PGP's Whole Disk Encryption is a software application that provides multiple encryption options for a host machine. This includes the entire disk (boot sectors, system and swap files), as well as removable media and custom volume encryption. Whole Disk Encryption can be used as a standalone product, but is also bundled with PGP's desktop suite. The software uses keys or passphrases to encrypt and decrypt data on the storage device. Keys and policies can be managed using PGP's Universal Server, but we did not test this management component. Version 9.10 of Whole Disk Encryption can be installed on Windows 2000, XP, Vista (32- and 64-bit) and is now compatible with Mac OS X.
Installation was easy and straightforward. The wizard-driven interfaces get you up and running with key management and configuration of your machine within minutes. The tool installs with a few standard features, including the ability to encrypt the entire contents of a disk, as well as creating separate standalone encrypted volumes.
Self-decrypting archives and individual files can be encrypted simply by right-clicking the mouse and choosing whichever option you need. Encryption for all mechanisms is handled via a key ring, where trusted keys are imported and signed, or by creating individual passphrases for each encrypted item that you manage. Overall, the performance of encrypting and decrypting the whole disk and the volumes was adequate. The administrator interface has the perfect balance between advanced and basic options, where both types of users will find what they're looking for.
Documentation is extensive. The PDF files contain a good balance of information and screen shots. The PGP website is well-organized and user-friendly and administrators will find all the information they need.
Basic support includes phone, email and web-based options. Additionally, Gold, Premium and Platinum support are available. While we feel that PGP is still an industry leader, Whole Disk Encryption as a standalone product lacks some useful enterprise features that are often sold by PGP as integrated suites or separate products.