Here is a list of best free PGP encryption software for Windows. PGP or Pretty Good Privacy software use cryptography methods to prevent unauthorized access to digital information. These software are mainly used for digital signatures and for encryption & decryption of files, directories, disks, emails, etc. Most of these PGP encryptors can also encrypt standalone text. All of these PGP encryptors follow OpenPGP standard RFC 4880 for both encryption and decryption of the data.
These PGP encryptors use various Hash (SHA1, SHA 512, etc.) and Cypher algorithms (AES 128, Blowfish, etc.) to protect data. According to the data, you can select different combinations of algorithms at the time of encryption. The process of encryption is almost same across all PGP software where you first need to generate a key pair which remains protected by a user-defined password. By using the key pair, you can encrypt text, files, folders, etc. with ease. You can also export and share key pair so that other authorized persons can decrypt files.
My Favorite PGP Encryption Software For Windows:
pfPgpEncryptor is my favorite software because it not only encrypts files, but it also compresses them at the same time. Plus, it also gives you complete freedom to select Hash and Encryption algorithms of your choice.
pfPgpEncryptor is a free PGP encryption software for Windows. Using this software you can encrypt both sensitive files and standalone text. In order to keep the data secure, it provides various Hash Algorithms (SHA1, SHA256, SHA 512, MD2, MD5, etc.) and Cypher or Encryption algorithms (AES 128, AES 256, CAST5, Blowfish, DES, etc.). You can select any combination of hash and encryption algorithm to encrypt your data. This software compresses the file during the encryption and to compress files, it uses various compression techniques like ZIP, ZLIB, BZIP2, etc. Before encryption, you can also select a compression technique along with encryption algorithms.
How to encrypt files using pfPgpEncryptor:
- To encrypt files, first, you need to create a new key. To do that, go to Tools > Key Store Manager and create a key by providing information like UserID, Key Expiry Date, Key Size, Password, Path of The Key, etc.
- Now, open the main interface of this software and submit the path of the newly created key to the Path to key file field. After that, set Hash Algorithm, Cypher Algorithm, and Compression Method.
- Lastly, specify the path of file or text that you want to encrypt and press Encrypt Button to start the encryption process.
In this software, you can also use previously generated keys to encrypt files. Plus at the time of key generation, you can set whether the generated key is public, private, or Ascii Armoured key. The decryption process is simpler than encryption as you just need to select the same key pair that you have used to encrypt the file along with the right password to decrypt files.
Kleopatra is a free open source PGP encryption software for Windows. Through this software, you can encrypt all of your important data, files, folders, etc. It comes as a part of Gpg4Win suite that has four more software in the package named GnuPG, GPA, GpgOL, and GpgEX. These additional software work with Kleopatra and provide additional features to it, especially added encryption features.
Let’s take a look at additional software and their features:
- GnuPG: It is the actual encryption tool used by Kleopatra and it mainly works as the backend.
- GpgOL: It works as a plugin for Microsoft Outlook and is used to encrypt emails. Users with Outlook 2010 and higher can use this plugin with MS Exchange Server.
- GpgEX: It integrates with the Windows Explorer and provides quick encryption options that you can access from the right-click menu.
- GPA: It works as a certificate manager and you can also use to certify the validity of a certificate.
The process of encryption used by this encryptor is quite similar to other software where first, you need to generate a key pair by providing the information like name, email, and passphrase (password). After that, you need to select file or files that you want to encrypt and press Encrypt button to start encryption. Similarly, at the time of decryption, you would be required to select the same key pair that you have used for the encryption and right password to decrypt files.
Besides encryption and decryption features, this software also contains features like Export Secret Key, Change Expiry (to set the expiry date of the key), Create Checksum Files, etc.
Go Anywhere OpenPGP Studio
Go Anywhere OpenPGP Studio is a free, cross platform PGP encryption software for Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. It is a free desktop tool that allows you to protect sensitive files, folders, etc. Conventional encryption methods use a single key or password to encrypt the information, while this PGP encryptor uses much safer dual-key (asymmetric) system.
How to Encrypt Files using Go Anywhere OpenPGP Studio:
- The first step is to create a new key pair. To do that, press the Create Button and provide information such as Name, Email Address, Key Type (DSS or RSA), Key Size (512, 1024, 2048, and 4096), Passphrase or Password, and Key Expiry Date. After that, press Create button to generate the key pair.
- Now, go to OpenPGP Tasks tab and browse files that you want to encrypt and press the Encrypt button. Before the encryption, you can select whether you want to replace the original file with encrypted files or not.
Similar to encryption, you or another authorised user can also decrypt files with ease by selecting the right key pair and providing the correct password.
Apart from encryption and decryption, you can also use this software to digitally sign and verify documents. An Integrated Key Manager is also present that allows you to quickly create, import, export, and manage keys.
PGPTool is another free open source PGP encryption software for Windows. It is a straightforward encryption software through which you can encrypt standalone text, files, folders, etc. Like other similar software, first, you need to generate a key pair to encrypt any type of data. The process of generating the key pair is simple. First, go to Key Ring > Actions > Create PGP Key menu and submit name, email, and passphrase to generate the key. The generated key uses the SHA 256 with DSA 2014 algorithms. This is the only combination of algorithms that you get in this software. Now, to encrypt files, select the Encrypt file option and choose files to encrypt and press the Encrypt button. Similarly, you can select the Text Option to encrypt the standalone text. However, in both cases, you can enable two after completion actions namely delete source file and open target folder.
In this software, it is not necessary to create new key pair every time to encrypt files as you can also use previously generated keys for encryption. However, it is necessary to use the same key pair and password to decrypt the file that you have used during the encryption. In this freeware, you also get a handy Key List Manager that lets you manage multiple key pairs and also allows you to export key pairs as public and private keys.
VeraCrypt is the next free open source PGP encryption software for Windows. Using this software, you can encrypt data and files by mounting and encrypting a drive. Not just partition but you can also encrypt an entire partition of a disk or the whole disk or storage devices like USB flash drive or hard drive. In order to encrypt data, it uses various highly secure Encryption (AES, Serpent, Twofish, etc.) and Hash Algorithms (SHA-256 and RIPEMD-160). Before the encryption, you can select one Encryption and Hash algorithm of your choice.
How to encrypt the drive with encrypted data using VeraCrypt:
- Open the System menu and select Encrypt System Partition/Drive to open the VeraCrypt Volume Creation Wizard.
- In this Wizard, the first step is to select the type of system encryption. You can either select Normal option if you want to encrypt the system partition (drive) or select Hidden to create a hidden instance so that no unauthorized user can decrypt files even after using the brute force method.
- Next step is to choose the Area that you want to encrypt. After that, select a Single-boot option, if there is only one operating system installed on your system or select the Multi-boot option in case of multiple operating systems.
- Now, select right encryption and hash algorithm along with the password for the encryption.
- Press next and to generate an encryption key. To do that, you need to randomly move your mouse over VaraCrypt interface to increase the cryptographic strength of the encryption keys.
- Lastly, use the generated encryption key to encrypt the disk or partition just like other PGP software which directly encrypt data using the key. A rescue disk option is also available through which you can recover the data if some error occurs.
By using the right password and decryption option, you will be able to decrypt the encrypted drive back to the original state.
There are many other activities that you can perform with this PGP encryptor such as Mount/Unmount Volume, Generate Keyfiles, Change Volume Password, Run Benchmark Algorithms, Test Vectors, etc.