14. Encrypt Your Private Files
Everyone has a folder or two of private files that thieves, children, competitors, coworkers, or casual passersby should never see. Whether you want to secure your stealth startup's business plan or some personal photos, the free, cross-platform TrueCrypt encryption software (review
) is ideal for storing sensitive files in a password-protected virtual container. Only someone with the master password can open that container and read or write the files within; to everyone else, it's a nondescript single file full of jumbled-up junk. TrueCrypt can secure a single folder on your hard drive, or an entire disk--it's great for a thumb drive carrying precious data that could be exposed if the drive is lost or stolen.