Password protecting your files and folders in Windows is the best way to ensure no one gain unauthorized access. Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t offer any reliable way to add password protection to your folders. Don’t worry though, we know some handy ways to password protect Windows folders. In this post, we will show you four ways to password protect folders in Windows, each of them is suitable for different situations.
Password Protect a Folder in Windows
1. Use a Built-in Encryption
Windows comes with built-in encryption to protect a folder and its content from other users and content over the shared network.
Note: Encryption is only available in Professional or Enterprise versions of Windows. If you are using Standard or Home edition of Windows, you are out of luck.
To encrypt a folder in Windows, right-click on the folder you would like to encrypt and select “Properties” from the context menu. Here under the “General” tab, click on “Advanced”.
Now check the checkbox next to “Encrypt contents to secure data” and click on “OK”. When you will click on “OK” again a prompt will show up, confirm it and the folder will be encrypted.
The folder color will turn “green” confirming that it has been encrypted. Now only you can access this folder while you are logged in to your Windows account. Other users will have to provide the password to access it. Unfortunately, if some will access your PC while you are logged in, they will be able to access the folder.
2. Use a Password Protection Software
If you just need to protect your files and folders from family members or peekers and can live without encryption, then a simple password protection software will work fine for you. This software may not be able to protect your data from professional hackers, but for quick and easy protection they are perfect.
For this purpose, Wise Folder Hider is a simple and free tool that can protect your files with two different folders. Install and launch the program and you will be asked to create a password that you will need to provide to access your hidden files and folders. Alternatively, you can also try Easy File Locker.
Make sure you provide a strong password to ensure people don’t just guess it. And in case you forget your password, contact the company with the Paypal transaction ID (only works if you are premium users) and they will recover the password for you. There is no way to recover password for free users since the software needs no sign ups.
Note: Unfortunately the free version of Wise Folder Hider is bloated with other less useful software like SpyHunder etc. So, while installing the software make sure you carefully decline the bloatware.
In the main interface, you can use the buttons above to hide files, folders and even USB drive content. Once hidden, you will have to click “Open” next to each item to make them accessible in Windows Explorer. As soon as you close the Wise Folder Hider window, the items will be hidden again.
Additionally, you can click on the upside down arrow next to an item and select “Set password” to create a secondary password. Other people will have to provide the main password and the secondary password to open such files/folders.
Also, make sure you unhide all the files and folder before uninstalling the Wise Folder hider (or any folder hiding software) or all your files will be lost.
3. Password Protect Windows Folder Using 7-Zip
You may already to know the archiving tool 7-Zip that is used for extracting compressed files. Did you know that it can password protect your data with strong encryption as well? If you don’t need to access a folder and its content frequently, then you can encrypt and compress it to make it impossible for others to access it without the password.
Once 7-Zip is installed, right-click on the folder and select “Add to archive” from the 7-Zip option.
In the compression settings, enter encryption password in the bottom right corner and then click on “OK” to encrypt the folder. This will create a new compressed folder in the same location that can only be extracted using the password you just created. You can delete the unprotected folder to ensure no one access it.
Unfortunately, you will have to extract the folder every time you need to access its content, and also delete the unprotected folder when you encrypt it again. However, you also have the ability to send the encrypted folder to someone online and your data will be protected.
4. Encrypt Data Using an Encryption Software
The best way to protect your data is to encrypt it and protect it with a password, and for this purpose, you will need to get help from a third-party encryption software. There are many encryption software available, but most of them will encrypt the whole drive content. Although you can create an encrypted drive where you can save all your sensitive data. For this purpose, VeraCrypt is a great tool that will let you create an encrypted drive in no time.
Once installed, VeraCrypt makes it a snap to create an encrypted volume where you can save your data. Click on the “Create Volume” button in the main interface and follow instructions provided by VeraCrypt to create an encrypted volume. You just need to press “Next” on most windows and provide a size of the drive and the password you would like to use.
After creating the encrypted volume, click on the “Select File” button in the main interface and select the volume you just created. Now click on “Mount” and provide the password to mount the drive. You will be able to see the new encrypted drive next to your regular drives and you move content to it to encrypt it. Full tutorial here.
Note: The encrypted volume you created may not be accessible, but it can still be deleted. So this will not stop people from deleting the sensitive data.
Using a password protection software like Wise Folder Hider is definitely the easiest way to password protect a folder in Windows. However, if you have sensitive data, then you must encrypt your data using 7-Zip or VeraCrypt. Do you know any other ways to password protect Windows folders? Let us know in the comments.