Networking Quick Tips
Password-protect files and folders in WindowsHide your nefarious plans from prying eyes! Molly Wood shows you how.
>> Molly: Hi I'm Molly Wood from CNET.com here to show you how to password-protect your files and folders in Windows XP and Vista. Now let's say you're storing financial data on a shared computer or you're keeping a diary or you're working on your big plan for staging a coo at work, well Windows XP makes it fairly easy to password-protect an individual file or folder. I mean, I think it should be as easy as right clicking the file and choosing add a password, it's not that easy but here's what you do. First you have to compress the file or folder as a zip file. So choose the file you want to protect and right click it, now choose send to and compressed zipped folder; this will create a new compressed folder with the same name as the file so you can copy and paste as many files as you want into that folder as well. Now right click the compressed file, choose explore and then click the file menu. Now choose add a password, choose a good password, confirm it and you'll be all set. By the way if you ever want to remove the password you just repeat the right click, choose explore file and then choose remove password. Okay, now it should be this easy in Vista but it's not. If you use Vista Ultimate it easy to encrypt files or folders and then you'll need your encryption key to unlock them. To that right click any folder, compressed or otherwise, choose properties, click the general tab, click the advance button and now check the box next to encrypt contents to secure data. Now be careful because if you can't login to your account then you will lose access to encrypted files so make sure you backup your Vista Ultimate encryption key somewhere safe. If you want to remove the encryption you just follow the same steps and uncheck the encrypted contents box. Now unfortunately you can not encrypt files or folders in other versions of Vista, Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium but there is a free utility called Encrypt Files, clever name, and it lets you encrypt and password-protect different files. Or if you only want password-protection because you're just trying to keep the kids out password-protect folders is free to try for 30 days and $40.00 to buy. Once it's installed password-protect folders, again, awesome name, gives you the option that Windows should already have to right click any folder and choose protect this folder. And actually that software works on pretty much any version of Windows. So there you have it easy at-home security for your workplace too, good luck with that. For CNET.com I'm Molly Wood and you're welcome. ^M00:02:26 [ Music ]