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Whole Disk Encryption Update

March 12, 2009

lock-thumbIt has been a whole week since I moved my main machine over to using whole disk encryption through Truecrypt. I though it was timely just to give a short update on experiences.

Firstly, it has not crashed :-).

Everything is working fine exactly the same as my experience immediately after the installation.

Secondly, the performance also has continued to match what I reported – about a 10-15% slowdown on disk access. The worst impact is on standard boot or restart from hibernation, but I have slightly altered my behaviour to account for this. The change is that I am using suspend a whole lot more, and I am lucky that the MSI Wind U100 clone I have has an interesting feature that is almost like a neat feature I have in my Vista machines – the move to hibernation after a period of time in suspend. Let me explain further, if I suspend my laptop on mains then it will stay suspended until I press the magic power button and almost immediately go into the Windows logon screen. If I am suspended on battery however, after a period of time the machine will enter hibernation mode to save battery life. This means I use suspend as the first option (getting around the slow restart from hibernation) always.

Thirdly, have I noticed any other long term effects? Well I have noted that the auto defrag tool of choice does not auto defrag as often as it used to. I believe this is a tuning matter, a property of how I have been using the machine which I will watch over time to see if I can confirm what is going on. Secondly (and related to why I noticed the defrag), the encryption of the HD is (as expected to be honest) is playing funny buggers with the level of fragmentation – the machine does seem to be tending towards getting a higher level of fragmentation.

So all in all, this has been a successful implementation with some areas to watch. I will give an update on a longer term basis of course, so watch out for that in the future. Also are you using disk encryption? What are your experiences?

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