How to password protect a folder in windows 10 in 5 steps

In a perfect world, once you set up a Windows password, all is secure và safe, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. A Windows login password offers a very basic màn chơi of protection that mainly keeps your files safe from others who may nói qua your computer. But risks abound. Individuals with deeper knowledge into hacking a system can easily circumvent these simple security measures. Most versions of Windows don"t include a way khổng lồ password protect files and folders, so they must be encrypted, or a third-party password protection program used to keep folders in Windows 7, 8 và 10 safe from cybercrime. If your máy tính xách tay is stolen, for example, the thief can boot up your computer from a removable device to lớn access your files. Or, they can simply remove the hard disk, install it in another computer, và immediately gain access lớn all of your files and personal data.

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In this article, we’ll show you how to defend your data against prying eyes by employing some relatively simple features built for the Windows platform, as well as some more advanced measures khổng lồ ensure next-level protection.

Back to lớn basics: Difference between password protection & encryption

Password protectionis a lot like locking something in a safe — for instance, a highly sensitive document. To access that document, you must know the correct combination.

Knowledge is literally the key. This is why password protection is sometimes more formally referred to as a form of knowledge-based authentication. You need to know the password khổng lồ enter. If you required a physical token like, say, an actual key or a special USB drive khổng lồ access our secret document, then this would be a khung of possession-based authentication. If the token (or “key”) were a fingerprint or a face, you would be using inherence authentication, because the token is literally something that is inherent lớn you and you alone.

Encryptionis sort of like taking our secret document và scrambling all the letters in that document so it is virtually unreadable by anyone not authorized to lớn read it.

When a document is unencrypted, it’s stored in what we might hotline plain text. Anyone can read it. When it’s encrypted, it’s in cipher text. Khổng lồ see the document in its original form, the user must provide a key of sorts that unscrambled the message. In the case of file and thư mục encryption in Windows, the “key” is khổng lồ be logged into the correct user account. Even on the same computer, the secret document may as well be gibberish to a different Windows user.

Password encryptionis a third option that combines password protection & encryption. The primary benefit of using both is having two layers of security. Now our secret document is in a safe & it’s inscrutable.

If someone has the right password khổng lồ unlock the file or folder, they still won’t be able lớn make sense of it if they’re not logged on as the authorized user.

Why password protect files?

If you nội dung your computer with others, there is always a chance of human error — the accidental deletion of an important document, the mistaken modification of a critical file, the accidental sharing of a private folder, etc.

Sometimes you’re your own worst enemy. Sharing sensitive information over e-mail with the wrong recipients is an unfortunate if not entirely too common source of data breaches. Last January, the Leicester đô thị Council (in the U.K.) sent the wrong spreadsheetto some 27 companies. Sadly, that spreadsheet contains personal information belonging to a lot of people. If it can happen khổng lồ them, it can happen lớn you.

One way to giảm giá khuyến mãi with these risks is to add a password khổng lồ your most sensitive files, one-by-one. Sharing a computer becomes a worry-free situation after that, and sending email attachments will be less of a nail-biter, too. Yes, the requirement khổng lồ enter a password every time you access that file may slow you down a bit, but the peace of mind is undoubtedly worth it. Just remember to lớn always use strongpasswords. In fact, click on over to lớn thefree Random Password Generatorwhenever you need one, and instantly get a unique, near-uncrackable password you can use immediately.

Another way to giảm giá with this is khổng lồ use your Windows software to lớn encrypt an entire folder. This is an easy process khổng lồ implement và to use. There are also third-party tools you can use for full encryption. In this article, we’re going khổng lồ lay all the tools in front of you to secure your system with the strongest defenses.

Built-in folder encryption

Let’s start with the most straightforward way khổng lồ encrypt your folders (and all the files within them) — Windows folder encryption. Khổng lồ encrypt a tệp tin or thư mục inWindows 7, 8, or 10, follow these steps:

Navigate to lớn the folder/file you want lớn encrypt.

Right click on the item. Click Properties,then click theAdvancedbutton


Check Encrypt contents khổng lồ secure data.


ClickOK, thenApply.

Windows then asks whether you wish lớn encrypt the tệp tin only, or its parent thư mục and all the files within it as well. We recommend you opt for full folder encryption, just khổng lồ be on the safe side.

Now, once you navigate to the encrypted folder, you will see a small yellow lock on the file icon. Also, when you địa chỉ cửa hàng new content to that folder, it will automatically be encrypted too.


To be clear, Windows tệp tin encryption protects your files against anyone who gets their hands on your computer. The encryption is tied to lớn your Windows account, so when you are logged in, the files decrypt on the fly by the operating system. However, if someone were lớn log in through another account, they would not be able khổng lồ access files that were encrypted under your username.

Your files are accessible through your account, và if someone gets unauthorized access lớn your computer while it’s logged in, encryption is practically useless. This is why it is critical tocreate a strong login passwordin the first place.

Power users can also use thismethod by to password lock foldersin Windows using a small piece of code.

Regular Windows encryption will only take you so far, however, as it’s fairly easy lớn circumvent. Someone need only log in with your trương mục to access your content. Read on lớn find out how to keep your files safe should your trương mục be hacked.

Simple password protection software

Unlike Windows’ own tệp tin encryption technology, third-party password protection bars access to nội dung regardless of who is logged in. These tools offer more security than built-in Windows security features và are highly recommended for sensitive data.

Password protect folders in Windows 10

A content protection feature for Windows worth looking at is called Folder Lock. It’s fast, easy to lớn use, & can password protect and encrypt files and folders at blazing speeds. The software uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit keys lớn keep your data safe.

By default, Folder Lock uses a master password to control locked content. However, you can also create a “Locker” — a secured folder on the drive lớn segregate content topic. Each Locker can be assigned its own password và you can limit the amount of disk space it can take up.

Folder Lockcomes with a powerful tệp tin shredder và a cloud-based backup solution, too. You can try a test for free. The full-version is $39.95.

Password protect folders in Windows 7 & 8

Another lightweight utility isLocK-A-FoLder. UnlikeFolder Lock,LocK-A-FoLderonly works forWindows XP, Vista, & 7. The interface is extremely simple lớn use. After installation, the tool will ask you to lớn create a master password lớn manage all your locked content. All locked folders will no longer be visible on the drive until you unlock them.LocK-A-FoLderisfree and is the least resource-hungry folder locker out there, making it an ideal solution for older computers.


Finally, passwords are almost always the weakest link in a security chain. A password strength checker can be of great use here. Online tools likeThe Password Meterandmy1loginare great tools khổng lồ use here.

While strong password protection will be enough for most users, if you have sensitive data, then more advanced methods such as third-party encryption tools can be used to lớn safeguard data.

Full encryption software to secure files & folders

Beyond regular password protection, you can also use disk-encryption software that offers more robust security measures. These tools can block even the most advanced cold-boot & brute-force attacks, which try tocrackpasswords and encryption keys using different combinations.

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This free, xuất hiện source software can be used on any computer, và virtually any Windows system. It is essentially a tệp tin archiver that uses high compression and strong AES-256 encryption. Your files are protected by being compressed and encrypted, so when you go to lớn access them yourself, you simply need to decompress the file first. Yes, again it’s an extra step, but a tiny price khổng lồ pay for high security. Khổng lồ secure your data with7-Zip, follow these steps:

In your Windows directory, select 7-Zip tệp tin Manager.


From the 7-Zipcontrol panel, select the file or folder you would lượt thích to protect, & click theAdd button.


Choose your compression options (see image below). A - Type in the name you would lượt thích the encrypted file to be named. B - Under Encryption section, set a strong password khổng lồ use for encrypting/unencrypting. C- We recommend setting your compression cấp độ to HIGH and your compression method lớn AES-256. D - Click OK.


Your file/folder is now compressed, encrypted, and protected. Decompressing that file/folder is just as simple:

From the7-Zipcontrol panel, select the tệp tin or thư mục you’d lượt thích to open.

Click theExtractbutton.


In the dialogue box, enter the password. Then click OK.

Your file/folder will decompress and mở cửa for you.


With tư vấn for AES, Serpent, and TwoFish keys,VeraCryptis a free, cross-platform data security tool that can encrypt your files any way you require.VeraCrypt comes with full disk encryption but can encrypt at the volume màn chơi as well. Users can decide whether they want specific folders encrypted or entire systems. At first glance,VeraCryptcan seem intimidating, as the UI is not the most user-friendly, but it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. The software works something lượt thích the Daemon tools that can create a virtual CD drive on your computer.

Downloadthe thiết lập file for Windows và install the software, then follow these instructions:

To start, you will need khổng lồ create a volume — essentially an encrypted folder where your data will go. Click onCreate Volume.


SelectCreate an encrypted tệp tin containerand clickNext.


VeraCryptgives you the option to lớn create a normal, visible container or an invisible one. For our example, we’re choosingStandard VeraCrypt volume, but feel free to select whichever one is best for you.


ClickSelect Fileand navigate lớn where you want to lớn store your encrypted container. ClickSave.


The next section essentially asks what encryption method you want to use. Again, we suggest AES-256, the strongest encryption used today. Then clickNext.


Assign how much space you wish the encrypted folder to have.


Finally, enter the password you wish to use for your volume và clickNext. Make sure it’s strong!


VeraCryptis now ready lớn create your container. Remarkably, the tool can use random mouse movements lớn create your encryption key và to encrypt the folder. Feel không tính phí to move your mouse around a lot because that makes the encryption key stronger — bởi this until the bar at the bottom reaches the end. Then clickFormat.


Your first encrypted volume should now be sitting in its designated folder.

To add content lớn the container, follow these steps:

To mount your volume, choose a drive number from any one of the drives available on theVeraCrypt home screen.

Click on any one of the letters in your highlighted volume name, click Select File, and navigate to the folder where you saved your encrypted container.


ClickOpento select the volume.


Next clickMountto mount the volume lớn the selected drive. Enter your password và clickOK.Your container is ready.


Double-click on the mounted drive to mở cửa another window of the container. You should also see the container in This PC along with your other drives.

Now, copy the content to your new encrypted “drive,” click dismount khổng lồ close the folder, & encrypt it again.

Managing files and passwords

You now know what it takes topassword protect và encrypt your files and folders in Windows. However, as we have established, it all boils down khổng lồ keeping your passwords safe and having good security habits in place.

Backup, backup, backup

Consider what might happen if you lost your master password, or if your encryption software got corrupted, or if the files themselves got lost. Backing up your data regularly and using apassword managercan help you ensure you are never caught unawares.

Some of the utilities mentioned above such as Folder Lockcome with their own cloud-based data backup solutions. However, you can always use Microsoft’s OneDrive or the miễn phí Google Drive as well.

Create strong passwords

Of course the biggest problem with passwords is remembering them. But you’re setting yourself up for potential data theft if you create a password lớn use across all of your accounts. The common alternative — creating easy to lớn remember, uninventive passwords — is just as bad.

Weak & common passwords are fairly easy to thủ thuật using programs that literally cycle through different key combinations at unfathomable speed. These brute force attacks, or dictionary attacks are highly advanced. In 2012,hackerscreated a computer cluster that guesses passwords at a rate 350 billion per second. They couldcrackany eight-word Windows password in less than six hours. Keep in mind that this was seven years ago. We can only assume password theft mechanisms have evolved since then. Password security best practices need to evolve, too.

So do yourself a favor, và read up on how to lớn create strong passwordsand protect your device(s) againsthackers.

As for how khổng lồ remember your passwords,do not create a password danh mục in a document, even if you’ve encrypted that document.