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How to password protect files and folders with encryption

If you’ve got files you’d rather others couldn’t access, locking them up with a password can be the simplest way to get peace of mind. Windows has built-in support for basic password protection, letting you keep your files safe from prying eyes.

Before we get started, we should offer a warning – while this method is simple and effective, it’s not intended for large-scale or mission-critical use. It goes without saying you should invest in purpose-built encryption software if you’re storing really sensitive information on your device.

To begin, use File Explorer to find the file or folder you wish to protect. Right-click on it and click “Properties” at the bottom of the context menu. From here, press the “Advanced…” button in the Attributes section of the window.

At the bottom of this pane, tick the “Encrypt contents to secure data” checkbox. Click the “OK” button to get back to the main Properties window. Now press “Apply” and Windows will begin to encrypt your files.

When the process completes, you’ll be prompted to back-up your encryption key if you’ve never used the feature before. Click the toast notification and follow the prompts to make a note of your encryption key. You’ll need this information if you ever lose access to your encrypted files, so it’s important you take the time to back it up now.

With the back-up done, your files are now secured. They’re encrypted with a key that’s tied down to your Windows user account. If anyone else tries to access the file – whether from another user account, or by physically removing your hard drive – the contents will appear to be meaningless garbled text.

You can reverse the encryption at any time by heading back to the Properties window and opening the Advanced Attributes pane again. Just untick the “Encrypt contents to secure data” checkbox and click OK to close the windows. After encryption, you can also press the “Details” button next to the checkbox to see information about the encryption certificate and available recovery procedures.

That’s all there is to it. Once again, we’ll remind you this method isn’t intended for high-security purposes. However, it’s ideal if you’re using a shared PC and just want to keep some files inaccessible to other user accounts on the device. Just remember to lock your account (Win+L) whenever you walk away from the screen – your files will be unencrypted as soon as you login!

If you need stronger protections, you might want to consider investing in third-party software that’s specially designed for this purpose. Enabling Windows’ BitLocker feature (Pro and Enterprise edition only) can also give peace of mind if you want all your files to be encrypted. This offers full-disk encryption with the keys tied down to a TPM, a hardware module dedicated to certificate storage.

BitLocker operates at a different level to file-based encryption, solving different problems. The feature encrypts the entire drive, not individual files – so once Windows starts, everything on the drive is decrypted and made available to everyone. File-based encryption gets unlocked only after you login, and deals with individual files and folders.

Want to learn more? Be sure to check out these related posts:

How to Unlock RAR/WinRAR File without Password
How to Crack RAR/WinRAR File Password If You Forgot

We usually protect our most important files with a password. But what if we forget that password? Forgetting the RAR/WinRAR password can be a big problem for users alike. As there are so many passwords we deal with nowadays, it is quite easy to forget one or two. So, in this article, we are here with 3 simple methods on how to bypass RAR password, so that you can get your documents or files back without losing them permanently.

Way 1. Bypass RAR/WinRAR Password with CMD

You can use CMD to bypass WinRAR/RAR password. It is a straightforward yet a very cumbersome method as it needs several commands to be entered if you forgot WinRAR password. You might have to take the help of Notepad throughout the process. Follow the steps below to get it done:

Step 1: Double-click on the bat file and launch CMD window.

Step 2: Enter the WinRAR/RAR file name and tap Enter to type in the file path.

Step 3: Now, straight head over to the RAR file properties and don’t forget the name and the path. Finally, enter the required information in the right location in the new window.

Step 4: After that, open Notepad and simply type in the commands and save it as “rar-password.bat”. Hit Enter.

Step 5: Finally, tap Enter and the bat file will run to get the password for the specified RAR file.

Remember to specify the path and name of the RAR file in question. Overall it is not a full-proof method and it may not work all the time. If you want results every single time, follow the next method below to bypass RAR password.

Way 2. Bypass RAR/WinRAR Password with Password Recovery Bundle (Best Way)

The best method to get around RAR password is by using a proper bypass tool like RAR Password Recovery in Password Recovery Bundle. It is designed to bypass and recover any type of passwords for WinRAR or RAR files. It comes with different attack modes that can force access to those passwords. You can try all of them until you get the result. It is an easy to use software with a 100 percent recovery rate. Here’s how to use it:

Step 1: Download and install the Password Recovery Bundle on your computer.

Step 2: On the main interface choose “Recover Passwords for Files and Archives”.

Step 3: Now, select “RAR Password Recovery” inside the list.

Step 2: Tap “Open” to import the locked RAR file.

Step 3: Choose the attack you want to use to bypass the password:

  • Brute Force: This is a method that tries out every possible permutation and combination until you get the right one.
  • Dictionary: As the name suggests, this attack uses a dictionary with similar and frequent words and checks them one by one to decipher the right result.
  • Brute Force with Mask: This attack creates a mask of flexibility to get the exact position of a specific character.

Step 4: After choosing the attack, just tap the “Start” button. The program will automatically begin the recovery process.

Step 5: After some time, a new window will be prompted along with the password.

As you can clearly see, it is very easy to use. Just a few steps and you can bypass your locked WinRAR file password with ease. This is undoubtedly the best method around to get past WinRAR password!

Way 3. Bypass RAR/WinRAR Password with Notepad

Most of the times we are not very keen on using any software to recover passwords. Fortunately, there is also another alternative with the help of which you can get around RAR password. This process is quite similar to the CMD one, but this needs some code to be entered inside the Notepad. Don’t worry, everything along with the code has been detailed below. Just follow the steps and you will know how to bypass RAR password.

Step 1: Create a brand new folder and name it as ‘RARCrack.’

Step 2: Launch the notepad and paste the code below.

TITLE PASSWORD HACKER
ECHO OFF
COLOR 03
SET PSWD=0
SET DEST=%TEMP%\%RANDOM%
MD %DEST%
CLS
ECHO.
ECHO Drag and drop the archive into this window.
ECHO.
SET/P NAME=
IF EXIST “%NAME%” GOTO START
:PATH
CLS
ECHO.
ECHO Cannot find the file specified. Please enter the archive path.
ECHO.
SET/P NAME=
IF EXIST “%NAME%” GOTO START
GOTO PATH
:START
CLS
SET /A PSWD=%PSWD%+1
ECHO.
ECHO GENERATING PASSWORDS.
ECHO CURRENT PASSWORD = %PSWD%
UNRAR E -INUL -P%PSWD% “%NAME%” “%DEST%”
IF /I %ERRORLEVEL% EQU 0 GOTO FINISH
GOTO START
:FINISH
RD %DEST% /Q /S
CLS
ECHO.
ECHO PASSWORD FOUND!
PAUSE>NUL
CLS
ECHO.
ECHO FILE = %NAME%
ECHO HACKED PASSWORD = %PSWD%
PAUSE>NUL
EXIT

Step 3: Save the above code as “RARCrack.bat” into the same folder as above.

Step 4: Now, go to the WinRAR setup folder on your computer and find a file named “UnRAR.exe”. Simply duplicate the file and put it inside the folder you made recently.

Step 5: Now you can start the security password cracker by opening the group file.

This is how to bypass WinRAR password using Notepad. Keep in mind, this will only work on numeric passwords.

Conclusion:

So, here are the 3 effective methods by which you can bypass WinRAR password. Notepad and CMD, both these methods are viable yet they come with limitations. They might work in some cases and they may fail in some. So, in our opinion, we highly recommend you to go for RAR Password Recovery if you want a full-proof recovery rate that is very fast and effective as well!

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader’s Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

Whether you want to store sensitive data on a USB drive, securely email it, or just add an additional layer of security on your hard drive, there are a variety of ways to protect your files with a password.

When we say we’re “password protecting” a file, we generally mean we’re encrypting the file so it can’t be decrypted and understood without your encryption password. That’s the most secure way to password protect files.

Create an Encrypted Archive

Windows XP allowed you to create password-protected ZIP files, but Windows 7 doesn’t. That’s fine — you can download a free third-party file compression program that will handle this for you. There are many file-compression programs you could use, but we recommend the completely free and open-source 7-Zip.

After installing 7-Zip, use it to create a new archive — either via the 7-Zip option in your Windows Explorer right-click menu or the Add button in the 7-Zip application. You’ll be able to specify a password for your archive — be sure you leave AES-256 selected as the encryption type. Any files and folders you add to your .zip file (or whatever other type of archive you choose to create) will be encrypted with your selected password. You’ll need to enter your password when you open your archive file in the future.

Encrypt an Office Document

Microsoft Office allows you to apply encryption to documents, securing them with a password. Microsoft switched to AES encryption in Office 2007, so if you’re using an earlier version of Office, the encryption will be nowhere near as secure.

To password protect a document in Office 2010 or later, click the File menu, click the Protect Document button in the Info section, and select Encrypt With Password. You’ll be prompted to enter a password, which you’ll have to provide each time you open the document in the future. You can also fully decrypt the document in the future, removing the need for a password.

Check out this guide for more information on encrypting Word documents, Excel workbooks, PowerPoint presentations, and even PDFs.

Other productivity programs may offer similar features. For example, Adobe Acrobat allows you to create password-protected PDF files, if Office’s PDF encryption isn’t your style.

Create Encrypted Volumes With TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt allows you to create encrypted volumes. TrueCrypt is a very flexible encryption solution, and you can use it in a variety of ways:

  • Create a small encrypted container stored in a file on your hard drive. You’ll need your encryption password to “mount” this file as a special drive, allowing you to view and manipulate its contents. When you “unmount” the drive, no one can see its contents without providing your encryption passphrase.
  • Use TrueCrypt to create an encrypted volume on a USB flash drive or other removable drive, allowing you to carry sensitive files around with you worrying that they could be viewed if you ever lose the drive. TrueCrypt can be used as a portable application, allowing you to access your encrypted data even on computers that don’t have TrueCrypt installed — the TrueCrypt program files can be stored on the external drive itself.
  • Encrypt your entire Windows system drive, forcing anyone to enter a password when booting your computer or resuming from hibernate. This ensures that no one can access the contents of your hard drive as long as you leave your computer locked or powered off. (Unless they use the freezer attack, which is uncommon in the real world.)

Use Built-In Windows Encryption Features

If you’re using a Professional or Enterprise edition of Windows, you also have access to some special encryption features. Home versions of Windows — and the standard edition of Windows 8, which technically isn’t named a “home” version — don’t have access to these features. Professional editions of Windows include the following two encryption features:

  • BitLocker, which allows you to create encrypted volumes on drives, including external USB flash drives. BitLocker functions in much the same way as TrueCrypt, so you can use a similar feature on the more common editions of Windows.
  • Encrypting File System (EFS), which allows you to encrypt individual folders and files. To use this feature, right-click a file or folder, select Properties, and click the Advanced button on the General tab. Enable the Encrypt contents to secure data option — this will be grayed out if you’re not using the correct edition of Windows. Files are essentially encrypted with your Windows user account password, so you’ll lose them if you forget your Windows password. Bear in mind that these files are only encrypted when stored on your hard drive, so you can’t email them securely without encrypting them in a different way.

There are many other tools that can be used to encrypt files, but the above methods are some of the easiest and most powerful.

If you just want to hide files from other people using your computer, you could try hiding them or marking them as system files, but this doesn’t prevent anyone who knows how to view system files from finding them. You could also use steganography to hide files inside other files. If you want to store passwords, you can encrypt them with a password manager like KeePass or LastPass — both allow you to attach files, although this works best with small files associated with password entries.

How much sensitive information do you store on your computer? Your photos, work-related projects and documents, and other files you wouldn’t want anyone to lay their eyes on. Did you know that you can encrypt such folders and protect them from prying eyes, whether it is someone using your computer or a hacker? Find out how to password-protect your folders in Windows and Mac.

How to password-protect a folder in Windows 10

There are a few ways you can protect your files and folders in Windows 10.

1. Encrypting File System

One of them is a built-in Windows tool — Encrypting File System (EFS). Unfortunately, this method doesn’t protect your files if you share your device with someone else, as the encryption key is tied to your Windows account. As long as you are signed in, whoever is using your computer will be able to view your files. But it will protect your data if someone with a different user account tries to access it, or if someone gets physical access to your hard drive.

Here’s how to encrypt your folder with EFS:

Right-click on a file or folder, and select Properties .

Check the box next to Encrypt contents to secure data and click OK > Apply .

If you’ve never used this feature before, it should prompt you to copy and save your encryption key. If it does, move to the next step. If it doesn’t, find your certificate by following these steps:

a. Type “certificate” into your search bar and select Manage user certificates.

b. Expand the Personal folder and click on Certificates.

c. Here, you might see a couple of certificates. Look for the one that states Encrypting File System under Intended purposes. Right-click on it and then select All tasks > Export…

You should see Welcome to the Certificate Export Wizard pop up, click Next .

Select Yes, export the private key and click Next .

Check Include all certificates in the certification path if possible .

You’ll be prompted to create a password for your security key. Check the box next to the password and enter your chosen password twice. Choose an encryption algorithm. We recommend AES256-SHA256. Click Next .

Name your file. Get as creative as you wish here. We suggest not calling it the Encryption key for folder X and storing it on your computer. Click Next .

Before you finish, you’ll be able to review what you’ve chosen, where the file will be saved, etc. When you do, click Finish.

Now find the file on your computer and move it somewhere safe, like a USB or NordPass secure vault.

2. 7-Zip

You can also password-protect files and folders with third-party apps like 7-Zip that compress your files. You’ll have to download the app first and then follow these instructions:

You’ll first need to compress the folder. Right-click on the folder you want to compress and select 7-Zip > Add to archive …

Under Archive format, choose zip .

Under encryption, type in the password you want to use to protect your folder and choose the encryption method. We recommend choosing AES-256.

It may take a couple of minutes if the folder is large, and you’re done! You have a locked folder.

How to password-protect a folder in Mac

You can encrypt and password-protect a folder on Mac by turning it into a disc image file. Macs have a built-in technology that allows you to do so — just follow the instructions:

Open the Applications folder. Choose Utilities and then Disk Utility app .

In the top menu bar, click File and select New Image , then choose Image from Folder …

Select the file or folder you want to password protect and click Choose .

If you wish, change the name of your file in the pop-up window. Then choose the encryption algorithm — we recommend using 256-bit AES encryption.

A new window will pop up, where you’ll be prompted to create a password. Enter the password twice and click Choose . Make sure you keep this password somewhere safe, or you won’t be able to access your files.

Click the drop-down menu under the Image Format and choose read/write .

Click Save . It may take a few moments for the app to create a disk image. Click Done .

Your original folder is still stored on your computer. Check that you can access your encrypted files, then delete the original folder.

What if I forget my password?

In most cases, if you forget your encryption key or a password that protects your folder, you won’t be able to access your files. You can avoid such situations by keeping your passwords and other secure notes in a password manager, like NordPass.

NordPass stores your sensitive information in an encrypted vault, which is also protected by Zero-knowledge architecture. This means that your passwords can’t be accessed neither by snoopers and hackers, nor by NordPass employees. With NordPass, you’ll also be able to access your passwords whenever you need them as you can use it on desktop, mobile, as a browser extension, and even offline. All you need is to remember your Master Password — the key to your NordPass vault.

Keep your passwords safe and organized. Store them in NordPass.

Don’t know how to password protect a folder in Windows 11? You can refer to the guide in this post to password protect folders in Windows 11 using Windows built-in tools and third-party software.

By Yuka / Last update July 1, 2022

Need to Password Protect A Folder in Windows 11

Nowadays, more and more people are concerned about the privacy of their documents. No one wants to give away their privacy. While Windows can only access the folder while logged into your user account, if your account is shared with family or others, they can access your folder as well.

You may then need to password protect a folder or file in Windows 11. A few common reasons are as follows:

  • You want to protect your privacy.
  • You do not want people to have access to sensitive documents, either intentionally or unintentionally.
  • You have a shared device.

How to Password Protect A Folder in Windows 11

If you want to password protect a folder or file in Windows 11, you have two options. You can use the built-in encryption features in Windows 11. You can also use various third-party software to password protect your files and folders. The third-party software provided here is AOMEI Backupper.

Using Built-in Encryption Function in Windows 11

To password protect a file or folder using the built-in encryption feature (EFS) in Windows 11, first navigate to the location of the file or folder. Then follow the steps below.

  1. Press Windows + E to open Windows File Explorer. Then go to the location of the folder you want to protect with a password.
  2. Now right-click on the folder and click Properties. In the folder’s properties window click Advanced.
  1. In the Advanced Attributes window, you will find a check box that says Encrypt contents to secure data. Check this checkbox, and then click OK.
  1. Then return to the main window, and then click on Apply. And this will open an Encryption Warning window, here you will be given two options. We recommend selecting the Encrypt the file and its parent folder option and clicking OK.
  1. After doing so, you will get a notification asking you to back up your file encryption certificate key. Click on the Back up now option.
  1. Next, insert the USB flash drive into your computer. Follow the on-screen instructions. You must create the encryption certificate, which includes the key to access the encrypted folder, and you must export it to the USB drive you inserted.
  1. Make sure you copy the password and write it down somewhere so you don’t forget it. When you are done, click OK and close all windows.

Using Reliable Software to Password Protect A Folder in Windows 11

In addition to the tools that come with Windows, you have another option to protect the privacy of your folders. You can use the most secure backup software – AOMEI Backupper to make an encrypted backup for your folders. With its help, you can password protect a folder in Windows 11 with just a few clicks.

Let’s see what this software can offer:

рџ‘» It offers you 4 backup options – system backup, disk backup, partition backup and file backup, etc.
рџ¤– It supports you to store encrypted backups to different locations, such as external hard disk, SD card, network drive, etc.
рџ‘ѕ It allows you to create an automatic backup task to backup your folders regularly. It ensures that your files are up-to-date at all times.
😬 It also provides you with the ability to automatically delete old backups, which can help you save space in the destination backup path.

Let’s take a look at how to password protect a folder in Windows 11 using this software.

  1. Download AOMEI Backupper and open this software. Select Backup in the left panel, and then select a backup type in the right panel. Here is an example of File Backup.
  1. Select the folder you want to password protect in Windows 11 and then choose a path to store it.
  1. Click Options at the bottom and toggle on the Enable encryption for backups option in General tab. Then type the password and confirm the password.
  1. After confirmation, click Start Backup to execute the task.

рџЊџTips:
рџ“Ќ Schedule Backup: Set up auto backup on basis of Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Event triggers/USB plug in.
рџ“Ќ Backup Scheme: Create a backup scheme to automatically delete old backups and always keep the latest one(s). You can also choose to perform incremental or differential backups to save only changed files.

Final Words

After reading this article, you will have two ways to password protect a folder in Windows 11. In contrast, AOMEI Backupper is much simpler to operate. It is specially designed for data security. In addition to encrypting and backing up your data, this professional software comes with features such as disk cloning, synchronization and recovery.

If you want to perform data backups with all these powerful features on multiple computers, you can use the Create Portable Version tool (supported by Technician or Technician Plus editions) to make a portable backup software on a removable device.

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How to protect specific folders and files in Windows

How to protect specific folders and files in Windows

Learn how to hide or encrypt specific files in Windows in order to better protect them.

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You can–and should–protect your Windows computer with a strong and secure login password or other means of authentication. Perhaps there are specific folders and files on your PC for which you want an extra layer of security. Windows gives you a couple of options:

  1. You can simply hide a folder or file in File Explorer so that it’s not visible. The downside here is that someone can easily see the file by simply choosing to view all hidden files.
  2. Or, more effectively, you can encrypt the file. Encrypting adds a certificate to the file so that only you can access it. You can then back up the encryption key and add a password to further protect the file.

First, open File Explorer on your Windows computer. Select a folder or file (or files) that you want to hide. Right-click on your selection and select Properties from the menu. From the Properties dialog box, click the checkbox for Hidden. Then click OK (Figure A).

Figure A

If you’re still able to see the folder or files, that likely means the option to view hidden files is turned on. Click on the View tab and uncheck the box for Hidden Files. The files should then vanish (Figure B).

Figure B

Hiding folders and files is a simple process but one with a couple of obvious drawbacks. First, if you want to work with those files, you have to either unhide them or re-enable the option to view Hidden Files, which defeats the whole purpose of hiding them. Second, if someone does gain access to your computer, that person could easily turn on the option for Hidden Files, which acts like a red flag for any potentially secret or sensitive files.

A more secure option is to encrypt any folder or files you wish to safeguard. Windows offers a built-in encryption tool called Encrypted File Service (EFS). EFS is available in Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Pro, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, and Windows 7 Enterprise. If you encrypt a file with EFS, only you can access the file through your Windows account. Other accounts, even those with administrative privileges on the machine, will be unable to access it.

To set up the encryption, insert a USB stick into your computer, which you’ll use to back up the encryption key. Select and right-click the specific folder or files. Select Properties from the menu. At the Properties box, click on the Advanced button and then check the box to Encrypt Contents To Secure Data. Click OK (Figure C). Back at the Properties window, click OK or Apply.

Figure C

If you’re trying to encrypt a file or files, a message appears asking if you want to encrypt the file and its parent folder or only the file. If the file is encrypted but not its folder, and you modify that file, an unencrypted version of the file could be stored temporarily as you edit it. Plus, any new files you create in the folder would not be encrypted. Choose your preferred option and then click OK (Figure D).

Figure D

If you’re trying to encrypt a folder, a message asks if you want to apply changes to this folder only or to this folder, subfolder, and files. In this case, you’ll likely want to choose the latter option, which is selected by default. Click OK (Figure E).

Figure E

A message should then appear prompting you to back up your encryption key. Make sure a USB stick or other removable media is inserted into your computer. Choose the first option to Back Up Now. The Certificate Export Wizard pops up with a welcome screen. Click Next. At the next screen for file format, keep the default selections. Click Next. At the Security screen, enter and then re-enter a password to protect the encryption key. At the File To Export screen, type the name of the file you wish to store on the USB drive. Click Next. At the final screen, click Finish. A message will pop up telling you that the export was successful. Click OK (Figure F).

Figure F

As long as you’re signed into Windows with your own account, you’ll be able to access and work with the folders or files you encrypted. If another person signs in or tries to access the files without your account or the encryption key, that person will receive a message indicating that the document may be read-only or encrypted.

To decrypt the folder or files, simply reverse the process. Sign in with your account, right-click on the folder or files, select Properties. At the Properties box, click the Advanced button. Uncheck the box to Encrypt Contents To Secure Data. Click OK. At the Properties box, click OK or Apply. Choose the option to apply changes to the folder or the folder, subfolders, and files, or the file and its parent folder. Click OK. The folder or file is then decrypted (Figure G).

Figure G

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Would you like to prevent unauthorized people from accessing sensitive data that you store on data servers and shared computers, or send via email? Then it’s best to use password-protected archive files, like those in ZIP format.

You can password protect ZIP files on both Windows 10 and macOS. However, the range of functions provided by your system’s password-protection tools are limited. For this reason, we recommend using external software.

  1. Password Protect ZIP Files with Windows System Tools
  2. Encrypting File Folders with macOS Standard Tools
  3. Password Protecting ZIP Files with Third-Party Software

Password Protect ZIP Files with Windows System Tools

Microsoft Windows 10 provides a feature for password protecting files and folders which is integrated in the operating system. Windows password protection can also protect ZIP files from unauthorized access, without having to use third-party software. To activate password protection for your files, follow these steps:

Windows password protection is only available in the editions Microsoft Windows 10 Pro, Education, and Enterprise, not in Windows 10 Home.

Step 1: Using the right mouse button, click on the ZIP file that you would like to password protect.

Step 2: In the shortcut menu, select the “Properties” option to open the file properties.

The shortcut menu for the Windows 10 file manager

Step 3: In the “General” tab, click on “Advanced” in order to open the “Advanced Attribute” dialog window.

The data file properties

Step 4: In the “Advanced Attributes” dialog window, select the check box next to “Encrypt contents to secure data”.

The file folder’s advanced attributes

Step 5: Close the “Advanced Attributes” dialog window by clicking on “OK” and save the change in file properties by clicking on “OK” or “Apply”.

You have the choice of activating the file’s password only for the selected folder, or for its subfolders as well.

The file icon now displays a padlock. This indicates that the corresponding file is password protected. But what does this actually mean?

In Windows Explorer, the lock symbol allows you to see if a file is password protected.

After you have activated password protection, you’ll note that you can still open the file without a password prompt. File content can also be displayed and processed without changes. Nevertheless, the file is password protected – with a key generated by Windows that is stored in your user account.

You have access to the file as long as you are logged into your user account. By contrast, other users will be denied access. This can be very practical in many situations. However, only in a few application cases does it serve as a password-protected ZIP file. For instance, this feature is not intended for sending password-protected ZIP files. For this, we recommend using a compression program with an encryption feature.

Encrypting File Folders with macOS Standard Tools

Though it’s true the Apple operating system macOS does not offer any native features for password protecting ZIP files, you can however protect the directories – in which ZIP files are located – as image files. To do so, follow these steps:

Step 1: Create a new folder in Finder – macOS’ standard file manager.

Step 2: Relocate all ZIP files that you’d like to protect into the folder you just created.

Step 3: Open the macOS hard drive service program. You can do this via Spotlight search.

Spotlight – the macOS desktop search function – allows you to find files, documents, images, music, emails, contacts, and programs.

Step 4: Click on “File” in the menu bar above and choose “Image from Folder” under “New Image”.

The macOS hard drive service program

Step 5: Choose the folder you created at the beginning that has the files you wish to protect and click on “Open”.

File folder options

Step 6: Give the image a name and choose a save location.

Selecting the save location

Step 7: Choose the type of encryption:

  • 128-Bit-AES encryption (recommended)
  • 256-Bit-AES encryption (more secure, but slower)

Step 8: Enter a password of your choosing and confirm entry by clicking on “Choose”.

Password entry for image encryption

Step 9: Make sure that the image format is set to “Compressed” and complete the process by clicking on “Save”.

Algorithm options for encryption

The encrypted image is created in .dmg format in the save location you specified.

The progress bar during image creation

Select the image by double-clicking on it and entering your password to access the password-protected file.

The password required to open the image file can be stored in the user account’s key ring, if necessary.

An open .dmg file is displayed as an integrated drive in Finder.

An opened .dmg file as an integrated hard drive

Eject the image via Finder if you are no longer using the protected files. Otherwise, they will remain accessible without a password prompt.

To eject an integrated hard drive, click on the corresponding button in the Finder navigation area (highlighted in red).

To make sure that your data is protected from unauthorized access, you should delete the unencrypted original data.

Password Protecting ZIP Files with Third-Party Software

Since the options for each operating system are limited, we recommend using a third-party program. For example, we have chosen 7-Zip, a free packer application with a high compression rate and reliable encryption. It creates archive files in the 7z, TAR, WIM, and ZIP formats. The program’s encryption feature is available for 7z and ZIP files.

Follow these steps to create a password-protected archive file for any file folder of your choosing:

Step 1: Download the open-source 7-Zip compression program from the provider’s website and install the software on your system.

7-Zip is automatically integrated into the Windows Explorer shortcut menu.

Step 2: Using the right mouse button, click on the file folder that you would like to encrypt.

Step 3: Choose “7-Zip” in the shortcut menu and click on “Add to archives…” in the pop-up menu.

The integration of 7-Zip into the file manager’s shortcut menu enables you to work just as comfortably with the highly efficient packer program as you would with your operating system’s standard tools.

Step 4: In the packer program’s configuration mask, you’ll find the required settings for the save location, archive format, compression strength, compression method, and encryption.

You might have received a password protected zip file from a friend or want to password protect a zip file yourself. If you’re confused about what it is, or curious to learn the fastest way to secure your data, then this article is for you.

What is a password protected zip file?

What is a password protected zip file? The easiest way to understand this sentence is to break down each word. When you look closer, it tells you the whole story.

Password protected’ means that the sender has secured the file with a password. Without the correct password, you can’t access or see its content. The process of protecting files is called file encryption. It “scrambles” or, rather, ciphers the data within the file, turning it to an unreadable ciphertext. Only by providing the correct password can you unscramble the data, returning it to readable “simple text” and get access to its content.

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Table of Contents

  1. What is a password protected zip file?
  2. How to password protect a zip file
  3. Password protect a zip file (Windows and mac)
  4. Final Words

But what does the words ‘zip file’ tell us? Zip is a file format used to compress files with lossless data compression. The file format is a great way to send many files or folders, as you can pack it all into one file while enjoying reduced file size thanks to the compression.

To summarize, a password-protected zip file means that someone has protected a zip (.zip) file with file encryption, requiring the correct password to unlock it and get access.

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How to password protect a zip file

While you can password protect a zip file directly in both Windows 10 and macOS, the steps are unnecessarily long and complicated.

A more natural, faster way is with the compression software WinZip. With over a billion downloads, it’s the most popular method to protect zip files, while effectively reducing file size.

Because WinZip works to password protect zip files on both Mac and Windows 10, you can safely follow the steps below regardless of which operating system you use.

Encrypting a file with a password in WinZip is simple. Start by downloading WinZip on Windows 10 or Mac and follow these steps:

Password protect a zip file (Windows 10 and macOS)

  1. Open WinZip and click Encrypt in the Actions pane.
  2. Drag and drop your files to the center NewZip.zip pane
  3. Enter a secure password when the dialog box appears. Click OK.
  4. Click the Options tab in the Actions pane and choose Encryption Settings. Set the level of encryption and click Save.

To get a fast and secure, all-around encryption setting, choose 128-bit AES.

Final Words

You’ve now learned what a password protected zip file is and discovered the best ways to password protect zip files in Windows 10 and Mac.

But do all your zip files need protection with file encryption? Probably not. If you’re sending funny cat pictures or other files that don’t require extra security, it’s unnecessary to guard the data with a password.

But if you’re sending very private pictures, information, or data, password protecting zip files is an excellent way to ensure safety. Just make sure to keep your password secure and stored safely.

Passwords are case-sensitive and can be a maximum of 15 characters long.

If you lose or forget your password, Word won’t be able to recover it for you. Be sure to keep the a copy of the password in a safe place or create a strong password that you’ll remember.

Go to File > Info > Protect Document > Encrypt with Password.

Type a password, then type it again to confirm it.

Save the file to make sure the password takes effect.

Go to Review > Protect Document.

Under Security, you can select whether to enter a password to open the document, modify the document, or both. Enter each password again to confirm.

Important: Office for Mac 2011 is no longer supported. Upgrade to Microsoft 365 to work anywhere from any device and continue to receive support.

On the Word menu, click Preferences.

Under Personal Settings, click Security .

In the Password to open box, type a password, and then click OK.

In the Confirm Password dialog box, type the password again, and then click OK.

Word Online can’t encrypt a document with a password, and it can’t edit documents encrypted with a password. If you want to protect the file with a password, click or tap Open in Word to open your document in the desktop version of Word. After you’ve added password protection, you’ll need to use the Word desktop program to open the document.

Password reset for IT admins

If you’re concerned about end-users in your organization losing access to password protected Office files, the DocRecrypt tool might be for you. Note that you have to deploy the DocRecrypt tool BEFORE the file in question is password protected. DocRecrypt can’t retroactively recover files that were password protected before you deployed DocRecrypt. For more information see: Remove or reset file passwords using DocRecrypt.

Are you hiding government secrets? You probably aren’t. Nor do you store credit card details of millions of people. You know, like most of us. And if that’s the case, you don’t need elaborate encryption systems to protect yourself from hackers. In fact, a single encrypted folder can suffice.

Encrypt important folders and never worry about losing control over your files again.

That’s a perfect task for NordLocker. And as a new user, you will get unlimited local encryption and 3GB of cloud storage for free. Here’s how to quickly encrypt a folder with NordLocker.

What exactly is folder encryption?

Folder encryption means locking its contents from public access. Only someone with a password can gain access. If anyone else tries to peek inside the folder, they see a mess like the one below.

Are encrypted folders and password-protected folders the same?

Not exactly. Often, they will come together, but, sometimes, when you encrypt a folder or drive, it doesn’t get password-protected. For example, Windows 10 comes with pre-installed encryption software Bitlocker. It encrypts data but does not add password protection.

That means the data is encrypted only for someone breaking into your computer, whether physically or remotely. However, anyone with access to your operating system, like a family member, can freely see your files even in an encrypted folder.

We’ve already written about Bitlocker as a tool for encrypting flash drives. But why bother with drive encryption when all you need is one secure folder? For the vast majority of users, NordLocker is a faster and more efficient option.

What encryption cannot do

Encryption is a powerful security tool, but it has its limits. Here’s what encryption cannot do.

Encryption cannot protect from malware

Hackers can use malware granting remote access to your computer or use keyloggers to track down your passwords. If that happens, encryption may not protect your files from unauthorized access. So, you must be cautious before clicking on any links online.

Encryption cannot recover your data.

Encryption is meant to give your files rock-solid protection. That’s what it does. If you encrypt a folder, you’re protecting it from people who don’t know your password. And that includes you as well. Make sure to protect your master password and recovery keys because, due to NordLocker’s zero-knowledge policy, we can’t restore forgotten passwords.

However, NordLocker can restore files you kept in your encrypted cloud because your data is synced and backed up automatically.

How to encrypt a folder in Windows 10 with NordLocker

Encrypting an entire folder on Windows 10 is not as easy as you may think. Today, data security is important for individuals and businesses alike, but Microsoft still refuses to let their users encrypt folders without third-party apps.

Luckily, with NordLocker you can encrypt any folder on Windows 10 in seconds. Plus, since everything is sorted into lockers, there’s an added benefit of easy management. Here are the steps to encrypt any folder with NordLocker.

  1. First, create a NordLocker account if you don’t have one yet.
    • Download
    • Install
    • Launch NordLocker.

Now you’re ready to encrypt any file or folder you want.

The magic of folder encryption with NordLocker is the ease and the speed of this process. And if you want to share something, it only takes a couple of clicks, too. As far as privacy is concerned, you’re in the driver’s seat — as it should be. Encrypt your private files with NordLocker and cut loose all your privacy worries.

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John believes that the best things in life are simple. He uses the same approach when he’s writing about online security. John says that his #1 pet peeve is phishing scams. Ironically, his favorite non-work related activity is fishing.

One of the best ways of keeping others from accessing your personal or sensitive information is to password-protect files and folders. If you’re using a Windows 10 PC, you probably have much stored on it like photos, videos, financial documents, and more. These are prime targets for malicious intent, which is why you need to secure them as a basic security step.

Windows has a native encryption feature that lets you keep your documents safe from snoops, but you can use third-party encryption software for really sensitive information.

Follow along to learn how to password-protect files and folders in Windows 10.

Password-Protect Windows 10 Files and Folders

Using Windows Built-In Encryption

To do this, follow the steps below:

1. Open File Explorer and right-click on the file or folder you want to password protect, and then select Properties.

2. Select Advanced.

3. Next, click “Encrypt contents to secure data” and click OK.

4. Click Apply to begin the encryption process.

5. You’ll get a pop-up asking if you want to encrypt only that folder, or the folder, sub folders and files.

6. The next prompt will ask you to back up the encryption key so you can use it to access your files or folders in case you lose access to them. Choose Back up now.

Once you’ve backed up the key, your file or folder is now secured with an encryption key tied to your Windows user account. This way, anyone else trying to access the file or folder will only see jumbled text instead of the actual contents of the file or folder, whether they’re accessing it from a different user account or removing your hard drive.

After the file or folder is encrypted, you can click Details next to the checkbox to view details about the available recovery procedures and encryption certificate.

Note: if you want, you can reverse the encryption by going back to Properties, opening Advanced Attributes and unchecking the “Encrypt contents to secure data box.”

It’s also important to note that this method isn’t for high-level security for your files or folders, but if you’re using a shared PC and don’t want other user accounts to access some files or folders, it’ll come in handy.

Using Windows BitLocker

The first method of password-protecting your files or folders isn’t strong enough because you need to remember to lock your account every time you’re away from your computer.

To resolve this issue, you need stronger protection, which you can get by enabling Windows’ BitLocker feature. Although BitLocker comes with the Pro and Enterprise editions only, it provides full-disk encryption for peace of mind.

There are two steps to using BitLocker: set up a virtual disk and then enable BitLocker.

Set up a Virtual Disk

1. Click Start and type “Disk Management” on the search bar. Click Create and “Format Hard Disk Partition” to open Disk Management.

Password-Protect Folders

If you want to protect folders with passwords without encrypting the files, then Folder Guard is the tool you need. The password protection is instantaneous, no matter how many files the folder contains or how large the files are. However, the password protection takes effect only on your computer, where Folder Guard is running: if you move the folder to another computer, it will not be protected, unless that computer has Folder Guard installed and configured, as well. Read more about Folder Guard.

Encrypt external USB drives

If you have an external drive that you want to protect with a password, then USBCrypt is the software you need. This software creates an encrypted area on the external drive that you can use to keep your sensitive files. You can use the encrypted drive with other computers, that don’t have USBCrypt software installed. If you lose the encrypted drive, your files will be safely protected with the password you’ve chosen. Read more about USBCrypt.

How to password-protect a folder with Folder Guard

You can use Folder Guard software to protect folders with passwords.

To lock a folder with a password: run Folder Guard and drag and drop the folder you want to protect to its window, or click the Lock another folder with a password link:

Select the folder to protect, enter the desired password, adjust the password properties, as needed:

You can specify that the password may be used only by the local users, or by the network users, or both. You can choose the password to unlock a full access to the folder, or give the user the read-only access. (You can create several different passwords for the same folder, giving different access types to the users.)

Now apply the changes and try to open the folder you have just protected. Navigate to the protected folder, and you should see an empty window with the Unlock button in the middle:

Click the Unlock button, and prompt for the password should appear:

If you have entered the correct password, the folder should become unprotected and you should be able to work with the files and subfolders it contains without restrictions, as usual. However, if you don’t enter the correct password, the folder will remain protected.

(Note that in order to unlock the folder this way, you need to double-click on the folder in the right-hand panel of the Windows Explorer window. If you select the folder in the left-hand panel that shows the folder tree, the password prompt will not be shown and the Access denied message will be shown instead.)

Now, after you have unlocked the folder, try to close the Windows Explorer window, and you should see a prompt to lock the folder back:

Reply Yes, and the folder will be locked back with the password again, and will remain inaccessible until you enter the correct password again.

In addition to the basic password-protection described above, Folder Guard lets you customize the way it works to suit your specific requirements:

Password-protect and hide personal files and folders with Folder Guard for Windows 11,10,8.

  • You can direct Folder Guard to add the Lock and Unlock commands to the Windows shortcut menu. You can use them to lock and unlock the password-protected folders by right-clicking on them, instead of (or in addition to) double-clicking on the folders as described above.
  • If you have locked many folders with passwords, you can make them all accessible at once by running Folder Guard and pausing the protection (you will need to enter your Master password, or course!) When you are done working with the protected folders, run Folder Guard and choose to resume the protection, to lock all folders at once with one click.
  • Instead of locking files and folders with passwords, your can completely hide them!

And more! Please feel free to download the fully functional evaluation version and give it a try. If you don’t like it, use Windows Control Panel to uninstall it: no strings attached.

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