Microsoft shutters Windows private folders

Following an outcry, Redmond is removing add-on feature allowing users to create password-protected folders.

Following an outcry from corporate customers, Microsoft is removing an add-on feature to Windows that allowed users to create password-protected folders.

The feature was introduced as a free download last week. Almost immediately, people raised questions over how businesses would grapple with the ability of individual workers to encrypt their data.

"Private Folder 1.0 was designed as a benefit for customers running genuine Windows," Microsoft said in a statement to CNET News.com on Friday. "However, we received feedback about concerns around manageability, data recovery and encryption, and based on that feedback, we are removing the application today. This change will take effect shortly."

When it added the feature, Microsoft touted it as "a useful tool...to protect your private data when friends, colleagues, kids or other people share your PC or account."

However, others spotted potential problems.

"Oh great, have they even thought about the impact this could have on enterprises. I'm already trying to frantically find information on this product so that A) I can block to all our desktops and B) figure out how we then support it when users inevitably lose files. I can see the benefit in this product for home users, but it's a bit of a sloppy release by Microsoft," Stuart Graham said in a posting on Windows Server-related site MSBlog.

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