6 ways to password protect a folder in Windows

Password protecting your files and folders in Windows is the best way to ensure that no one gains unauthorized access to them. Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t offer any reliable way to add password protection to files or folders. Don’t worry though, we know some practical ways to password protect Windows files and folders. In this post, we will show you four ways to password protect folders in Windows, each method is suitable for a specific need.

Read also: 12 effective ways to stay anonymous on the internet

Password protected folders in Windows

1. Use 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. However, encryption is only available in the Professional or Enterprise edition of Windows 10. If you’re using the Standard or Home edition, you’re out of luck.

Right-click on the folder you want to encrypt and select Properties from the context menu and select Advanced from the General tab. Now check the checkbox next to Encrypt content to protect data and click OK. Click Confirm in the pop-up that follows and you’re done. The folder should now be encrypted.

using Windows 10's built-in encryption program

The color of the folder will turn green to confirm that it has been encrypted. Now, only you can access this folder while logged in to your Windows user account. Other users will need to enter the password to access. Unfortunately, if someone has access to your computer, you are logged in, they will be able to access the folder. Not infallible.

You can remove the encryption by following the same method, after which the folder will be visible and accessible to all Windows users.

2. Simple password managers

If you just need to protect your files and folders on a Windows 10 computer from family members or colleagues and can live without encryption, simple password protection will work just fine for you. This software may not be able to protect your data from hackers and other malicious actors, but for quick and easy folder protection, they are perfect.

Wise Folder Hider is a simple and free password manager that can protect your files with two different folders. Install and start the program and you will be asked to create a password. You will use it to password protect folders in Windows 10. Alternatively, you can also try Easy file locker.

Make sure to use a strong password that is not obvious to ensure that people don’t guess it. And in case you Did you forget your password, contact the company with the PayPal transaction ID (only works if you are a premium user) and they will retrieve the password for you. There is no way to recover a password for free users as the software does not need to register.

Note: Unfortunately, the free version of Wise Folder Hider is packed with other less useful software like SpyHunter. Therefore, be sure to carefully decline the installation.

smart folder hider app

In the main interface, you can use the buttons above to hide files, folders and even the contents of the USB drive. Once hidden, you will need to click “Open” next to each item to make them accessible in Windows 10 File Explorer. As soon as you close the Wise Folder Hider window, the items will be hidden again.

Also, you can click the back arrow next to an item and select “Set password” to create a secondary password. Other users will need to provide the primary password and secondary password to open such files / folders.

Make sure to show all files and folders before uninstalling Wise Folder hider (or any software that hides folders) or all your files will be lost forever.

uninstall hidden wide folder

3. Password protected folder in Windows 10 with 7-Zip

7-Zip is a popular archiving tool used to extract compressed files. Did you know that you can also password protect your data with strong encryption? If you don’t need to access a folder and its contents frequently, you can encrypt and compress it to make it impossible for others to access it without a password.

One time 7 zippers is installed, right-click the folder and select Add to Archive from the 7-Zip menu.

7zip password encryption menu

In the compression settings, enter the encryption password in the lower right corner and then click OK to encrypt the folder. This will create a new zipped folder in the same location that can only be extracted with the password you just created. Now you can delete the unprotected folder to make sure no one accesses it. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to delete the original folder because then someone could access it from the Recycle Bin or even recover it using some data recovery tool. This is why I recommend deleting the original folder / file using CCleaner safely.

password protected folder using 7-zip encryption

Unfortunately, you will have to extract the folder every time you need to access its contents and also delete the unprotected folder when you encrypt it again. It is a tedious but safe process at the same time. You also have the ability to send or share the encrypted folder online via email or cloud storage safely.

extract files from 7 zip folders

4. Password protected folders in Windows using the Encryption application

The best way to protect your data is to encrypt it and protect it with a password, and this will require the help of third-party encryption software. There are many encryption programs available, but most will encrypt the entire contents of the disk. Encrypting and decrypting an entire drive can take a long time.

One way is to create a small dedicated drive with the intention of storing all your confidential data. For this purpose, VeraCrypt It is a great software that will encrypt and password protect folders in Windows 10.

Once installed, VeraCrypt makes it easy to create an encrypted volume where you can save your data. Click the Create Volume button on the main interface and follow the instructions provided by VeraCrypt to create an encrypted volume. You just need to hit Next on most pop-ups and enter the drive size and password you’d like to use.

Read also: How to encrypt a USB drive with VeraCrypt

drive creation process and veracrypt1 encryption

After creating the encrypted volume, click the Select File button on the main interface and select the volume you just created. Now click on Mount and enter the password to mount the drive. You will see the newly encrypted drive alongside your regular drives. Now you can simply move files and folders to this drive to encrypt it.

Note: The encrypted volume you created may not be accessible, but it can still be deleted. Therefore, this will not prevent people from deleting sensitive data.

5. Hide files and folders in two different ways

There are two ways to hide files and folders in Windows 10. You don’t need to enter a password or anything. The first method is easy where you select the file or folder you want to hide and select Hide selected items from the toolbar above.

hide folder

When you want to see all the hidden files and folders, just open the folder and select Hidden Items to see everything. This method is not very safe and almost everyone who knows it can use it.

So there is another way. This one is darker and needs more work. Most people don’t know either. It will be hiding folders like a system folder so that it remains hidden even if someone selects the Hidden Items option above. To do this, open the command prompt with administrator rights and type the following command.

attrib +s +h “C:Usersuser name hereDesktopTop Secret”

Replace ‘username here’ with your computer’s username and ‘top secret’ with the folder you want to hide as a system folder. To show files and folders, repeat the same command but this time with the minus sign.

attrib -s -h “C:Usersuser name hereDesktopTop Secret”

That’s it. Again, this is not very secure, but it is a quick and easy way to hide things if you don’t want everyone to find out. It depends on the person’s age and computer skills before using this method.

6. BitLocker Drive Encryption

The best way to protect and password protect files and folders on Windows 10 computers is by using BitLocker. That requires Windows Pro or Enterprise edition and a TPM chip in your computer. The steps are a bit complicated and long, but it is the highest level of security you can get on a Windows computer. It will encrypt everything on that drive using AES 256-bit encryption. Here is a step by step guide on how to use BitLocker to encrypt and protect files and folders in Windows 10.

Conclusion: Password Protected Folders in Windows 10

Using software like Wise Folder Hider is definitely the easiest way to password protect a folder in Windows 10. However, if you have sensitive data and want something more secure, you should encrypt it with 7-Zip or VeraCrypt. Know other ways to password protect folders in Windows 10? Let us know in the comments below.

Read also: How to Create Your Own Folder Lock Software for Free

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