Encrypting a File Folder

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 23, 2014)

5

Windows includes a feature that allows you to encrypt information stored on the hard drive. This security feature means that anything in the folder is "scrambled" in such a way that only you can access it. If someone other than you logs into your system (using a different user account), they won't be able to access the information in the folder.

The encryption feature is technically referred to as EFS, or Encrypting File System. It has been available since Windows 2000, but is not fully supported in all versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8. (It is only fully implemented in Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions. In Windows 8 it is only fully implemented in the Pro and Enterprise editions.)

To encrypt a file folder, follow these steps:

  1. Use Windows Explorer to display the file folder you want to encrypt. (Display the actual file folder, not the file folder's contents.)
  2. Right-click the file folder and choose Properties from the resulting Context menu. Windows displays the Properties dialog box for the folder.
  3. On the General tab, click the Advanced button. Windows displays the Advanced Attributes dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced Attributes dialog box for a folder.

  5. Select the Encrypt Contents to Secure Data check box.
  6. Click OK to close the Advanced Attributes dialog box.
  7. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box for the folder.

The change is immediately applied and the folder contents are encrypted. You won't notice any difference in how you use the folder or its contents. The real difference is when others, using a different Windows user account, try to access the information in the folder. They will not be able to use it.

 This tip (13142) applies to Windows 7 and 8.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is seven more than 5?

2014-06-23 14:29:24

Jeff J

TimC Right click on the folder, select properties, and then on the General tab click Advanced. That gives you the above dialog box


2014-06-23 09:46:04

awyatt

TimC: Check to make sure you are using a version of Windows that supports encryption. (See the first paragraph of the tip.)

-Allen


2014-06-23 09:04:40

Holly Hughes

Thank you. I was looking for exactly this for some time!


2014-06-23 06:55:51

deyamag

Thanks.


2014-06-23 06:04:32

TimC

This is a nice tip but how do you turn on this option. I am sure it is buried in there somewhere.
Win7(64)


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