This article will help you learn how to password protect a folder in Windows 10. We all are pretty much aware of how to protect our computers with passwords. But did you know that you can set passwords on your data files and folders too?
On many occasions, either we need to share our devices, or we work on shared devices. In this way, you can quickly put a password on your data folders so the device may get accessed, but your data is safe and secure. A password-protected folder also makes data transfer safer.
How to password protect a folder in Windows 10
In this article, Turbo Gadget Reviews teaches you some super easy and fantastic methods to password protect your important files on a Windows 10 computer. So, without further ado, let us get right into it:
Password protection through built-in folder EFS encryption
The first method to password protect a folder is through the built-in folder EFS feature. EFS stands for the encrypted file system. This feature is only available in Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions.
The EFS feature simply puts all the login details of your user account to the desired folder. This means that if you are logged in from the same account from which you put EFS, only then you can access this file/ folder.
To password protect a folder through EFS:
- Navigate to your desired folder/ file in File Explorer;
- Right-click on a folder and click “Properties”;
- A properties dialogue box opens. In the “General” tab, click on the “Advanced” option;
Note: Advanced option is only visible for folders stored in attached drives. This option won’t be available for folders on network drives.
- The “Advanced attributes” dialogue box opens. Tick the box next to “Encrypt contents to secure data” and click “Ok”;
- Then, Windows asks you if you want to encrypt the specific file or complete folder;
- When you navigate to the specific file/ folder, a small lock symbol appears next to your file/ folder icon;
- You can check the user account and recovery details linked to the folder by simply right-clicking the folder and navigating to “Properties 🡪 Advanced 🡪 Details“;
- Now that your folder is encrypted, Windows will ask you to save your encryption key and certificate. A pop-up window appears after you put EFS on a file/folder to keep these details. Next, click on the “Backup now” option;
- The Encryption export wizard dialogue box opens. Windows automatically chooses a certificate format for you. Press “Next”;
- Now put a strong password and select AES256-SHA256 from the encryption drop-down menu;
- Confirm the file name and path to store your file and press “Next“;
- The dialogue box reshows all your options and settings for a certificate. Press “Finish” to save your certificate.
Password protection using a third-party app
We’ll be using 7-Zip software as it is one of the best-rated apps. 7-Zip allows you to compress and encrypt your files and folders. It uses high compression combined with strong encryption, this implies that you need to compress and encrypt your files and then decompress them before you can get access.
To password protect a folder through 7-Zip
- Download the compression software from the following link and install it on your Windows computer: https://www.7-zip.org/download.html;
- Now navigate to the desired folder/ file. Right-click and select “7-Zip 🡪 Add to archive“;
- Add to archive dialogue box opens. Put the name of the encrypted folder/ file in the bar next to Archive. Select “7z” from “Archive format” drop-down options;
- Now under the “Encryption” section on the bottom left, first enter a password. Now select AES-256 as the encryption method from the drop-down menu. Finally, you can tick the encryption file names option if you want your file names to be encrypted (ciphered) as well;
- An encrypted zip file/folder of your original file/folder will appear now in the same location as your original folder/file. You can delete the original one if you want and access the encrypted zip folder by first extracting the folder and then putting your set password.
Note: There is another famous utility called WinRAR that you can use instead of 7-Zip to password protect a folder and save your important data. WinRAR works in a similarly to 7-Zip and will allow you to put a password to your compressed folder.
To password protect a folder through Axcrypt
Another reliable name in file encryption software is Axcrypt. This app encrypts your files and stores them in a specific folder that you can only access. You can decrypt these files by putting in a password, but you need to make an account on the app to use this feature.
To password protect a folder/file using Axcrypt:
- Download and install the software from the following link: https://axcrypt.net/;
- Now that you have installed and created an account, open the program and go to the secured folder tab. At this time, it only contains a Mycrypt folder from your documents folder;
- Now navigate to the folder you wish to encrypt and right-click. Select “axcrypt🡪 encrypt”;
- Your folder is now encrypted. With Axcrypt, anybody can open an encrypted folder, but all the files are converted to .axx extension. It means that you need to put a password before opening that particular file. However, if you are already logged in, you can simply open and edit files without putting in a password;
- You can also decrypt the encrypt content the same way you encrypt it. Simply navigate to the folder’s location and right-click to select “axcrypt🡪 decrypt”.
Now, we’ll explain the difference between two important concepts: password protection and encryption.
Difference between password protection and encryption
Encryption is the process of camouflaging your original document with a new language. Any file or folder that anyone can read is a plain text/unencrypted document.
When you’re encrypting files or documents, it means that you transfer your original document into a language that can only be read and deciphered by you. In encryption, plain text is converted into ciphertext. To see plain text, you need to provide a key of sorts that decodes the ciphertext. In this case, the key is to access the file through the correct and accurate user account.
Key algorithms are used to do encryption. This is the reason why a hacker or any random person cannot read or understand data because it is encrypted using key algorithms.
Password protection is the process of putting a key combination lock to your file or document. This is just like putting a lock on your bank safe. You need to put a specific code or insert a key to access and open that physical lock.
In the same manner, password protection secures your file and can only be accessed by putting in a particular password. In encryption, you can access and open a file, but when you password protects a file or folder, you may access them but cannot open unless you put the correct password.
It is imperative to know the different features and options available to secure and protect files. However, every component has its own set of setbacks as well. For example, you know now what it takes to encrypt and then password protect files and folders.
You can either forget passwords to your encrypted folders, or the software you use may get corrupt. Keeping in mind such considerations, we recommend our readers practice two cautions for sustainable data security. The first is to always back up your sensitive data and files on a regular basis.
The second practice is never to use a single master password and keep different passwords for each data storage/ encryption facility. The recommendation by all online services to make strong passwords is not a joke. Weak passwords are easy to hack and can cause you damage if you use them all across your accounts.