How To Lock a Folder or File in Windows 10/11

How To Lock a Folder or File in Windows 11/10

Your Windows laptop/ PC allows you to lock a folder or file. Whether you are using Windows 10/11, there is an option to password-protect your important documents. This ensures no one else, other than you, can access the content of the file/ folder.

If you are looking to lock a folder or file on your laptop/ PC, we are here to help. There are several ways for you to do this depending on the version of Microsoft Windows your computer is running. But, before we get into how you can password-protect your files and folders using different ways, let’s elaborate on why you need to do so.

How to lock a folder or file in Windows 10/ 11?

The majority of Windows versions include a built-in file encryption system that allows you to password-protect your sensitive files and folders and keep them safe from prying eyes. Furthermore, there is a variety of third-party software available to help ensure that your privacy is not jeopardized.

Continue reading to learn more about the many tools that may assist you in locking a folder/file in Windows 10 or 11.

How to password protect a folder or file in Windows 10 and 11

If you want to password protect a file or folder in Windows 10 and 11, follow these steps:

Step 1: Right-click on a file or folder that you wish to password protects and choose Properties.

Step 2: Select Properties.

Step 3: Select Advanced…

Step 4: Check the box next to “Encrypt contents to secure data” and then click Apply.

Step 5: If you’re using this feature for the first time, you’ll be requested to back up your encryption key; save it somewhere secure; you’ll need the encryption key to see your encrypted files or folders.

On Windows 10/11, password protection is a wonderful method to safeguard your files and folders from people you don’t want to view. Although Windows has support for rudimentary password security, it is not intended for corporate usage.

When it comes to offering advice on how to password secure a file or folder, Microsoft isn’t particularly helpful.

If you’re seeking a quick and easy solution to keep your files and folders private from prying eyes, here’s how to password protect a file or folder.

Password protect a file or folder

Please remember that while this approach is quick and effective, it is not suitable for corporate usage. This strategy is ideal for safeguarding a few files and folders on your own Windows 10 or 11 computers.

Step 1: Open File Explorer and navigate to the file or folder you wish to secure. When you’ve found the file or folder you wish to safeguard, right-click it.

Step 2: Go to the Properties tab.

Step 3: Select Advanced… to see the file or folder’s Advanced Attributes menu.

Step 4: Here you may configure the parameters for this file or folder. Click the checkbox for Encrypt contents to safeguard data under Compress or Encrypt characteristics, then click OK.

Using built-in encryption tool

The best way to protect your folders (and the files within them) from unauthorized access is to use BitLocker, a built-in encryption feature in Windows. It enables you to encrypt your folder so that it is only accessible through your Windows user account and password.

To use the encryption tool to lock a folder or file in Windows 10 and 11, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Navigate to the file/folder you wish to secure in Windows Explorer on your PC/laptop.

Step 2: Right-click on the desired file/folder and select Properties from the drop-down menu.

Step 3: Click the Advanced button under the General tab.

Step 4: Put a checkmark in the box next to Encrypt contents to safeguard data in the Advanced attributes settings and click OK.

Step 5: You will now be returned to the folder Properties window. To save the changes, click Apply.

Step 6: Windows will ask you whether you want to encrypt just the file or the parent folder and all of its contents. Once you’ve chosen your choice, click OK to confirm. Windows will immediately start encrypting your stuff.

Step 7: When the process completes, you’ll see a small yellow lock symbol on the folder/file icon, depicting that it is now password-protected (In case you add new contents to the locked folder, it will automatically be encrypted too)

You’ll now be prompted to back up your encryption key. You can choose to continue or skip the process

Using compression tools

Another simple method for locking a folder or file is to compress it and password-protect it using compression software like as 7-Zip (free), WinRAR (free), or WinZip (free trial). If your Windows version lacks built-in encryption, this is an excellent alternative for you.

Simply install any of the apps listed above on your PC or laptop, and then repeat the following steps:

Step 1: Navigate to Windows Explorer and right-click the folder or file that you wish to archive.

Step 2: Select Add to Archive from the drop-down menu (or a similar option)

Step 3: Follow the prompts to configure the archive name, format, size, compress level, and other options, and then click OK to compress the target file or folder.

Step 4: Now, right-click the zipped file/folder and choose Set Password.

Step 5: On the next window, enter the password and click OK to confirm. Your private files are now archived in a password-protected folder

Using third-party apps

There is also third-party software available that allows you to protect your data using quite complex ways. Password-protection using third-party software, unlike the other two ways, blocks access to a folder/file independent of the logged-in user.

Some of the most prominent third-party tools available for locking a file/folder in Windows 10 or 11 are:

  • Folder Lock
  • Easy File Locker
  • Folder Guard
  • IObit Protected Folder
  • Gilisoft File Lock Pro
  • LocK-A-FoLdeR
  • Secret Disk
  • Easy File Locker

Tips for securing your locked folders

It is unquestionably necessary to password protect your files and folders to keep your system secure with the greatest defenses. But it isn’t all. You must also verify that your passwords are secure.

Here are a few pointers to assist maintain the safety of your password-protected folders and files:

Choose a secure password

Whatever way you use to encrypt your secret folders and files, the key is to create a strong, secure password. A password that is weak, uninventive, and simple to remember will not secure your device from potential data theft, hacking, or other brute force assaults.

To guarantee that the password to your sensitive folder or file is strong and impermeable, follow these guidelines:

The length of your password must be at least 10 characters.

Your password must be a mix of upper and lower-case letters.

Your password must include alphanumeric characters (also include special characters if permissible)

Don’t forget to backup

Have you ever considered what would happen if you forgot or lost the password to your protected folder or file? There is also the potential that your encryption software may become damaged and your files will be lost. As a result, you must back up your data regularly. To be on the safe side, utilize Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google Drive, or other cloud-based data backup alternatives. Using a password manager can help assure the safety and security of all your login credentials.

Unlocking Folders and Files in Windows 11 or 10

To access the contents of a locked folder or file, you must temporarily deactivate the lock. This is how.

Step 1: Start Easy File Locker. Upon startup, you will be prompted for a password.

Step 2:  Type in your password.

Step 3:  Click the toolbar’s stop button. This will unlock all of your files and folders immediately.

Step 4: When you’re finished editing or viewing your files, click the Play button to set the lock back on.

This step must be followed each time you want to see, modify, write to, or remove the password-protected folders in Windows 11 or 10.

frequently asked questions

Q. How do I hide a folder on my computer?

Most Windows versions provide a function that allows you to conceal files and folders so that they do not display in the directory and cannot be accessed by unauthorized users. To conceal a folder on your computer, follow these steps:
*Right-click the target folder and choose Properties from the context menu.
*Go to the General tab and check the Hidden box under the Attributes section.
*To save the changes, click OK. Your folder will be hidden from view.

How to open a locked folder?

To begin, you must be logged into your Windows user account to access the password-protected folder. You’ll also need the password to access it. Simply double-click the password-protected folder and enter it. If you’ve encrypted the contents of the folder, you’ll also need the password to access them.

Q. How to put a password on folder windows 10?

Step 1: Select Properties by right-clicking (or tapping and holding) a file or folder.
Step 2: Select the Advanced option and tick the Encrypt contents to safeguard the data box.
Step 3: Select OK to exit the Advanced Attributes window, then apply and OK.

Q. Why can’t I encrypt a folder on Windows 11?

Navigate to “Settings -> Privacy & security” in “Windows Settings.” If you don’t see Device encryption displayed, as seen in the screenshot below, it’s because of a Modern Standby issue. Some requirements must be met for the encryption to operate on Windows 11 Home.
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