How to encrypt files and folders in Windows 10 [EASY GUIDE]
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:
- Encrypted File Service
- Backup Your Encryption Key
- Encrypt files with a dedicated tool
- Encrypt Your Files Using Microsoft Office
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.
You may also choose to protect your files before they can be accessed with a good VPN tool. Get now Cyberghost VPN (77% flash sale) and secure your data. It protects your PC from attacks while browsing, masks your IP address and blocks all unwanted access to your computer.
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 the 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.”
If you’re keeping your files in a cloud service and you want to encrypt them as well, check out this article to find out how to do that. If you’re looking for a solution for your SSD, you’ll find it here.
Also, there are a number of antivirus software options that have a built-in encryption tool. Here’s a list with the best ones.
How to Backup Your Encryption Key
Just in case, you should back up 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 back up 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
If you’re looking to encrypt a USB flash, we’ve got a list of the 12 best software solutions that will help you secure your files in no time.
Method 2 – Encrypt Your Files Using a Dedicated 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 an 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 way is to get a premium software. It has much more features and it is a priority when it needs support from developers.
Also, if the software has a trial version you can download the encryption tool for free, use it to make your files secure, and explore all of its encrypting options.
Here is one that we’ve been using recently and we believe that it can assist you as well in your routine work. You can keep your personal information, documents, and other similar sensitive stuff on your computer with no worries that they could get compromised.
With this high-grade encryption tool will never be stressed about data theft by malicious behavior and privacy leaks. Here is the exclusive list of features this tool has to offer:
- Lock folders on the internal hard drive, flash drive, external USB drive, thumb drive, memory card, pen drive, and network drive.
- Locking LAN Shared Folder
- Encrypt files, folders
- Portable Encryption
- Hide files folders and drives
- File Shredder/Disk Wiper
- Make files folders and drives read-only
- Password protect files folders and drives
- Self-protection Mode
File Lock Pro is easy to use and has advanced settings that allow you to exclude list and a Program Log to view all the operations in a timeline. Feel free to check out the trial version available now for download.
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.
Related articles to check out now:
- How to Remove Bloatware From Windows 10
- Chrome and Firefox will display security warnings more often
- Is Your Privacy Threatened In Windows 10?
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 2015 and has been since revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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