There are many reasons to password protect folders on your Windows computer. Security is an important consideration when it comes to your computer, especially if other people use it as well. You may have some sensitive information saved that you don’t want other people to access. It may be work-related and snooping eyes could cause real issues. It could also be personal in nature such as family photos or other files. Perhaps you even have your finances worked out in documents that you’d rather not have other people looking through.
If you’ve been wondering how to password protect a folder, you’ll be pleased to know that there are several ways to go about it. If you are running a computer with the NTFS file system, you can use the following method. Remember, Windows Vista and Windows 7 both use this file system. Windows XP can use it as well but may also use FAT32 (which doesn’t support permissions) so this method may or may not work on your XP system.
Read on to find out how to password protect folders in Windows.
How To Password Protect Folders – Method #1. User Accounts
The steps needed to password protect folders via user accounts are quite simple. Right-click on the folder you would like to protect with a password, go to Properties, click on the Sharing tab, then check the box next to “Make this folder private”. Click Apply.
The only caveat here is that you will have to assign a password to your Windows user account. If you don’t have one set up yet, you will be asked to set one up after you click on Apply. Then, the folder will be protected by the same password as your login password. Other user accounts shouldn’t be able to find the folder and even if they did, it won’t be able to be access without entering your user password.
How To Password Protect Folders – Method #2. Third-Party Software
If you’d rather not mess with user accounts or typing a password every time you boot up your computer or if you’re running a file system that doesn’t support permissions, perhaps a third-party software solution to enable you to password protect folders will be right up your alley. There are a few out there but we’ll just mention one easy-to-use solution.
The software is called Protected Folder. It was designed to be very simple to use. All you need to do to password protect folders (or even files) is drag and drop them into the safety box or simply click “Add Files And Folders”. Once done, those folders and file will be protected from being seen, read, or modified.
The price ain’t all that bad so it shouldn’t break your bank ($19.95).
Another alternative app to help you password protect folders against unwanted access is Folder Password Expert ($39.95). It’s available as a free trial, which is able to protect up to 3 folders below 50 MB in size.
It’s cleverly integrated into Windows and will allow you to password protect a folder simply by right-clicking it in Windows Explorer.
How To Password Protect Folders – Method #3. Compression Software
Most compression software offer the ability to password protect compressed files. If you were wondering how to password protect a folder easily, simply compress (zip) the file and add a password to protect it. This way, the protected ZIP file cannot be decompressed without the password. This method of password protecting folders by compression only works well if you don’t need to modify the contents of the folder often.
7-Zip supports many different file formats and is quite a powerful compression tool, but for what we are using it for, a simple ZIP file will do. Best of all, 7-Zip is free and open source so that makes this solution free.
There you have three separate options when it comes to password protecting folders on a Windows computer. Did we miss anything? What do you do to protect sensitive folders? Know other easy options are out there? Tell us in the comments!