How to protect a folder in a computer or laptop with Windows 10, 8, 7, XP

In some cases, the user may need to set a password for a partition or file without blocking access to the entire system. How to put a password on a folder? The issue can be solved both by standard means of the operating system and by external software.


  • 1What are passwords for?
  • 2General recommendations
  • 3How to protect a folder in a computer or laptop with Windows 10, 8, 7, XP
    • 1Using standard tools
    • 2Using additional programs
      • 2.1Anvide Seal Folder
    • 3Video: Using Anvide Seal Folder
      • 3.1Folder Guard
      • 3.2Other programs
    • 4Video: setting a password using WinRar
  • 4How to protect devices from Apple
    • 1Create a password for a folder in MacBook
    • 2How to password protect a folder on an iPhone (iOS)
  • 5Setting up protection on folders in Android mobile devices
    • 1Applock Tool
      • 1.1Video: detailed instructions for using the AppLock application
    • 2LOCKit application
    • 3Gallery Lock
      • 3.1Video: How to Use the Gallery Lock App
    • 6Setting a password for a folder on a USB storage device
    • 7What to do if you forgot your password
      • 1In what cases it is impossible to set a password

What are passwords for?

Most often, separate protection of folders is required in the following cases:

  1. Sharing the device. In this case, users want to protect personal data (photos, videos, documents) from viewing and copying.
  2. Installation prohibition. By closing access to system files, the administrator can restrict the installation of new applications and the use of old ones.
  3. Protection against file changes. By closing access to a network folder, for example, at the end of the working day, you can be sure that no one will add unnecessary things to the finished report.

General recommendations

Unfortunately, despite the excellent protection of k3CfJyNY $ 3pZRj or * q3y # GwuZvTpd @ combinations, the average user will never use something like this.

The basic rules for creating a secure one are as follows:

  • use at least six characters;
  • interspersed numbers, spaces and special characters will make it very difficult for attackers to brute force;
  • do not use common words, names and personal data;
  • do not use one password for several important services;
  • do not use a password for keyboard shortcuts like qwerty.

It is important that passwords from key services (main mail, webmoney account, working CMS) are unique and not repeated. Consider how important the content of the repository is to you. If there are funny pictures from the Internet, the usual zxcvbn is enough. Do you keep the results of several years of research in a password-protected folder? Try to remember the ten-digit character set and do not forget to update the backup on a password-protected flash drive once a week.

To quickly invent and remember complex passwords, you can use your own algorithms, for example, adding a prefix or postfix to the name of the service. If all your passwords start with 232Kj and end with 16A then your gmail password will look like 232Kjgmail16A. The security can be easily compromised by losing two or three passwords, so this simple method is only suitable for tasks with low value.

How to protect a folder in a computer or laptop with Windows 10, 8, 7, XP

For Windows PCs, built-in BitLocker is responsible for encryption. Strictly speaking, it does not protect specific partitions, but works with the entire hard disk. The method is suitable for Pro, Enterprise and Ultimate systems, for other Windows versions Bitlocker is disabled.

Why doesn’t Windows support default passwords on the system? This is due to US laws that do not allow the export of cracking-resistant algorithms with a key length of more than 40 bits. Providing an easy-to-crack protection along with the operating system is detrimental to the company’s reputation, so you have to use third-party solutions to solve specific problems.

Using standard tools

There is no direct way to password-protect access to the desired folder in OS Windows. However, there is a workaround using disk management and built-in encryption.

  1. Press Win + R and go to the system management section by typing diskmgmt.msc (or enter by right-clicking on the Start menu – Disk Management).
    To put a password on a folder using standard Windows tools, you will have to create a virtual hard disk
  2. Create a virtual disk of the desired size following the instructions in the program.
    To do this, we will have to allocate a certain amount of disk space for a virtual disk.
  3. Initialize and format it by clicking on the blank space “Create Simple Volume”. When finished, you should have a new disk.
    After creation, our virtual disk needs to be formatted
  4. Right-click the drive in Windows Explorer and select Turn on BitLocker.But even though the entire disk is virtual, we can already password-protect it using the standard Windows BitLocker encryption wizard.
  5. The wizard that appears will ask you to specify a password, select a recovery and encryption method.
    From the proposed unlocking methods, select unlocking using a password
  6. Now, in order to gain access to the disk, the user will have to enter the set password each time after shutting down or removing it from the system.
    This is what the final result will look like.

Remember that the data storage is physically located on one of the hard drives. Removing the safe will erase all contents.

Thus, you can encrypt not only virtual, but also real hard drives and external drives. The disadvantage is that the password is actually put on a separate disk entirely instead of one folder. In most cases, this is just an interesting trick instead of actually solving the problem.

Using additional programs

You can also use third-party software to protect a specific folder on the disk. Recommended programs are selected for ease of use and safety.

Anvide Seal Folder

The undisputed leader among free programs. ASF (formerly Anvide Lock Folder) is a window in which you can add and exclude folders in need of protection using the interface menu at the top.

ASF not only allows you to set protection on the desired folders, but also hides them

An interesting feature of the program is that in the future, folders can only be opened through it – encrypted folders become hidden for all users.

No installation and configuration issues were found on the latest version of Windows 10 in May 2018. You can download the distribution kit on the official website.

Video: Using Anvide Seal Folder

Folder Guard

A slightly more complex paid program that has been in development since 1997. If ASF functionality is not enough, Folder Guard provides a number of features in addition to protecting folders and files.

Folder Guard is a more advanced tool with more features available

FG can be used to protect access to USB, floppy drive and other devices, controls the Windows Control Panel, offers differentiation of access rights for different users.

A significant disadvantage is that the application is paid

You can try the trial version of Folder Guard for free, the full version will cost from $ 40 to $ 80.

Other programs

In addition to these two applications, Folder Lock, Folder Protector and Lock-a-Folder can be recommended. These programs protect the storage rather reliably, prevent it from being deleted without a password, and are quite simple to use.

Another simple and, at the same time, the wrong way to password-protect a folder is archiving. Popular archivers 7zip and WinRar allow you to protect a new archive with a password, blocking access to everyone else.

There are other applications for setting up protection

Video: setting a password using WinRar

You may also find useful material about using the CCleaner program: .

How to protect Apple devices

Apple gadgets have built-in tools for setting up protection.

Create a password for a folder in MacBook

MacOS and MacOSX offer their own built-in ways to protect information. The system works with an encrypted copy or “image” of the folder, which is protected by a password. To create an image, do the following:

  1. Open Programs – Utilities – Disk Utility.
  2. Select “File” – “New image” – “Image from folder”, then select the folder for which you need a password. The following menu should appear.
    Apple computers have the ability to encrypt and protect using standard methods
  3. Set the encryption type, read / write format and image storage location.
  4. Delete the original folder, you can use the new one instead.

How to password protect a folder on an iPhone (iOS)

By means of the system, the password is set in several steps:

  1. Go to the phone settings, then go to the “General” – “Restrictions” section.
  2. Activate the “Enable Restrictions” function.
  3. Enter password.
    It is also available on smartphones from Apple
  4. Select from the list the programs for which limited access will be installed.

For more serious access restrictions without jailbreak, download the Lockdown, Appcontrol or iAppLock app in the AppStore,

Setting up protection on folders in Android mobile devices

The Android OS is designed based on Linux, inheriting its structure. Working with files and folders is possible both using standard tools and using File Commander. To protect folders on Android, you need to use third-party applications.

Applock tool

The biggest plus of this app is the multiple ways to protect your data.

Video: detailed instructions for using the AppLock application

Popular multi-platform application for access control and system security. It can work both with separate folders / files and with applications. There are several types of protection, from picture passwords to fingerprints.

LOCKit app

Very easy to use application with many features

A simple and beautiful program to protect applications and files from unauthorized access. Lots of features, easy setup and control of social networks.

The interface is as simple as possible. The user is offered a choice of two types of protection: a traditional digital password or a pattern.

After you have chosen a protection method, the main screen will be divided into two columns, one of which will display locked applications and folders, and the other, applications and folders with free access. To place a file or application in the protected list, just click on the corresponding icon.

Gallery lock

This application will be of interest primarily to those users who are worried about the content of their photo gallery.

Protecting images in the gallery from viewing. Wide functionality and user-friendly interface will come in handy for those who care only about access to photos from all the contents of the phone.

  1. The first time you launch the application, you will need to enter a pin code. The default is 7777.
  2. Next, you will see a group of albums, also created by default.
  3. At the bottom of the screen, click on the “Add folder” icon, come up with a name for it, and click “OK”.
  4. Go to the folder. At the bottom of the screen, click on the “Add photo / video” icon.
  5. Select the images and videos that you would like to hide, click on the green plus sign in the upper right corner of the screen.
  6. Selected photos and videos will become invisible without entering a password.

Video: How to Use the Gallery Lock App

Setting a password for a folder on a USB drive

Both the standard Windows BitLocker and the macOS system of images can cope with the task of completely password-protecting a flash drive. However, both methods have their drawbacks, so it is better to use external applications to protect your USB drive.

In addition to the already mentioned PC programs, TrueCrypt provides the best protection. The application allows you to select any of the open encryption algorithms and close access to both one folder or file, and to the drive as a whole. Of the minuses – not the most user-friendly interface and complex settings.

Not the most user-friendly application, but it copes with its tasks perfectly

For old 32-bit systems, we can recommend the MyFolder project, which allows you to work both with data on a computer and with external devices. The biggest and, perhaps, the only plus is the speed of encryption on any hardware, in shortcomings, a weak encryption algorithm and the impossibility of using it on modern PCs.

If you do not have the newest computer this application is what you need

What to do if your password is forgotten

Password recovery varies by encryption and platform. Good apps won’t let you open a folder – after all, that’s what you installed them for.

Some applications create a special recovery file or provide the ability to register an e-mail to send a message. Please note that such files are the direct equivalent of a spare key pair for your safe, so do not put them in the “ALL PASSWORDS HERE” folder or something similar. Ideally, save all important accesses on several media (sheet of paper, small flash drive) and store them in a safe place.

A forgotten password in most cases is not a hindrance to deleting data, so you can always format a disk or delete storage without repeating mistakes in the future.

In what cases it is impossible to set a password

Most often, a password for a folder or disk cannot be set if it belongs to another user with equal or superior rights. This problem also occurs when reinstalling the system – old files were created by another user.

To fix the problem in Windows, set access to the folder for yourself.

If a folder or disk was created by another user, you need to add yourself to the list of users with access

In cases where this does not help either, make a copy of the folder or file, and then delete the original using IObit Unlocker or its equivalent.

You need to delete the original password-protected folder using this application

Storing many folders on your computer often leads to cluttering up your hard drive. You will learn how to check and optimize HDD performance using HDDScan in our article: .

In most cases, the standard programs for setting a password for a folder or file are not perfect. Use additional software for work or try to bypass the task from the other side, for example, different users on the same computer can be delimited by standard OS tools so that they will not even know about each other, and the attacker who stole the phone can be stopped even at the stage of entering the password …

If you decide to use encryption and password protection, remember that all good protection methods are not bypassed in principle – this is the point of installing protection. If you forget your password, you will lose everything in the vault, so think about a recovery method in advance.


by Abdullah Sam
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