Lokibit's VSEncryptor has what we like to see in a free encryption utility. It can protect virtually any file or text with a password and strong encryption. It's easy enough for beginners to handle, but features such as customizable hot keys and context menu integration make it a flexible tool for advanced users, too. Other freeware offers similar features, but VSEncryptor stands out because of the huge range of encryption formats it accommodates, 21 in all, from AES-128 to GOST. Recent updates include an improved multithread engine. VSEncryptor has separate downloads (32-bit and 64-bit Windows). We tried VSEncryptor 64-bit.
We chose to integrate VSEncryptor to shell context menus during installation, though we could change that and other options from the Settings. VSEncryptor's user interface is commendably plain and free of fluff and junk, yet its many View options and themes means it can fit in anywhere, even corporate environments. The default view has tabs labeled "Input Data as Text" or "Input Data as File" and a drop-down Encryption Algorithm menu. To encrypt text, we chose an algorithm (we could streamline the process by choosing a default algorithm and unchecking unused ones in the Settings) and typed in some text in the upper window. We pressed "Encrypt" and entered a password twice in a pop-up. Our encrypted text appeared as a long alphanumeric string in the lower window. We pasted the string in the top window, pressed "Decrypt," and entered the password, and our decrypted text appeared. Encrypting files and folders is just as easy: browse, select, enter password -- done. In fact, VSEncryptor is so easy to use that we didn't realize until later that there's no "Help" button to click, though the About tab links to documentation and support options.
VSEncryptor (64-bit) is a versatile yet easy-to-use tool that will fit many users' needs. Even without its long list of algorithms, it would be a top choice among encryption freeware, but VSEncryptor gives the premium competition a run for their money, too.