- Digital privacy is an important topic these days and users are more privacy-conscious than before.
- Encryption is one of the best ways to keep things private. Strong encryption using any one of the tools recommended will get the job done.
- Search no more, as all related articles are to be found in the file encryption section.
- Data protection starts with the right tools. You can find them in our Encryption Software Protection Hub.
File encryption is important if you want to protect your files from unauthorized access. There are different types of encryption, but one of the most used is a 256-bit encryption.
Encrypting your files is rather simple, and today we’re going to show you the best 256-bit encryption software.
Some users wonder what is the difference between 128 bit vs 256 bit encryption. Basically, they are the same, the only difference is the length of the encryption key. Generally speaking, the key with the longest length is more secure. Thus, 256-bit encryption is stronger than 128-bit.
The encryption and decryption can be performed by a software program installed on your computer, such as the following recommended ones, or by a hardware chip. In this case, we usually refer to this as AES 256-bit hardware encryption.
So here we go, the best AES encryption software.
256-bit encryption software for PC
With WinZip, you get two advantages in one single package.
First, you can create zip archives will multiple files. This way it is easier to move them, to share them, or it just makes it easier to organize yourself. Moreover, compressing the files will take up less storage.
Secondly, you have the option of encrypting your zip archive. WinZip offers the option to encrypt the files that you’ve selected to add to the archive with a strong 256-bit AES encryption. You can also choose 128-bit encryption.
Other great features besides the ability to encrypt the files are:
- converting files to PDF
- merging multiple PDFs into a single file
- e-signature support
- Windows Shell integration
- support for a lot of different formats
WinZip256-bit encryption option available for zip archives to protect your data. Use WinZip to enjoy all the extra benefits
Folder Lock (suggested)
Another professional tool that can encrypt your files, folders, and drives is Folder Lock. Using this tool you can easily lock any folder and prevent other users from accessing it. The application supports on-the-fly AES 256-bit encryption which allows you to easily encrypt any file.
The application also works with removable storage, optical media, and email attachments. In addition to file encryption, you can create password wallets and store important information including credit card data and passwords. Lastly, you can permanently delete your files using the shredding feature.
Folder Lock is a great tool that can protect any file, folder, or drive with 256-bit encryption. The application offers a friendly interface, so it’s perfect for first-time users. The trial version is available for download, but if you want to continue using this tool, you need to purchase a license.
Folder LockOn-the-fly 256-bit encryption provided by Folder Lock and their digital Locker. Many other protection features available too.
If you’re looking for multi-platform 256-bit encryption software, AES Crypt might be perfect for you. This tool is available for Windows, Android, MacOS, and Linux, so you won’t have any problems using it on different platforms. The application is simple to use, and you can encrypt a file simply by right-clicking it and choosing the desired option.
All encrypted files are protected with a password so unauthorized users won’t be able to access them. It’s worth mentioning that there’s also a command-line version available which is perfect if you’re an advanced user and you want to encrypt your files quickly.
AES Crypt is a solid tool and it’s perfect for both first-time and advanced users alike. The application is completely free and available on several different platforms. As a result, even if you don’t use Windows you’re able to use AES Crypt without any issues.
Another free 256-bit encryption software is VeraCrypt. This is a multi-platform tool and it’s available for Windows, MacOS X, Linux, and even Raspberry Pi. VeraCrypt offers advanced encryption features, so it’s more secure than other encryption tools on the market. The application supports 256-bit encryption and it will protect all your files with a password. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to access your files if you lose your password, so be sure to remember it.
The application is relatively simple to use, and you just have to create a virtual volume and choose a save location for it. After doing that, you need to set different parameters such as encryption and hash algorithm. Lastly, you need to set the size of the volume and its password. After doing that, your encrypted drive will be ready, and you just have to mount it from VeraCrypt. Once you mount your encrypted drive and enter its password, you should be able to access your files without any problems.
VeraCrypt is a great encryption software, and if you need to protect your files with 256-bit encryption be sure to consider this tool. The application also offers some advanced features, so it’s perfect for advanced users as well. VeraCrypt is relatively simple to use and completely free, so be sure to try it out.
If you’re looking for simple encryption software, AxCrypt might be just what you need. The application offers both 128-bit and 256-bit encryption, and it fully supports cloud sharing services. There’s also support for collaboration so you can easily work with other users on encrypted files. AxCrypt also supports password management, so you can use it to store passwords and other important data.
It’s worth mentioning that the application supports folder encryption, so you can encrypt individual folders or files with ease. The application supports drag and drop method, so you can easily encrypt your files. The tool also supports File Explorer integration allowing you to encrypt files simply by right-clicking them.
The application is rather simple to use, and you can access encrypted files simply by double-clicking them. The application doesn’t have any backdoors, so if you lose your password you won’t be able to access your files at all. We have to mention that AxCrypt is available as a portable application, so you can run it on any PC without installing it.
AxCrypt offers simple to use interface so you should be able to encrypt your files with ease. We have to mention that there are two versions of this tool available, Free and Premium. The Free version offers 128-bit encryption while the Premium version offers 256-bit encryption. In addition, the Premium version offers other features such as support for secure folders, mobile apps, password management, etc. If you’re looking for a simple file encryption tool, AxCrypt will be perfect, but it’s biggest flaw is the lack of 256-bit encryption in the Free version.
If you don’t want to use third-party solutions for encryption, you might want to consider BitLocker. This feature was available on Windows since Windows Vista, and it’s also available on Windows 10. This feature supports both 128-bit and 256-bit encryption and it’s available on Pro, Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 10.
This tool doesn’t offer individual file or folder encryption which can be a flaw for some users. On the other hand, the application supports volume encryption so you can protect an entire volume with ease. If you want to encrypt individual files, you can create a new volume and move the desired files to it.
As for encryption, the device supports three different modes: transparent, user authentication and USB key mode. The transparent mode utilizes TPM chip for authentication, however this authentication method is vulnerable to cold boot attacks. User authentication mode allows you to access encrypted drives by using your PIN code or password. Lastly, there’s a USB Key Mode that allows you to authenticate using a USB flash drive.
BitLocker offers solid protection and it’s available on certain versions of Windows 10. Only flaw of BitLocker is the inability to encrypt individual files and directories, but that isn’t a major problem.
Another great tool that allows you to encrypt your files is Gpg4win. This tool allows you to encrypt folders or files right from the File Explorer. To do that, simply right click the desired file and choose the encrypt option from the menu. In addition to encryption, the application allows you to create checksums and use them to verify file integrity.
Besides files and folders, this tool also allows you to sign and encrypt your emails in Outlook. Using this tool you can encrypt email messages as well as attached files. This feature is rather straightforward and it allows you to easily decrypt messages in Outlook. In addition, you can also manage certificates by using this tool.
Gpg4win is a great tool, and it offers advanced features such as email encryption which can be rather useful. As for file encryption, you can easily encrypt your files simply by right-clicking them. If you’re looking for a powerful encryption tool that offers some advanced features, be sure to try Gpg4win.
7-Zip is a small and lightweight file archiver, but it also supports file encryption for archives. This tool can create archives in 7z format that offers high compression ratio. In addition, the tool can also unpack 30 different file types, and you can create 6 types of archives with this tool.
The application supports self-extraction for 7z format and full integration with Windows Shell. There’s also a built-in file manager as well as support for command line. It’s worth mentioning that there’s support for 256-bit encryption for 7z and ZIP formats, so you can easily encrypt your files.
7-Zip is lightweight and completely free file archiver and it also offers solid file encryption features. We have to mention that you can’t use this tool to encrypt your system drive or an entire partition, which is its only flaw. However, if you’re looking for a powerful archiving software that supports encryption, we strongly recommend to consider 7-Zip.
Another free application that can encrypt your partition is DiskCryptor. This tool allows you to encrypt any partition, including your system drive. DiskCryptor supports AES, Twofish and Serpent encryption algorithms while offering 256-bit encryption. According to developer, the tool offers high performance as well as transparent encryption for disk partitions and full support for dynamic disks.
In addition, the tool offers high performance as well as support for hardware AES acceleration. We have to mention that DiskCrytor can also encrypt CD and DVD discs as well as USB storage devices. If you need extra security, you should know that you can easily combine two or more encryption methods.
DiskCryptor is a great tool and it offers extra security to its users. The application is completely free, so be sure to try it out.
Another great application for file encryption is Challenger. The application can encrypt files, folders and entire drives. We have to mention that you can use this tool as a portable application, so there’s no need to install it on your PC. The tool is relatively simple to use, and you just have to select the desired files and drag and drop them to the application. Of course, you can also choose the desired files from the dialog.
The application supports multiple passphrases so you can protect different types of files with different passwords. In addition, you can easily manage all your passphrases from this application. If needed, you can also set favorite files and folders in order to quickly access them.
Once the application encrypts your files it will change their extension so you won’t be able to access them at all. In fact, the only way to access a file is to unlock it from Challenger. If needed, you can also add a Challenger option to the context menu in order to encrypt files more easily.
This is a decent tool, but it might take you a while to get used to it, especially if you’re not familiar with file encryption tools. We also have to mention that this tool doesn’t have a list of encrypted files, which makes decrypting harder than it needs to be.
The free version offers 128-bit encryption and it doesn’t offer support for network drives. If you want to use 256-bit encryption, you must purchase the full version. Challenger is a solid application, but due to its design, it might be hard for some users to manage their encrypted files.
Another great tool that can encrypt your files is Cryptainer PE. This tool offers 448-bit encryption which is impossible to break according to the developers. The application will create an encrypted drive which you can use to store any files to it. Each encrypted drive can be up to 25GB in size, which is more than enough for most users. In addition, you can easily encrypt any file, directory, removable or optical drive. If needed, you can also install the application to a USB flash drive and use it on any PC.
Besides file encryption, you can also encrypt your emails for extra protection. This tool is simple to use, and thanks to the drag and drop method it’s perfect for all users. We have to mention that Cryptainer PE isn’t free, but you can download Cryptainer LE for free. This version is completely free and it offers the same features, however, LE version can only create drives that are 100MB in size, which is a major problem for some users. If you want to encrypt larger files with this tool, you’ll have to purchase the PE version.
If you’re looking for a professional application that offers 256-bit encryption, Kruptos 2 might be perfect for you. Using this tool you can easily encrypt any file from your hard drive regardless of its size. The application also offers auto encryption so it will automatically encrypt your files once you’re done with editing. It’s also worth mentioning that this tool can encrypt file names making unauthorized users unable to see the names of your files.
The application works on multiple platforms and you can easily work with encrypted files on Windows, Mac, Android or iOS devices. There’s also cloud support so you can easily upload encrypted files to Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive. The application also offers Windows integration allowing you to easily encrypt files by using the context menu.
Kruptos 2 also has a file shredder feature that can permanently delete your files. As for additional features, there is email attachments encryption and secure notes. We also have to mention that this tool can create self-decrypting files which can be rather useful.
Kruptos 2 is a powerful encryption tool and it offers an amazing user interface along with a wide range of features. The application is available for a free trial, but if you want to continue using it, you’ll need to obtain a license.
Another great tool that can protect and encrypt your files using 256-bit encryption is CryptoForge. The application is rather simple to use and it can work with files that are up to 16TB in size. As for encrypted files, you can easily share them with others. Regarding decryption, the receiving party can decrypt received files without using CryptoForge. If you’re concerned about the safety of your files, you should know that this tool supports multiple encryption methods that will secure the files even further.
The application can encrypt files and directories on any kind of drive including network drives. There’s also a built-in file shredder and compression feature available that can help you save some space. In addition, the tool offers file name encryption so it will keep the file names hidden from unauthorized users. Lastly, the tool is perfect for advanced users since it offers command-line encryption allowing you to easily encrypt files with just a single command.
CryptoForge doesn’t contain any backdoors, so you won’t be able to restore your password if you lose it, therefore be extra cautious. The application is available for a free trial, but if you want to continue using it, you’ll need to purchase a license.
If you’re looking for a lightweight and free software that offers 256-bit encryption, this one might be perfect for you. This application offers 256-bit Twofish encryption and it can easily protect any file or directory. The application uses personal vaults to encrypt your files, and you can create unlimited number of vaults that are 2000GB in size. The application can run from USB flash drives and it can create self-extracting encrypted vaults.
SafeHouse Explorer is simple and completely free, but there are also paid Personal and Professional versions available. Professional version offers 448-bit encryption and it supports AES, Blowfish and other encryption methods. In addition, both Professional and Personal versions offer command-line support, so they might be more suitable for advanced users.
If you need a simple encryption software, you should definitely consider Privacy Drive. The application uses virtual disk and on the fly technology so you can easily encrypt your files. In fact, the application is so simple to use that you can encrypt files by using drag and drop method. As for encryption, we have to mention that this tool supports both AES 128-bit and AES 256-bit encryption, so your files will remain safe at all times.
The application is rather fast and there’s no limit on the number of files you can encrypt. It’s worth mentioning that encrypted volumes don’t have any signatures so they can’t be identified as encrypted volumes or containers. In addition, the application doesn’t have any backdoors, so your data will remain protected from unauthorized access.
Privacy Drive is simple, fast and reliable encryption software, and it’s available for a free trial. If you want to continue using this tool, you’ll need to obtain a license.
Protecting your files is important, and if you’re looking for a professional file encryption software, you might be interested in this application. The application offers 20 different encryption algorithms such as AES, Blowfish, Twofish, GOST and others. There’s also Windows integration so you can easily encrypt files from the Windows context menu.
The application can encrypt any file or directory, and if you need extra security you can use your USB flash drive to store encryption keys. There’s also a file shredder feature that can delete any file and make it completely irrecoverable. It’s worth mentioning that the application supports both symmetric and asymmetric encryption. If you’re an advanced user, you’ll be pleased to hear that this application supports a command-line interface, so you can easily encrypt files using the command line.
The application also allows you to share encrypted files easily, and you can create self-decrypting files or encrypted optical discs. Lastly, the application also has a Clipboard Encryptor feature that can easily encrypt any text from your clipboard, so it’s perfect if you want to send completely secure text data.
Advanced Encryption Package 2017 is simple to use and it offers some advanced features, so it’s perfect for both basic and advanced users alike. The application is available for a free trial, but if you want to continue using it, you’ll need to purchase a license.
Security of your files is rather important, and if you want to protect them from unauthorized access, be sure to try one of these 256-bit encryption tools.
FAQ: Learn more about 256-bit encryption software
- What does 256 bit encryption mean?
It’s an encryption method that uses a 256-bit key to perform the encryption and decryption operation. Very useful for protecting your privacy.
- Can 256 bit encryption be cracked?
A brute-force attack is virtually impossible because the time it would take is too long. That’s why it is highly recommended by governments as well as companies working in critical domains.
- How many combinations in 256 bit encryption?
The number of combinations is 2^256 which is such a big number that a brute-force attack would take way too long (if at all possible). As such, any software that performs 256-bit encryption is good.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.Editor's Note: This article was originally published in August 2017 and was revamped and updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.