20 BEST File & Folder Locker Software for Windows 10 PC – How can I encrypt files and folders in Windows?
These programs have a user-friendly interface and use encryption techniques for security. Many such programs can be used to lock directories on a flash drive, external USB drive, internal hard drive, and more. The list contains both open source free and commercial paid software. Gilisoft File Lock Pro is a software to lock folders on a flash drive, external USB drive, internal hard drive, and more.
This tool can hide files, folders, and drives. You can monitor the Disk or Folder when changes are made by the user. Folder Lock is a software that can lock directories and files. This folder locker for PC application enables you to set a password to access drives. It can sync and encrypted backup files. Iobit Protected Folder is a software that provides the security of files and directories. This application allows you to set permission to folders.
It offers enhanced privacy and protection mode. Wise Folder Hider is an application for hiding your private photos, videos, and files from your computer system. This application provides a second level password protection with phone for a specific folder, drive, or file. File Protect System is a solution for protecting your data. This software can be used to encrypt folders and files. It follows SnowFrost Engine cryptography to encrypt files.
This program asks for the exact password when you open any folder. Lock and Hide Folder is a program that offers an easy way to protect sensitive information. It allows you to show or hide sensitive files using shortcuts. This application can also prevent file access from the command prompt. A secret Disk is a tool that can be used to protect folders in your hard drive with a password. This folder locker for PC enables you to create a private disc that can be invisible.
It is compatible with other software you have installed on your PC. Hide Folders for macOS is a tool to make directories and files invisible. It can be used for free as long as you want. This file locker for PC application helps you to hide any folder with just one mouse click.
A secret Folder is a tool that enables you to hide the directory you like. You can unlock the Folder with ease. It helps you to protect your data from ransomware and malware. Folder Lock Pro is an app to lock, hide, and protect your files and folders. This application offers easy to use interface. This application can prevent other people from opening a folder without entering the password.
Free Hide Folder is an application that offers an easy way to hide the Folder. This folder locker for Windows 10 provides password protection whenever you run the program. Folder Protector is a portable tool to encrypt and protect files and folders on USB flash drive and hard disc. This file locker for Windows 10 program prevents other people from deleting, moving, and accessing your data.
Each approach has its own benefits and drawbacks, so we’ll cover those, too. That way, you’ll have a better sense of which type of encryption you will need for various situations.
Before we go further, here are a couple of points to keep in mind:. As the name implies, individual file encryption refers to encrypting one file at a time. Each file has its own password or key. Individual file encryption is great for files you plan to share or store in the cloud.
Windows 10 users can encrypt individual files using a tool like 7-zip. You can also encrypt individual Microsoft Office files from within their apps, although this is better suited to casual person use than protection against serious adversaries.
Next up is folder level encryption. This approach involves encrypting everything that is stored in a folder. Passwords or keys are assigned to the folder, not individual files. Folder encryption is a great organizational tool. For example, you could create a different encrypted folder for each member of your family. Give Sally only the password for her folder, and Jimmy only the password for his, and each can have their own private space on the same device.
Note that storing a file in an encrypted folder doesn’t prevent you from also encrypting files individually. Hard drive or disk encryption protects the entire drive at once. To use a device with an encrypted hard drive you would need to enter the password or key when you logged on, or nothing on the disk would be accessible. This kind of encryption is a good first line of defense in case of theft. If someone stole your laptop, or ripped the drives out of one of your servers, they would need to defeat the hard drive encryption to get any data at all.
You can still apply folder level encryption and individual file encryption to an encrypted disk. Password management and file encryption Before we dive into the details of file encryption, we need to make an important note on passwords. You need to be using a good password manager, along with good password hygiene. Why is that? Well, if you lose or forget the password for accessing your encrypted files, then they’ll probably be gone for good.
A good password manager is critical. We’ve reviewed many options, including 1Password , LastPass , and many more. See our guide on the best password managers for the top recommendations and step-by-step information for good password management.
Now that we’ve hit the basics, it is time for some specifics. Let’s start with Your options for encrypting files and folders on Windows 10 devices depend on which version of Windows 10 you have. Any Windows 10 user, including those with the Home edition, can also use third-party apps such as 7-zip for file and folder encryption. We’ll round out our coverage of Windows 10 encryption by taking a look at these. It is treated as an Advanced feature of the Windows File Explorer. This makes a lot of sense, since used carelessly, EFS can leave you with files you can never access again.
EFS does all its encryption work in the background, including automatically creating a File Encryption Key FEK , and encrypting that key so only the account that encrypted the file can decrypt it. All this happens automatically and transparently. Aside from a lock symbol that appears in the File Explorer next to a file or folder that is encrypted, there is no easy way to tell that a file or folder is encrypted with EFS.
Unfortunately, EFS has some quirks that make it a less than ideal choice for many uses. Knowing what these are will help you decide whether EFS is the answer to your Windows 10 file encryption needs:.
That is all you need to do, from now on, the encrypted file or folder will appear encrypted to anyone other than the user account that encrypted the item in the first place. If you plan to use 7-zip to encrypt files or folders you should know that the process creates an encrypted copy of the file or folder. The original, unencrypted file or folder is unchanged. If you are creating the encrypted item because you plan to send it somewhere, or store it in the cloud or something like that, this is fine.
But if your goal is to protect the files and folders on your own device, this isn’t ideal. In the rest of this section, we’ll first look at how to encrypt files and folders with 7-zip. After that we’ll talk about what else you need to do if your goal is to protect the files and folders on your own device. The following instructions assume you already have 7-zip installed on your system. If not, you can download it here. The result of encrypting something with 7-zip the way we did here is a zipped archive that is AES encrypted.
This archive appears in the same folder as the file or folder that you encrypted, alongside the original file or folder. What this means to you depends on what you plan to do with the encrypted file or folder.
If you created the archive to share copies of the file or folder, this is fine. Just send the archive to the recipient. Assuming they have 7-zip or a similar program on their system and you securely conveyed the password to them somehow , they will be able to unzip the archive, then double-click the file to enter the password in a dialog box like this one:.
Once they do that, the operating system should open the file in whatever app is appropriate, and the recipient can view it, or save it, or do whatever is necessary with it. Note that they will still have the encrypted files on their system as well. If you created the archive to protect the files or folders on your system, you should skip down to the section titled, “Eliminate any possible unencrypted copies of the file” once you are done encrypting files and follow the instructions there to make sure no unencrypted copies of things are lying around where some snoop can find them.
Some applications now have options to encrypt the types of files they themselves use. We’ll demonstrate this below. From now on, the only way to view this document will be by entering the password when prompted from within a Microsoft Office application that supports the unencrypted file type. But please see the next section to eliminate any possible unencrypted copies of the file on your computer.
Eliminate any possible unencrypted copies of the file If you use 7-zip or Microsoft Office to encrypt files, it is likely that Windows 10 still has one or more temporary copies of the unencrypted files stashed on the disk. To be safe, you will want to delete all temporary files once you are done encrypting things. Built into Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise, BitLocker Device Encryption does exactly what it sounds like – it encrypts all the storage devices in your system.
Happily for us, there is a great alternative available. Called VeraCrypt , it addresses all of the drawbacks we just saw:.
How to encrypt a file
If you have important personal or business content such as Intellectual Property on your Windows PC, you may wonder how to ensure that data is secure.
If a laptop is lost or stolen, it is possible that thieves could access the contents of the hard drive. The solution is to encrypt your files and folders in Windows Encrypting files on your computer ensures that it will be much more difficult to steal your valuable information, even if your computer is hacked.
In this guide, we will explain how to encrypt files in Windows using native features and third party apps. This is your choice, but most people use encryption to protect the following kinds of data assets:. Alternatively, you could use a third party encryption application. If you are looking for a way to encrypt text files such as Word documents and PDFs, you can also encrypt those files inside Microsoft Office.
And, if you want to encrypt Excel databases, you can do that too. Below we will walk you through some of the most popular methods for encrypting on your computer. The easiest and fastest way to encrypt files securely on your hard drive is to use Windows native encryption tool. This kind of encryption is secure and fast, which means it can be used to encrypt any individual files you need to secure – no matter their size.
If you are a Home Edition user, you will need to encrypt files using a third party encryption app instead, which we cover later in this guide. If you have got a compatible version of Windows 10, you can encrypt files almost right away. Before you get to this, however, you will need to do two things:. Ensure that your Windows user account has been set up with a password that is strong and hard to crack.
Using EFS requires your user account to have a password, and unless that password is strong, it might be brute forced by someone with physical access to the computer. Your file encryption will only be as strong as your user password, so make sure it is robust. Get a USB thumb drive so you can save the backup key.
This will allow you to access your encrypted files if you lose access to your user account. Password managers are very useful if you plan on password protecting your documents as they can generate long complex passwords and save them securely.
Check out our article on the best password managers for a list of the best services and the pros and cons of using one. Now that you have done the preliminary preparation steps, you are ready to enable EFS for specific files or folders. To do so, follow these simple steps:. A window will pop up asking you whether you want to encrypt the selected folder, or the folder, sub-folders, and files. Choose either Apply changes to this folder only or Apply changes to this folder, sub-folders, and files.
Now that you have encrypted your first file, Windows EFS will serve you an icon in the system tray in the bottom right-hand side of your screen.
Click on it to back up your key. On the security screen, tick the box next to Password and type in a password. You will need to enter it twice to confirm it is the right password.
Now click the filename field and type in EFSKey. Or call the file whatever you prefer. Once the backup key has been exported, keep the USB drive safe. If you ever find yourself locked out of your Windows user account, you can use the key to recover the encrypted files on your PC. BitLocker is a proprietary full volume encryption tool for Windows that lets users encrypt their entire hard drive securely.
BitLocker is different to EFS because it does not allow users to encrypt single files and folders when their operating system is running. For this kind of encryption, users will require either EFS or a third party encryption tool. It is only available for Windows Pro and Enterprise users. BitLocker is suitable for anybody who wants to ensure that their entire hard drive is encrypted every time they log out of Windows and close their computer down. Some users require FDE to comply with regulations that could lead to fines if consumer data stored on their system could be breached if a machine is stolen.
To protect valuable and sensitive company data from being accessed if a laptop is stolen or lost. Using BitLocker minimizes the potential for useful data to be recovered from old or lost hard drives.
This is a secure encryption standard, meaning that hard drives protected with BitLocker are safe against hackers for the foreseeable future. Once set up, BitLocker lets you unlock your hard drive either by using a USB dongle or by entering a password.
You can opt for either method, but if you prefer a physical key, you will need to get a USB thumb drive before setting BitLocker up. This is a special microchip that enables your device to support advanced security features.
To check if you have one simply:. If you use a USB dongle, you will still need to enter a password. Enter it and click Next. You will be given options to save a recovery key. This key lets you regain access to your encrypted hard drive if you forget your password. Options include:. Choose between New encryption mode better for internal, fixed hard drives or Compatible mode best for removable devices , and click Next.
Check the run BitLocker system check box and click Continue. When the computer launches, BitLocker will ask you to either enter your USB flash drive and enter a password, or enter the password you set up to unlock your hard drive.
How does AES encryption work? This is because they are only available on Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise or Education. In fact, using open source third party tools with strong encryption is an effective way of ensuring you secure your personal data. If you need to encrypt files and folders on your machine, we recommend using one of the following apps:.
The programs we have listed above all function slightly differently. However, they all have walkthroughs and guides on their websites to help you encrypt your data. Thus, you will need to do a little research into each program to use that specific encryption system to secure your data. On the whole, however, once installed you should be able to locate the files and folders that you want to secure in Windows file manager, and then right click on those files to select the program you wish to encrypt the files with.
Encrypted files and folders are much more secure because a password is needed to access their contents. If you store your cryptographic key or encryption password in an unencrypted file on your computer, a hacker could potentially steal it. If a hacker installs a keylogger on your device, they could steal your password when you enter it to decrypt a file. When you use EFS to encrypt a file, your computer may still store an unencrypted version of that file in its temporary memory.
The solution is to delete your temporary files to ensure that the unencrypted version is not still lying around. Depending on where you live, legislation may exist that forces you to hand over your encryption key to the government. If you are served a warrant, it may compel you to hand over access to your encrypted documents in order to comply with an investigation.
If you have an external hard drive then you should know that there is a way to encrypt the files on this device. Check out our how to encrypt an external hard drive page information about how to do this. The software we have recommended in this article lets you encrypt the data on your local hard drive.
However, you may also want to encrypt your internet traffic to gain digital privacy online. This allows your ISP to keep records of all the websites you visit. It also allows your ISP to gather your metadata. Local network administrators can also analyze and track your internet traffic when you use public WiFi hotspots, and both ISPs and WiFi providers may collect data about you and share it with the government.
Looking for something? ProPrivacy is reader supported and sometimes receives a commission when you make purchases using links on this site. Written by Ray Walsh. What should I encrypt? Encrypting in Windows using built in Encrypting File System The easiest and fastest way to encrypt files securely on your hard drive is to use Windows native encryption tool. Plug your USB thumb drive into your Windows computer. Click the EFS icon in the system tray. Click Back up now recommended.
On the Certificate Export Wizard click Next. Leave the default settings on the Export File Format screen and click Next.
Click Next. On the next screen click Browse and select your USB thumb drive. Click Save. Click Finish. Click OK. Remember Once the backup key has been exported, keep the USB drive safe. This is a free open source encryption tool that uses a strong AES cipher and robust SHA for the handshake algorithm. Veracrypt will let you encrypt single files inside an encrypted container secured with a passphrase. It will also let you encrypt partitions, and on Windows it supports full disk encryption.
This is an open source encryption tool that is available either for free or via its paid premium plan. Folder Lock. This is a popular program that lets you encrypt files and folders on the fly.
How to enable device encryption on Windows 10 Home | Windows Central – Device encryption requirements
Hello Carl and apologies for the delay in replying. It can be used for free as long as you want. I guess this is another example of Microsoft idiocy.