How to password protect compressed folders in Windows 10

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Dealing with compressed files and folders might seem a bit more challenging than handling regular formats.
  • It's actually easy to protect zip files and we're going to show you how to do just that.
  • If you joggle with images a lot, you might be wondering how to save some space on your HDD. Check out these Best Image Compression Tools.
  • Explore our Encryption & Data Protection Hub as well to keep all your digital assets secure at all times.

Encrypting a folder with a password has been an essential feature since the beginning of the Windows OS era.

It’s still the case with Windows 10. Now, even though a lot of alternative measures were added, a majority of users will go with the simple password protection to prevent people from interfering with their data on a shared PC.

Now, many of those will compress folders to save space with a third-party compression tool. And the combination of the two is what we’re going to talk about today. Or how to password protect a compressed folder in Windows 10.

How to password protect a compressed folder in Windows 10

  1. Use system resources
  2. Use a third-party compression tool

1. Use system resources

The first method to password protect a folder in Windows 10 is via the Folder properties. If you’re not familiar with using a third-party compression tool for this job, Windows OS has you covered. The procedure is rather simple.

Just make sure you have all the files inside before encrypting the folder. You can apply only one or the other (compress it or encrypt it) with system resources.

Here’s how to password-protect a folder on Windows 10:

  1. Navigate to the folder and make sure all files you want to encrypt are inside.
  2. Right-click on the folder and open Properties.
  3. Under the General tab, click Advanced.
  4. Check the Encrypt contents to secure data box.Encrypt contents to secure data
  5. Choose Apply changes to this folder only and click OK.Apply changes to this folder only
  6. Backup your encryption key when prompted.

2. Use a third-party compression tool

The second method requires any third-party compression tool, like famous WinZip, WinRar, 7Zip, or any other. These tools are favored over the system compression and password encryption for various reasons, as you have a lot more options to choose from.

Namely, archive format, compression level, compression method, and encryption method along with others.

Install WinZIP

Compatible with all major file formats, this tool allows provides you with a complete file management suite to handle your files effortlessly, share them, back them up and protect them according to your wishes.

Here’s a quick guide to help you start password-protecting files with WinZIP in no time:

  1. Download WinZip (free) from this link
  2. Click Create/Share on the top options encrypt password protect winzip
  3. Activate the Encrypt option in the right ACTIONS menu
  4. Place your file into the NewZip.zip center space
  5. The set your password window will appearset zip password winzip
  6. After setting your password, you also will need to activate the encryption setting

Now, let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Extract multiple files
  • Repair ZIP files
  • Powerful compression tools
  • Compatible with all major formats including Zip, Zipx, RAR, 7Z, GZ, ISO, TAR, IMG and more
  • Encryption and password-protect ZIP files
  • Archiving tools
  • Integrated File Manager and File Splitter
  • Data back-up and sharing options
WinZip

WinZip

The world's best compression software is there to help you protect your ZIP files.

Free Trial Visit website

Bonus: Here’s how to archive a folder and encrypt it with a password on 7Zip (the procedure is similar on WinRar):

  1. Decompress folder (if it’s already compressed).
  2. Right-click on the folder and, from the contextual menu, choose 7Zip > Add to archive
  3. Choose the archive format, compression level (Ultra is highest while Store doesn’t apply compression at all), and other details.
  4. Under the Encryption section, enter and re-enter the password and confirm by clicking OK.7Zip > Add to archive
  5. Delete unarchived, uncompressed folder, and you’re done.

Now no one except you can access that folder. Have in mind that these are not exactly military-grade encryption. Someone with enough knowledge might find a way in.

On the other hand, they’ll do just fine in protecting your private files from prying eyes of a nosy family member or snooping colleague.

That’s it. If you have anything else to add or take, make sure to tell us in the comments section below. We highly appreciate your feedback.

FAQ: Learn more about tools and techniques to protect compressed folders

  • How do I password protect a Windows zip file?

You can add password protection to zip files using the Windows 10 system resources. Check out the entire procedure in this easy guide.

  • How do you add a password to a zipped folder?

Password protect compressed folders in Windows 10 using specialized compression tools such as WinZip or other strong alternatives from this complete guide.

  • How do I encrypt a folder in Windows 10?

It’s easy to encryption a folder using the best folder and file locker tools for Windows 10. All you need to do is install the software of your choice and follow the instructions according to the guides.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.