Virtualization can also be used if you share your PC with other users. However, so that only you really have access to the second PC in this case, you can encrypt it securely with the appropriate tools or even make it completely invisible.
Containers created in a VM with Veracrypt can not only be integrated, the size can also be changed at a later date.
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You share a computer with other users privately or professionally and want extra protection for your virtual PC from other users. Nobody except you should be allowed to use the second PC and have access to the data in the virtual machine. For this scenario, Virtualbox has been able to encrypt virtual hard disks since version 6 in accordance with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 128 bit and 256 bit.
First shut down the virtual PC. Then open the settings by right-clicking on the system and “Change”. Under “General” and “Hard disk encryption” check the box in front of “Activate hard disk encryption”. Set a password and repeat it. Encryption protection is now active and the virtual PC can only be started after entering the hard disk password.
Set up a cloak for the virtual PC with Veracrypt
With the option “Hidden VeraCrypt Volume”, the encryption tool sets up a container file with a dual function. In addition to your virtual PC, there is space for documents and photos for camouflage.
The free encryption tool Veracrypt for Windows 10 offers added value compared to the built-in encryption in Virtualbox. The freeware hides the entire virtual Windows PC in an inconspicuous container that contains a few unimportant files to camouflage. In this way, neither family members nor colleagues have any knowledge of the virtual machine.
Veracrypt creates an encrypted data safe with two access passwords and two data areas: an outer one for camouflage purposes and a secret inner one for the virtual PC. Only you know that there is a second container to hide in. The first key only opens the outer safe. You enter it when friends, colleagues, or your boss are around and catch a glimpse of the screen. The key only enables access to the camouflage data – the inner container with the virtual PC remains invisible. If you type in the second key instead, the inner container with the virtual machine opens. After using it, all it takes is a few clicks to uncouple it and make it disappear again.
Create Veracrypt container for the dual data vault
In “Complete mode” (left) the Veracrypt assistant first creates a normal container file (middle). In the second step, the tool embeds a specially protected inner secret area in the container (right). The entered password decides which of the two data areas Veracrypt opens.
Install Veracrypt and start the program. With “Create volume” you call the wizard for creating the container file. Select “An encrypted container file” and click “Next” to go to “Hidden VeraCrypt Volume” and “Full Mode”. Specify the storage location for the container file on your computer with “File”. Switch to the desired drive and any folder. Enter an innocuous name for the container under “File name”, for example “Windows-Backup.ZIP”. Go to “Save”, activate “Do not save history” and select “Next”.
Specify at least 20 GB as the size for the outer data area. The storage space will later be shared by the camouflage files and the inner data area with the virtual PC. Enter a password for the outer data area with the unimportant files and confirm it. To generate random numbers, move the mouse until the bar turns green. Confirm with “Format”.
By clicking on “Open outer volume”, Veracrypt opens an Explorer window with the outer data area. Open a second Explorer window and drag any number of Office documents and photos into the window in the outer data area.
Set up the inner data area for the virtual PC
Integrate the secret data area of the encrypted container into Veracrypt as a drive. It contains the virtual hard disk file of your Virtualbox PC.
Now create the inner data area in Veracrypt. To do this, accept the proposed encryption specifications. For the size, enter a value that is slightly lower than the maximum capacity displayed by the wizard. Confirm with “Yes” and set the second password. It protects access to the secret virtual machine.
To integrate your Veracrypt container into Windows, mark a free drive letter in the Veracrypt window. Go to File, select the container file you created earlier, and click the Mount button. Veracrypt asks for the password. Your input depends on whether the tool integrates the outer data area with the camouflaged files or the inner data area for the virtual machine. Since you want to continue setting up the virtual machine, type in the password for the inner data area.
Start Virtualbox and click on “New”. Create a virtual Windows PC according to your ideas. You save the virtual disk on the Veracrypt drive. To do this, go to the drive letter that you selected for the container in Veracrypt.
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