Laptop Encryption

The University of Alberta have mandated that all mobile devices, external memory, phones, etc. that contain sensitive University Information must be encrypted. The current phase of the project is limited to laptops.  For details, please see:

Encrypting your laptop also protects your own personal data if your laptop gets lost or stolen.

What is sensitive information?

Definition of “sensitive” or “confidential” information (from the University of Alberta Information Access and Privacy Office):
Sensitive or confidential information refers to all information that has been collected or compiled in the conduct of operating the programs and services of the University and may include, but is not limited to:

– Personal information about an individual as defined in the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
– Health information as defined in the Alberta Health Information Act;
– Confidential business information of third parties;
– Confidential information collected or compiled in the process of hiring or evaluating employees of the University;
– Information collected or compiled in the process of law enforcement investigations;
– Advice, proposals or recommendations, consultations or deliberations of the governing and administrative authorities of the University;
– Information, the disclosure of which would harm the economic interests of the University;
– Any information to which legal privilege including client-solicitor privilege may apply.


Configuring Encryption

Below are some common methods for encrypting folders or the entire disk of a computer.

Windows Bitlocker (Windows Ultimate or Enterprise versions only)

If your version of Windows supports it, you can use Bitlocker to encrypt drives. (If not, you can use TrueCrypt described below.)

Mac OS X FileVault

Mac OS X Lion and Mountatin Lion have FileVault 2 which allows you to encrypt the entire disk. See the guide at:


TrueCrypt is free encryption software that is cross-platform and easy to set up. It can encrypt external devices such as USB sticks and external hard disks or creating an encrypted virtual disk on your computer.

To create an encrypted folder using TrueCrypt, see the step by step guides below:

Windows (note – these steps show how to encrypt the entire disk)

Mac OS X