Password protection means securing a file or folder with a password you have created. Unless the receiver of that file or folder has the correct password, they won’t be able to unlock it and access its contents. Additionally, it protects your files in case your computer is hacked or infected with malware. By adding a password, it keeps prying eyes from peeking into your private documents.
While Windows 10 has a built-in feature to encrypt ZIP files, you can also use third-party tools/software to do the same. Let’s explore both ways to password protect a ZIP file in this article.
Methods to Password Protect a ZIP File
Method 1: Encrypt a ZIP File in Windows
Once you encrypt the zip file in Windows, it is accessible only if you logged in from the same user who encrypted it. This is why you will see no change when attempting to open the zip file. But, if you log in to your PC using a different user, the file is inaccessible. Using this method of password protection secures the file for a single user, but you cannot share it with anyone else. The file won’t open on anybody else’s Windows PC. It won’t open on your PC either if you log in under a different username.
- Before encrypting ZIP files in Windows, compress your files into .ZIP format.
- Navigate to the compressed folder you intend to password protect and right-click on it.
- Click on Properties to open up the properties settings of the folder.
- Go to the General Tab and click on Advanced in the property settings window.
- When the Advanced Attributes dialogue box appears, check the option Encrypt Contents to Secure Data at the bottom, and click on OK.
- Once you do this, a confirmation message will ask you if you want to only encrypt the folder or if you want to include the subfolders and files in the folder as well. Just select the first option Encrypt the file and its parent folder and click OK.
Method 2: Use WinRAR
WinRAR is an application that allows you to create and manage .zip files, including password protection. With WinRAR, you can encrypt ZIP files with a password and share them without losing the encryption. After installing the application, follow the steps below to learn how to password protect a ZIP file with WinRAR.
- Open the .zip file with WinRAR.
- Click on Tools from the menu, then select Convert Archives.
- A popup window will appear on your screen, click on the Compression… button.
- Click on the Set password… button.
- In the Enter Password field, type in the desired password, then enter it again in the Re-enter password for verification field.
- Click OK, and a new window will appear displaying Are you sure you want to encrypt converted archives? Click Yes to allow WinRAR to process the request.
- After WinRAR has applied the password, click Close. Now, you can securely share the .zip file with anyone.
This article has introduced two methods to password protect a ZIP file. With their help, you no longer have to fear prying eyes when you want to share files over the Internet or store top secret files on USB.
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