How to Password Protect Your Files And Folders In Windows

Depending on your work, there will be times that you need to secure some confidential files/folders in your computer. Previously, we have shown you how to protect sensitive documents in Windows, without installing any software. In this article, let’s take a look at several software that can password protect your files and folders.

AxCrypt is extremely easy to use and does not add any burden to your system resources.

The usage is simple. After the installation, simply right click on any file/folder and select “AxCrypt -> Encrypt“.

axcrypt-encrypt

Enter your passphrase. Make sure that it is strong and no one else but you know it. Optionally, you can also specify a key file (using another file as a key to lock the file) to further enhance the security. If you don’t want to use your own file, you can get it to create a random key-file that you can use for encryption.

axcrypt-enter-passphrase

Note: Using a key file is a double-edged sword. While it enhances the security, if the key file is modified or lost, you won’t be able to access your password protected file forever.

By default, after you have entered the passphrase, AxCrypt will remember the passphrase throughout your session. This is to allow you to access your encrypted files without having to type the password everytime. Thus, it is important to set a password for your screen saver so no one can access your computer when you leave for a short while. Alternatively, you can also clear the passphrase memory when you need to go away.

axcrypt-clear-passphrase

Lastly, AxCrypt also comes with a “Shred and Delete” function to allow you to delete your file beyond recovery.

AxCrypt is available as a full installer and portable version. It is best to install the full version if you need the full functionality.

The next encryption method is using the popular TrueCrypt. There are many encryption options in TrueCrypt, and one of them is create a virtual encrypted disk within a file. To others, this is just a single file and they can’t open it without the password. To you, this virtual encrypted disk is the place where you store all your confidential files and folders.

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To make it even more secure, you can make the volume hidden so others can’t see this encrypted file.

truecrypt-hidden-volume

For usage of TrueCypt, check out this article.

Unlike AxCrypt, TrueCrypt works to encrypt a whole bunch of files/folders rather than protecting individual file. This is extremely useful if you have plenty of documents that need to be protected.

While there are many other commercial software that can protect your files and folders, for free software, AxCrypt and TrueCrypt are the best, in my opinion. Both of them work differently and serve different needs. For protecting individual file/folder, AxCrypt is a good choice. For mass protection, TrueCrypt is ideal.

Which software do you use to protect your files/folders?

Image credit: Dan4th