Cross-platform password-protect external HD without encryption


Jun 26, 2012

I need to find a way to password-protect an external hard drive in a way that is cross-platform compatible, AND find a way to add meta data or tags to the files on that hard drive that are also cross-platform searchable. I have been digging around the internet looking for a solution for a day now, here's what I've tried and the issues I've run into:

1) TrueCrypt comes up as a suggestion a lot. Nice because it's cross-platform compatible (downside being that it must be installed on any machine you want to access files from). The downside is that there is some bug between Windows Search and TrueCrypt such that files on the encrypted drive don't show up in search results (I did find a thread somewhere with a very complicated workaround for this, but I'd rather avoid it).

2) Folder Lock - nice because it allows you to just password protect without encryption (I've seen a bunch of threads that say "But you really need encryption for security!" - I'm not concerned about anyone attempting to hack or steal the data, the need for a password is a formality I have to meet, don't need to go into the details), and it runs from a .exe stored on the external drive, so you do NOT need Folder Lock installed on a machine to access the file. The problem here is that Mac's don't run .exes so there goes my cross-platform compatibility.

While I'm at it, I need some way to add these tags to video files - would be great if they would then show up in the native Mac and Windows OS search applications without some third party software. In Windows I can right click a media file, go to Properties -> Details and add tags that are recognized in Windows search (unless they're on an encrypted TrueCrypt drive), but I don't believe they show up in Mac.

Any suggested solutions (preferably something simple, like another program besides TrueCrypt or Folder Lock that will do all this and not a complicated workaround) would be greatly appreciated.
I suggest using Truecrypt. create a small partition on the beginning of the drive so you can keep the truecrypt windows, linux, mac, installation files. then create a 2nd partition and encrypt that one. this way you can decrypt the drive on any computer.