by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 21, 2017)
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. (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. In Windows 10 you can use it in the Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.)
To encrypt a file folder, follow these steps:
Figure 1. The Advanced Attributes dialog box for a 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, 8, and 10.
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