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It’s important to keep your sensitive data safe. Nowadays, you can password protect any document or folder that you deem relevant by following a few simple steps.

But first, let me give you a little tip. Before password protecting any document you may wish to create a backup of the non-password protected folder and files in case you forget the password in the future.

If you are using Windows XP professional edition on a computer that has different accounts, this are the steps you have to follow:

  1. Select the folder you wish to encrypt.
  2. Right-click the folder and click Properties.
  3. Click the Advanced button.
  4. Check “Encrypt contents to secure data” option.
  5. Click Apply and then Ok.

 

After you are done, the encrypted data should be grayed out. If you are using Windows XP home edition, this should also be a fairly easy process. Here are the steps:

 

  1. Select the folder you wish to encrypt.
  2. Right-click the folder and click Properties.
  3. Click the Sharing tab.
  4. Check the box Make this folder private
  5. Click Apply and then Ok.

 

Like in the previous example, the encrypted folder should be grayed out. There are a couple requirements that you need to follow, in order to be able to encrypt and safe guard those files and folders.

 

  1. The hard drive must be formatted in NTFS and not FAT32 File System.
  2. The folder you’re attempting to encrypt must be in your own personal folder. For example, if your name is bob, you must be encrypting a folder that is or that is contained within the below folder: C:Documents and SettingsBob

Files and folders not frequently used

 

Now, if you need to password protect files or folders that you do not frequently use, one of the simplest ways is to compress the folder and files with a compression utility and password protect the compressed file. However, each time you wish to work or modify the files you will need to uncompress the files using the password.

Windows ME and Windows XP users – Microsoft Windows ME and Windows XP come with their own compression utility. This utility can also be used to compress and password protect files.

You should know that when a file is compressed, users can still view a listing of the files in the compressed file. If you wish for both your file names and the contents to be hidden, move all the files into a single folder and password protect that folder.

 

File and folders frequently used or accessed

 

If you need to password protect or encrypt data you frequently use, you will need to install a third-party program that will enable you to protect your files and folders. Below are some free and commercial solutions.

  • AxCrypt – An excellent free encryption utility that enables users to encrypt all files within a folder and not allow those files to be viewed unless a passphrase (password) is known.
  • WinCry – A freeware utility that enables your files to be encrypted, secure deletion, as well as other helpful methods of protecting your files.
  • Folder Guard – A commercial version of a password protection software that enables you to password protect files, folders, and other Windows resources.

Anyway, there are a few other things you should know too. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as a 100% protected file. There are numerous tools, utilities, and instructions for how to break a lot of the encryption and passwords on files. However, the protection methods listed above will protect your files from the majority of users who may encounter them. If you’re working with really sensitive data we suggest a commercial product for protecting your files and data. Also, even though a file or folder may be password protected it still can be deleted (unless the program supports the ability to protect files from being deleted). Always remember to backup all your files, even those protected by passwords. And last, but not least, if you forget the password, unless you’re willing to spend the time attempting to break it or pay someone else to break the password, all your file data will be lost. Unless you’ve made a backup of the non-password protected data. If you need any further help to protect your files, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We can help you!