Encrypting a certain file or folder is probably the best way to keep it safe, so only you can access that file or folder. Microsoft developers decided not to change the way you encrypt your data in Windows 10 from how it was done in previous versions of Windows, but it won’t do any harm if we remind ourselves of how to encrypt files and folders in Windows
Software and ways to encrypt files or folders in Windows 10
Method 1 – Use Encrypted File Service
Probably the fastest way to encrypt your files and folders in Windows 10 (and any other version of Windows since XP) is to use its built in encryption tool, called EFS (Encrypted File Service). This is a very simple encryption tool, and you’ll make your files protected in a couple of minutes, with just a couple of clicks.
But before we show you how to encrypt your files with EFS, we have to warn you that you’ll be able to access the encrypted file only with the login of the account you encrypted the file with. Other user accounts (if with administrative permissions) won’t be able to access it. So, make sure to remember or write down the password somewhere, or your file will stay locked forever.
Now we can get to work. Here’s exactly what you need to do to encrypt your files with Encrypted File Service:
- Right-click on the file/folder you want to encrypt and go to Properties
- On the General tab, click the Advanced button
- Under Compress and encrypt attributes section, click on Encrypt content to secure data
- Click OK and close Properties window
- Apply changes to the folder, subfolders and files when prompted
That’s that, your folder is now encrypted and its text is shown in green color. All subfolders and files of the encrypted folder are encrypted as well, but if you want to change that, repeat the process above, and choose “Apply changes to this folder only” instead of “Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files.”
How to Backup Your Encryption Key
Just in case, you should backup your encryption key on the other device, in case you forget it. Windows knows that, and it will offer you an option to backup your encryption key right after you create it. To backup your encryption key, do the following:
- Click on Back up your encryption key popup, when prompted
- Choose Backup Now
- Follow the instructions from the wizard
- Now, enter and re-enter your password
- Choose a place to which you’ll save your certificate and give a name to your encryption backup file
- Click Next, and then Finish and your backup is done
Method 2 – Encrypt Your Files Using a Third-Party Encryption Tool (recommended)
If you think that Windows’ own encryption tool isn’t good enough for your files, you can try with some third-party encryption software. Actually, a right third-party tool is even better choice than EFS, because it offers more options, so you’ll be able to keep your files as safe as possible.
There are a lot of free encrypting tools out there, but in my opinion, the best choices Folder Locker, TrueCrypt, VeraCrypt and AxCrypt. So, you already know what to do, just download the encryption tool you want to use to make your files secure and explore all of its encrypting options.
However, do not neglect the fact that the paid version of a software is better. It has much more features and it is prioritized when it needs support from developers. We recommend you BitDefender 2018 suite. BitDefender has its own encryption tool : File Vault. If you are searching for a paid version – BitDefender is Nr.1 at the moment.
Method 3 – Encrypt Your Files Using Microsoft Office
Probably the most common type of files you would encrypt is some Office document. Luckily every ‘part’ of Microsoft Office has its own tool which you can use to keep your files encrypted and safe. Here’s what you need to do to encrypt your Office files with Office’s own encryption tool:
- Open the Office file you want to encrypt with a proper Office application
- Go to File Tab
- Under Info, click on Protect the document
- Choose Encrypt with password
- Enter your password and press Enter, and then, re-enter your password
- Click OK
Your Office document is now encrypted, and you’ll have to enter a password you set before to access it.
I think this is all you need to know about the encryption of your files and folders in Windows 10. As you can see, there are a couple of methods to keep your files safe, so it’s completely up to you which one you’ll use. If you have some questions or comments, just reach for the comments section below.
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