Help! Confused by Disc Image!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by OldCorpse, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #1
    Warning: moron newbie switcher questions below!!!

    OK, so I really need to encrypt files and folders, and Mac simply does not have a good solution. I searched far and wide, both freeware and commercial software. On windows I use a great piece of free and open software called AxCrypt:

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/axcrypt

    There's nothing like it anywhere in the mac world. FileVault doesn't encrypt individual files and folders. All commercial and/or free mac software falls short in some way or another, either features or convenience. With AxCrypt, I just right click on anything (volume, file of any kind, program, folder, nested folders, any size and any number of files) and there in the context menu I got Axcrypt with a whole bunch of options... encrypt, decrypt, rename, create executable files etc., etc., etc. I don't want to rave on and on about AxCrypt, but trust me, there's nothing like it anywhere for Macs... oh, and I did search widely.

    Anyway, I've resigned myself to that (there will always be software that's not good enough/available for mac or for windows or linux or whatever). So, I just looked for solutions. My needs are pretty simple. I have a whole bunch of documents that I want to have enrypted (financial records etc., plus of course, pr0n... I kid, I kid). I want those to be encrypted and decrypted at any time (File Vault does not encrypt while you work, plus, I hate the idea of encrypting my whole Home folder in case anything goes wrong). I would like to create a document and then with great simplicity encrypt it, and contiue working on something else, also, I'd like to be able to decrypt a document, work, and encrypt it again.

    From my reading it seems like perhaps the way to accomplish this relatively smoothly is to create a blank disc image that is encrypted. Now, I'm not clear how that disc image works... say, I want to encrypt a file - do I just drag it to the encrypted image? When I drop the file onto the encrypted disc image, do I have to provide a password at that time? Now, when I need to retrieve a file from the encrypted image, do I open the whole image with a password to see my file? If so, then aren't all the files inside decrypted once I provide my password? Or do I get to open the image, and there I get to see all the encrypted files, click on the one I want and decrypt just that one with a password? Is it session sensitive? That is, can I decrypt the disc image for the duration of my work, then encrypt it before I log off/sleep it/shut down?

    Anyhow, following the help instructions, I did create an encrypted disc image, only here's where I got hellaciously confused. When the image was created, I had suddenly a ton of icons!! Extremely confusing to say the least! In the dialogue box I selected to save it to my Documents folder in my Home folder. Imagine my shock when I suddenly saw:

    1)Disc-looking icon with the name I gave, on my desktop
    2)A different looking icon with the name I gave plus an extention of .spareseimage - and it was in the documents folder where I wanted it... only why does it have that hideous extention, and can I get rid of that extention?
    3)In the disc utility window sidebar, there are BOTH the disc-looking icon with the name I gave (like the one on the desktop), AND the other icon with the name + hideous .sparseimage extention.

    OK, so I had to go down into the basement for an extra case of WTF. Which is the actual encrypted disc image I can drag files to??? And why do I have TWO different icons one with a .sparseimage extention and one without? And are they all going to hang out permanently where they are right now?

    I realize that I'm not understanding something, would someone kindly show me the light? TIA!
     
  2. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #2
    OK, a disk image functions similarly to a CD or USB drive. The file in your Documents folder is the actual image file. The icon on your desktop is the mounted image. You can drag files into the mounted image, and it'll behave just like an ordinary folder. Behind the scenes, it'll encrypt the data and store it in the image file in your Documents folder.

    You can drag the mounted image to the Trash/Eject icon to unmount it. This is just like ejecting a CD. You can remount the image by double-clicking on the file in your Documents folder.

    Hopefully this helps :)

    Edit: Oh, and to get rid of the .sparseimage extension, Get Info on the file, and tick "Hide extension" in the "Name & Extension" area.
     
  3. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #3
    Try a search at VersonTracker for PGP desktop.
     
  4. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #4
    Thank you, that cleared things up. Actually, this system is not bad as a simple repository of encrypted files. Not as convenient and full-featured as AxCrypt, but good enough for my needs :)

    FFTT, re: PGP desktop... yes, I looked at it, it is actually a very poor piece of software, there are much, much better ones for Mac (Tresor, for one)... though none as good as AxCrypt for Win...

    I'm really impressed how helpful the folks on this board are, and how patient with idiot noobs like me :) :) :)
     
  5. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #5
    We were all idiot noobs at some point :)
     

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