How to Password Protect a Folder or File in Windows 10?

Hello Everyone, Please let me know that how to password protect a folder or file in Windows 10? I don't know how to protect it. I tried many times but unable to protect it. Help me.

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Open Answer 09 July 2020

Password Protect a Folder or File in Windows 10

Do you want to hide certain files and folders from other users? One of the ways to hide the files and secure their access is to implement password protection. Yes, you have the option to password protect a folder or file in Windows 10 system. If you own some files that others shouldn't access, then locking them using a password is the best idea.

When your password protects a folder or file in Windows 10, you attain full peace of mind. So, Windows gives you built-in support for adding basic password protection that allows you to keep your files safe from intruder's eye. 

Before your password protects a folder or file in Windows 10, here is one warning for you. Though this method seems to be simple and effective, it might not work for large-scale or mission-critical use. For big purposes, you really need to invest in purpose-built encryption software for storing really sensitive information on your device.

Quick Steps to Password Protect a Folder or File in Windows 10

Step 1: Launch File Explorer and right-click on a file or folder you want to be password protected.
Step 2: Next, click on Properties at the bottom side of the context menu.
Step 3: Here, click on Advanced.
Step 4: Now, you can select the “Encrypt contents to secure data” option and then click on the Apply button.
You will be then asked to back up your encryption key. This is required in case you lose access to your encrypted files or folders.

Note: This quick procedure applies to all Windows 10 versions.

Detailed Steps to Password Protect a Folder or File in Windows 10

Step 1: In order to begin, use File Explorer and search for a file or folder you want to protect. Now, right-click on that particular file/folder and click on “Properties” at the bottom of the context menu. Here, press the “Advanced…” button in the Attributes section of the window panel.

Step 2: At the bottom of this panel, click on “Encrypt contents to secure data” checkbox. Further, click on the “OK” button and get back to the main Properties window. Here, press the “Apply” button and Windows will start encrypting your files. 

Step 3: As the process completes, you’ll be asked to back-up your encryption key if you have never used the feature before. Further, click the toast notification and follow the on-screen prompts to make a note of your encryption key. This information is required in case you ever lose access to your encrypted files. Therefore, it’s important to take some time and back it up now.

Step 4: As the backup process is complete, your files are now fully secured. They’re encrypted through a key that’s linked to your Windows user account. But if someone tries to access the encrypted file, whether using another user account or by physically removing the hard disk, the contents will then show to be meaningless garbled text.

Step 5: Additionally, you can even reverse the encryption (decryption) at any required time. This can be done by heading back to the Properties window and then launching the Advanced Attributes pane again. You just need to uncheck the “Encrypt contents to secure data” checkbox and click OK to exit from Windows. After encryption is done, you can even press the “Details” button provided next to the checkbox. Using this, you can check the information about the encryption certificate and the available recovery procedures.

So, that's all you need to do to password protect a folder or file in Windows 10. Once again, it's important to focus that this method isn’t intended for high-security purposes. It is just ideal when you have a shared PC and you want to keep some files inaccessible to other user accounts on the device. Make sure to lock your account (Win+L) whenever you are away from the screen. As soon as you log in, your files will get unencrypted.

For considering stronger protections, you can simply invest in third-party software that’s specially designed for this purpose. By enabling Windows’ BitLocker feature (Pro and Enterprise edition only), you can set peace of mind by keeping your files to be encrypted. Though this can offer full-disk encryption with the keys tied down to a TPM, you also get a hardware module dedicated to certificate storage.

BitLocker works at different levels of file-based encryption, resolving various problems. This feature encrypts the entire drive, but not individual files. So, when the Windows start, everything on the drive gets decrypted and made visible to everyone. On the other hand, the file-based encryption gets unlocked only when you login, and deals with individual files and folders particularly.

Hope the guide to password protect a folder or file in Windows 10 is helpful.

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Morris Ivan

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