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How to password protect a folder on a Windows PC to safeguard your files

Highlights

  • Microsoft Windows 10 has built-in folder password protection
  • Once set, the password cannot be recovered if forgotten
  • The feature is available only in Windows 10 Pro

Have you ever had sensitive documents in a folder and wondered how to password protect a folder? You’re not alone. There are tons of software, paid and free, which allow users to password protect folders and files on their computer. However, did you know that Microsoft Windows has a built-in password protection feature for folders?

Also read: How to take a screenshot on Windows 10: three different ways

However, this particular feature is not available to all Microsoft Windows users. In order to be able to password protect a folder on your laptop, you will need to be on the Microsoft Windows 10 Pro edition. Most premium and high-end laptops come with the operating system pre-installed on them. In case you have a Windows 10 Pro laptop and wondering how to password protect a folder, you can follow the steps below.

How to password protect a folder on a Windows PC: step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guide to password protect a folder on a Windows PC

Step-by-step guide to password protect a folder on a Windows PC

In order to lock a folder on a Windows 10 Pro laptop, you will have to go to the ‘Properties’ of the folder. Do bear in mind, that in case you forget the password, there’s no way to recover it so write down the password somewhere. For additional measure, copy the contents of the folder on an external drive for backup.

With that in mind, below are the steps to password protect a folder on a Windows PC.

  1. Open your laptop and find the folder you want to lock.
  2. Right-click on the folder and select ‘Properties’.
  3. Click on ‘Advanced’ in the ‘General’ tab.
  4. At the bottom of the ‘Advanced Attributes’ menu that pops up, check the ‘Encrypt contents to secure data’ box.
  5. Click ‘OK’.
  6. You will be taken back to the main ‘Properties’ window, click ‘Apply’.
  7. Next, ‘Confirm Attribute Changes’ menu will pop up, choose between ‘Apply changes to this folder only’ or ‘Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files’.
  8. Click ‘OK’.
  9. Click ‘Backup now’ to backup your file encryption key.
  10. Connect a USB pen drive and follow the on-screen instructions to export the encryption key to the drive.

The last two steps are crucial so that you don’t lose access to the protected folder in the future. In case you choose to skip these steps and forget the password, you will not be able to access the folder anymore.

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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.