How to Password Protect a Folder in Windows?

Smartphones and laptops are often misplaced, so it’s essential to ensure that all your confidential files and folders are adequately protected. One of the best ways is to password protect your data on your MacBook and Windows 10 PC. We have explained how to password protect your files and folders on Mac, so now, we will know how to lock and password protect your files, files, and folders on Windows 10 PC.

The world has news of data leaks and hacking attacks every day. The privacy and security of your online data are more critical than ever. Therefore, please follow our tutorial below to protect your confidential files and folders in Windows 10 with a password. Even if an unauthorized person accesses your laptop, it will ensure that your privacy is not compromised. How to password protect a folder? Let us understand.

How to password-protect files and folders in Windows 10?

1. BitLocker Encryption

BitLocker is a volume encryption feature built into some newer versions of Windows, starting with Windows Vista. You can use it to encrypt, and the password protects any non-system partition that you cannot recover in Windows 10. To encrypt the drive, follow these steps:

Note: BitLocker is only available for Professional, Enterprise, and Educational editions of Windows 10, so if you are utilizing Windows 10 Home Edition, this alternative will not work for you.

  • To enable BitLocker, you must first type “BitLocker” in the Windows search bar and then press “Enter” to open the BitLocker Drive Encryption Settings page. Here, on your Windows 10 PC, click “Enable BitLocker” for the drive you want to password protect.
    BitLocker’ for the drive
  • After the encryption is implemented, you enter the password of your choice after each restart to access the drive.
    enter your chosen password following every restart

2. Built-in encryption alternative

Windows 10 provides another local option to encrypt and protect your folders. This method does not add password protection to the folder, but it will ensure that other user accounts cannot access the folder. Once the folder is encrypted, you can only access it through your user account and password. It works as follows:

  • Right-press on the target folder and select “Properties.” On the General tab, press the “Advanced” button and enable “Encrypt content to protect data.” Then click “OK” to apply the encryption attributes to the folder. When done, you will see a padlock symbol on the folder icon.
    Built-in Encryption Option

Note: This feature is hardware-dependent and not available on all devices. If it is not available on your computer, the “Encrypt content to protect data” option will be grayed out. It is how to password protect a folder.

3. Third-party utilities

One of the great utilities to lock folders in Windows 10 is a free program called Easy File Locker. The software gives you options to hide folders, make them inaccessible, reject any changes, and make them unforgettable. All you must do is set a password in Easy File Locker and select a file or folder. Choose then between access, write, delete, and visibility options and press “Start protection.” After locking a folder or file, you can only unlock it by entering the selected password.

Third-Party Utilities: Easy File Locker, Folder Guard & More

Windows 10 has several other folder lock programs available, such as Folder Guard (free trial version) and Folder Lock (free trial version). Please note that both are paid apps, each priced at $39.95. If you are looking for free software other than Easy File Locker, you can check SecretFolder (free), which in most cases also works as advertised. However, I recommend Easy File Locker because it is free, easy to use, and feature-rich.

4. File compression tools: 7Z, WinZip, WinRAR, etc.

You can also utilize archiving tools, such as 7Zip (free), WinZip (free), or WinRAR (free), to compress the folder and add password protection to it through the archive option. To do this, please install any of the programs. Ensure to permit the installer to add appropriate alternatives to the Windows Explorer right-click context menu. If you don’t understand what this is, please use the default settings to install.

Note: We use WinRAR for demonstration, but you can also use 7Z or WinZip. All three can password protect your folders in Windows 10.

  • After installing the program, you will see the option “Add to file” (or similar) in the context menu of Windows Explorer. So go ahead, right-click on the destination folder and select that option.
    File Compression Tools: 7Z, WinZip, WinRAR, etc.
  • Then click “Set password.”
    Set password
  • In the next pop-up window, enter the password and press OK. The system will now archive the folder, and a password will be required to decompress it. It is how to password protect a folder.
    require a password for decompression

5. OneDrive Personal Vault

Another option for password-protecting confidential files in Windows 10 is OneDrive Personal Vault. OneDrive is a cloud storage service of Microsoft that can compete with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Apple iCloud. However, the service distinguishes itself by providing you with a “personal vault” on the web, mobile apps, and Windows 10.

Personal Vault not only allows users to password protect files and folders on their devices, but it also offers an additional layer of safety using two-factor authentication. (2FA). It applies to OneDrive family and personal plans, but not to OneDrive for business or work and school accounts. To use this feature, log in to OneDrive, and you will see your Vault next to all other folders.

OneDrive Personal Vault

 Note: If you don’t have a Microsoft 365 personal or family subscription, you can only store up to three files in your OneDrive private vault. If you get a subscription, you can add as many files as you want (without exceeding your storage limit).

Hence, this is how to password protect a folder.