, updating entry with mirror


Peter202 2014-12-23 19:55

Is it safe to use FreeOTFE? It's not been updated more than a two years.


webfork 2014-12-24 01:34

Peter202: for reasons I can get into in the forums, I still recommend TrueCrypt despite issues mentioned in the press. Still for most people, FreeOTFE is more than adequate.


Peter202 2014-12-24 10:27

@webfork What exactly is the danger of using TrueCrypt? I need encryption software mostly to create a virtual volume from which i want to run my portable applications.


webfork 2014-12-27 01:54

Peter202: please see ... I still use TrueCrypt.


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