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How to encrypt a USB flash drive, CD, DVD

Note: as of Private Disk 2.09, migrating the program to a removable drive is done by simply clicking Private Disk's icon and choosing "Install to removable drive".

This tutorial is here for those who are interested in "under the hood" details, as well as those who choose to keep the older versions of Private Disk.


Our encryption and access control software can turn your notebook or desktop computer into a robust data repository. Nevertheless, your privacy is not limited to your private computer. Our disk encryption software allows you to move the data to different removable storage devices without compromising the security of your data due to strong encryption algorithms.


After completing the study of this tutorial, you will be able to extend your protection to any removable media you might have – CD, a flash card, a USB stick etc. You will be able to encrypt your entire compact disk, USB flash drive, USB memory stick or any other external storage device. A unique ability of Private Disk – it can run directly from a USB flash or another removable device without being installed on the computer itself – this will let you securely work with your encrypted files on any computer, in any location.


Whether you are just creating an encrypted personal archive, or intend to securely exchange sensitive information with your colleagues – Private Disk can handle it.


Your USB flash drive, CD or DVD should contain:

  • The encrypted file-image itself
  • All the files from C:\Program Files\Dekart\Private Disk (help files are optional)
  • versnum.dll and dkar.dll from C:\Windows\system32

Additionally, you can create an autorun.inf file – this will start Private Disk automatically when the CD is inserted. Here is an example of an autorun.inf

Open=PrvDisk.exe /minimize /path:disk.dpd

Note:  autorun.inf will work on CDs, DVDs only – this does not apply to USB flash drives, or other types of external USB storage (however, this is possible in Windows XP SP2).


  • 1. Create a new virtual encrypted disk (See the "Creating a new virtual encrypted disk" manual)

  • 2. Fill it with your private data

  • 3. Disconnect the virtual encrypted drive

  • 4. Move the image to the CD, DVD, a USB flash drive, a USB memory stick or any other external storage device

  • 5. Copy the contents of C:\Program Files\Dekart\Private Disk as well as versnum.dll and dkar.dll from C:Windows\system32 to the root directory of your external storage device, or create a separate folder for all these files.

  • 6. [optional] Create autorun.inf in the root directory of your drive (use the example provided in the previous section)

  • 7. Done


 You can use different parameters when launching PrvDisk.exe, their list is available in the readme.txt file located in Private Disk's directory.  If the file-image of the encrypted diskis deployed to writable media (such as a USB flash drive), make sure you disable the "read only" option when the file-image is created.  If you use Private Disk Light, you do not have to copy versnum.dll as this library is not used by the application.


 I followed the instructions, but when I insert the disk, it doesn't automatically launch Private Disk. Why?
1. It is possible that autoplay is disabled on your system. Some programs (mostly cd-recording applications) suggest doing that in order to avoid problems.
2. You are using a USB flash drive or some other kind of external storage.

 How To Enable/Disable Autorun (Windows 95/98/Me)?
Follow these steps:
 – Access the System Properties Dialog, by right-clicking My Computer and selecting Properties.
 – Select the Device Manager tab.
 – Select the CD-ROM folder.
 – Select the entry for your CD-ROM drive.
 – Select Properties.
 – Select the Settings tab.
 – Turn on the Auto insert notification option.

 How To Enable Autorun (Windows NT/2000)?
Follow these steps:
 – Start RegEdit (regedit.exe).
 – Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/System/CurrentControlSet/Services/Cdrom.
 – Edit the Autorun value to '1' to enable autorun.
 – Close RegEdit.

 How To Enable/Disable Autorun (Windows XP)?
Follow these steps:
 – Open Windows Explorer by pressing the Windows + "e" key.
 – Right-click the desired CD-ROM and select Properties from the menu.
 – Select the AutoPlay tab.
 – Select each item from the pulldown list and for the Action to perform, select "Take no action" to disable autorun, or pick the appropriate action to take if enabling autorun.

 I registered the program, but it still says that it is not registered. Why?
To avoid this problem, edit your prvdisk.ini file before transferring it to your CD, DVD, USB flash drive. Add the following section to the file: SerialNumber and assign it your serial number. Here is an example:

[Private Disk]

 Everything runs as expected, but I can't see Private Disk's tray icon
To solve that, change the paths mentioned in prvdisk.ini. Here is an example:

[Private Disk]
IconPath2= c:\progra~1\PD\prvdisk.exe

Should be:

[Private Disk]
IconPath2= prvdisk.exe

 What about USB flash drive autorun?
Officially, that is impossible. According to Microsoft's "USB Storage – FAQ for Driver and Hardware Developers"

"The Autorun capabilities are restricted to CD-ROM drives and fixed disk drives. If you need to make a USB storage device perform Autorun, the device must not be marked as a removable media device"

However, things have changed with Windows XP SP2, which allows you to use autorun with removable devices such as USB flash drives. You can find more details by taking a look at this guide: USB flash drive autorun.

 Will it work if I use a USB 2.0 removable drive?

The new USB specification will not change the situation. The new standard improved several features of the bus, such as bandwidth and power consumption, but the OS still treats the USB device in the same way

 When I connect my encrypted USB drive to a different computer, this error occurs, what is wrong?

An error occurred while loading pdapi.dll
Error code: 0000045A
A dynamic link library DLL initiation routine failed

One driver that allows the program to transparently mount the encrypted image to a new drive letter cannot be loaded. This driver is very important, as it enables any application to use on-the-fly 256-bit AES encryption.

To solve the problem, follow these steps:

1. Go to My Computer\Properties\Hardware\Device Manager
2. Press View\Show hidden devices
3. Find Non-plug and play drivers in the list
5. In each case, go to the Driver tab, and set the Type to System

Click OK, that's it.

These actions will modify several values in the system registry. The same effect can be achieved by downloading and executing this reg-file.


Substitute the folders from the examples with the correct ones.


Your Windows directory may be different from C:\Windows. For Windows 2000 and above, the default directory is C:\WINNT. The same is applicable to your Private Disk folder. The default location is C:\Program Files\Dekart\Private Disk, but you can install it do a different folder as well.



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