How to Password Protect a Folder or File in Your Computer

Reading time4 minutes
Jaqueline Corradi
Jaqueline Corradi
Content Manager

Knowing how to password protect a folder is very important, mainly when sharing your computer with others. But, you may also use this to add a new layer of protection to your folders and files that contain sensitive information, to ease your mind.

Data about the company you work for, personal documents, credit cards, and bank information are some files many of us store in our computer folders. They must be kept safe, and to ensure that there are many security measures you should take, for example, to prevent hacking attacks. 

It's also necessary to consider situations when people have access to your computer physically. For instance, you leave it unattended in a public space and someone reads the files you stored or steals your computer. Password protection will make it difficult to access. 

How to Password Protect a Folder on Windows

Understanding how to password protect a folder on a computer that has Windows 7,8 or 10 as its operating system is very simple. It just takes a few minutes, all you have to do is:

1 - Locate the folder you wish to password protect and right-click on it;

2 - In the menu, select the option "Properties", then click on "General";

3 - Click on "Advanced", and choose "Encrypt content to secure data".

4 - Press ok, and "Apply" after it.

5 - Choose the option of full-folder encryption to guarantee all the files in the folder will be password protected. 

If you log in to your Windows account on your computer, you will be able to access the folder without having to type any password. However, if another account tries to open the folder, your Windows username and password will be required.  


Another option when it comes to how to password protect a folder or file in a Windows computer is using a third-party app. One of the most popular is 7-Zip, which is easy to install and use. 

1 - Download and install 7-Zip;

2 - Locate the folder you want to password protect and right-click it;

3 - Select 7-Zip, then click on "Add to archive".

4 - Create a password, and click on "OK'.

After doing it, open the folder to test if the password is working correctly. 


How to Password Protect a Folder on Mac

To password protect a folder on Mac computers, you will need to use an app that usually comes installed on them, Disk Utility.

1 - Open the Applications folder;

2 - Open Disk Utility;

3 - Click on "File", "New image", then "Image from folder";

Disk Utility file menu

4 - Select the file you want to password protect and click "Choose";

5 -  Select the encryption type you prefer;

Encryption settings page on Disk Utility

6 - Create a password

7 - Click on "Choose".

Set up password page

How to Password Protect Different Types of Files

If you want to password protect a single file, you can follow the same steps above or use the app that opens the file. For example, Excel, Word, and Adobe offer a feature to add a password to the documents you access through them. 

How to Password Protect an Excel File

1 - Open Excel

2 - Click on "File", then "Info";

3 - Select "Protect Workbook", and "Encrypt with password";

4 - Set up the password and click "OK".

How to Password Protect a PDF File

To password protect a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat, you need to have its paid version installed on your computer. Then, just follow the instructions below.

1 - Click on "Tools", then "Protect";

2 - Click on "Encrypt", and choose "Encrypt with password";

3 - Select the option "Require a password to open the document", and create the password you want.

How to Password Protect a Word File

1 - Click on "File", then "Info";

2 - Press the "Protect Document" button;

3 - Choose "Encrypt with a password";

4 - Set up the password and click on "OK".

Choose Difficult Passwords 

After you have learned how to password protect a folder, keep in mind that to keep your folder and files safe, the password can't be easy to discover. Don't use your birthdate, for example. Try to include numbers, special characters, and letters in uppercase and lowercase. And, don't use the same password you use on other accounts.

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