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How to encrypt folders on Windows

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How to encrypt folders on Windows: Are you tired of nosy friends and family who use your PC without permission to “comb through” the folders containing your personal data? Well, what are you waiting for to encrypt folders on Windows ? If you don’t know, there are free programs that allow you to protect your personal data with a password making it almost impossible to access it.

How do you say? I intrigued you and now would you like to know more? Fantastic! Even if, from what I understand, you are not very familiar with computer science, I guarantee that if you follow the “straight” step by step that I will give you in the next few minutes, you will have no problem keeping your files away from your eyes prying.

If you are ready to start, I would say to put aside the chatter and go straight to the action: get comfortable, take all the time you need to concentrate on reading the next paragraphs, try the various programs listed in this tutorial and then use those that seem most suitable to your needs. I just have to wish you happy reading and make you a big good luck for everything!

VeraCrypt (Windows / macOS / Linux)

The safest way to encrypt folders on Windows is to create encrypted volumes , which can be mounted and unmounted as if they were external disks. One of the most famous software for creating encrypted volumes is  VeraCrypt , a free and open source program available for Windows, macOS and Linux: let’s find out together how to download it and, above all, how to use it to protect files and folders.

To download VeraCrypt on your PC, connected to its  official website  and then click on the link  VeraCrypt Setup x.xx.exe  which is located next to the Windows icon  . When the download is complete, start the .exe file you got and follow the wizard to complete the setup: then click the Yes button  , put a check mark on the  I accept the license terms box , click the Next  button  for two times in a row and click the Install , OK , Finish  and  No buttons  .

Once you have installed and started the program, change the interface language to Italian: click on the item  Language … from the Settings menu , select the Italian option   and, finally, click on the OK button  . After changing the language, you can proceed with the creation of the protected volume: click on the button  Create a volume … , put the check mark on the box located next to the item  Create an encrypted container file , click on the Next button  , select the item  Volume VeraCrypt standard  and then click again on the Next button .

Now, click on the Select file … button  , choose the folder where you want to save the volume you are creating with VeraCrypt, write the name of the latter in the corresponding text box and then click on the Save and  Next buttons  . Then choose the encoding and confusion algorithms to be used for volume encryption (if you do not know what to choose, leave the options set by default, i.e. the AES encoding  algorithm  and the SHA-512 confusion  algorithm ), click on the Next button  , indicate the maximum size you want to assign to your volume by choosing the unit of measurement you prefer ( KB , MB , GBor TB ), then indicating the amount of memory in the appropriate text field and, finally, click on the Next button  .

Now the time has come for you, that is to choose the password to use to protect your volume: after creating a sufficiently secure password (if you don’t know how to do it, take a look at the guide where I explain how to create secure passwords ) , enter it in the Password and  Confirm text fields   and then click on the Next button  . Then select the file system you want to use for your encrypted volume by selecting one of the options available in the File system drop-down menu (eg FAT , exFAT , or NTFS, if you need to store rather large files). After choosing the most suitable file system for your needs, click on the Format button   and then on the OK  and  Exit buttons  .

Did you see that it was not at all difficult to create an encrypted volume with VeraCrypt? I guarantee that it is still easier to access: you have to do is select one of the drive letters from those included in the main program window (eg. A: , B: , G:  and so on), click the button  Select file …  located at the bottom right and then select the encrypted archive you created a little while ago.

Finally, click on the Mount button  , type the password that you have set when creating the volume in the Password text field   and click the OK button . If you have entered the correct password, you can view the icon of the unit created with VeraCrypt in the sections  This PCComputer or My Computer  (depending on the version of the operating system in use). You just have to double-click on the drive letter you chose previously and you’re done: you can manage the files located inside the volume just like you would with a USB stick or an external disk.

Ah … I almost forgot! When you have finished your work, do not forget to “unmount” the volume by going to the main VeraCrypt window, selecting the chosen unit and then clicking on the Unmount button  .

Easy File Locker (Windows)

Does VeraCrypt seem a little too complicated to use? Would you like to protect your folders with software a little more within your reach? Easy File Locker could be the right solution: it is, in fact, a very light free program for Windows (weighs just over 220KB) and easy to use, which allows you to block access to personal folders in a matter of clicks.

To download Easy File Locker, first connect to the program’s website and click on the Download (32-bit version) or Download (64-bit version) link   according to the version of the operating system you use (if you don’t know which version of Windows is installed on your PC, take a look at the tutorial where I explain how to find out). When the download is complete, open the .exe file you just downloaded and follow the wizard to complete the installation of Easy File Locker: first click on the Yes button   and then on Next , I Agree , again on  Next , Install andFinish .

In the main Easy File Locker window, click on the Add Folder button (the folder icon with the + symbol located at the top left)  and, in the Files & Foldeers Settings box that opens, click on the symbol (…) and select the folder you want to encrypt. Then remove the tick from the Accesible item to make it inaccessible (if you want, you can also choose whether to make the folder visible or not by ticking the Visible item or not ) and click on the OK button  to save the changes just made.

Then select the path relative to the folder you have chosen to protect (it is located in the File & Folders section of the main Easy File Locker window), click on the yellow key symbol located at the top and protect the selected folder by setting a secure password : type in the fields Please input your new password and Please confirm your new password  the access key with which you want to encrypt the folder, then click on the OK  button twice in succession and close the program.

When a user tries to access the folder you have encrypted, the message Access denied will be shown . To make the folder you have encrypted accessible again, start the Easy File Folder again, type the password you have set just now, select the folder you want to unlock, double-click on it, put the check next to all the items and click the OK button to save the settings.

7-Zip (Windows)

Another solution you can adopt to encrypt folders on Windows is 7-Zip , a very famous program for creating  compressed archives , which allows you to set a password to protect your documents. Before explaining how to proceed, however, I would like to tell you that encrypting folders by creating encrypted compressed archives is not a 100% secure solution, since it may be relatively simple to find out the password (as I have already shown you in a other  guide ).

If you have decided to use 7-Zip to encrypt folders on your PC, install the program: connect to its  Internet site  and click on the Download link   located next to the wording .exe 64-bit x64 or .exe 32-bit x86 (based on the version of Windows  installed on your PC). When the download is complete, open the .exe file you just downloaded and complete the setup by clicking on the YesInstall  and  Close buttons  .

Now, locate the folder you want to protect, right click on its icon and select the  7-Zip> Add to archive …  item from the context menu. In the Add to archive window , proceed with the actual creation of the archive: select 7z or zip from the Format menu  of  the archive (the tar and wim options do not allow you to protect the folders with a password); enter the secure password you intend to use to encrypt the folder in the text fields  Enter password and  Re- enter  password , select the  AES-256 item from the drop-down menu Cryptographic method , put the check mark on the item  Encrypt the names of the files and, to conclude, click on the OK button  .

Now you just have to double-click on the newly created archive (in order to open it) and enter the access password to extract it. I also suggest you check that all the files are in their place and then proceed to delete the original folder containing the personal files you have decided to encrypt: to do so, press the Shift key  , right click on the folder icon to be delete, select the Delete item   from the context menu and, finally, click the Yes  button  to permanently delete the folder.

HiddenDIR (Windows)

HiddenDIR  is another excellent program to hide folders that can be used for free on all versions of Windows (being a portable software, it is not necessary to carry out tedious installation procedures). How does it work? In practice HiddenDIR allows you to hide folders and set a password that does not allow snoopers to access its settings and change. Even if you activate the Windows setting related to the display of hidden files, the hidden folders with HiddenDIR remain invisible until they are unlocked with the program itself. Interesting, right? Then try it now!

To begin with, download HiddenDIR on your PC: connect to the official website of the program  and click on the blue Download button located at the bottom of the page (in the Download Version xx section ). Then extract the contents of the zip file you just downloaded into any folder and start the HiddenDIR.exe file contained in the HiddenDIR vxx folder .

Once the program has started, click on the Hide button (the green folder icon with the padlock ) and select the folder you want to hide. Then click on the Password button (the yellow key icon located at the top), enter the  secure password  you want to protect HiddenDIR in the Password and Confirm password text fields and, finally, click on the Set password  button and close the program.

If you want to make a hidden folder visible again, start HiddenDIR again, type the password you have set to protect the program and click OK to access it. Then put the check mark on the Select to Unhide item and then click on the Unhide  button located at the top: as if by “magic”, the folder will return to being visible.