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Show a Fake Error Message When Your Computer Boots

As we’ve mentioned on groovyPost before, one of the most valuable things inside your computer is your data. One way to throw would-be identity thieves off your trail is to make them think that your computer is broken. This might also be handy if, say, you were held at gunpoint and forced to type your password into your computer (for all you international spies out there who read groovyPost…).

With TrueCrypt, you can make it so your computer shows nothing but a black screen and a fatal-looking error. A thief might give up at this point, but you can simply punch in your password and use your computer as normal. Here’s how it works.

First off, you’ll need to encrypt your system disk using TrueCrypt. Of course, encrypting your disk is likely deterrent enough to your everyday criminal, but again—the gunpoint hostage thing.

After you’ve taken care of that, launch TrueCrypt and click System >> Settings.

Adding fake error message in TrueCrypt

In the System Encryption Settings screen, check “Do not show any texts in the pre-boot authentication screen (except the below custom message)” box. This will forgo the usual TrueCrypt Boot Loader prompt for your password. Type in a message the textbox. Use something convincing like “Missing operating system” or “Non-system disk or disk error.”

Faking a broken computer with TrueCrypt Encryption

TrueCrypt will warn you that, after enabling this option, your computer will appear “frozen” when you first turn it on. You won’t get a password prompt or cursor, though the boot loader will still accept your password. This is what you want. Click Yes.

TrueCrypt Boot Disk Encryption

Now, next time you boot your computer, you’ll get  your fake message. Type your password and press Enter to get into Windows. If you type the wrong password, nothing happens.

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Fake error messages using TrueCrypt Boot Loader

In terms of added security when compared to simply encrypting your system disk, this trick doesn’t really add all that much value. But it may save you in the rare case you are forced to enter your password under duress. Or, if nothing else, it could make for a nice prank opportunity.

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