Securing your sensitive data is important and a common security measure like adding a password to a folder will work against most intrusions. Our guide will teach you how to password protect a folder on both Windows and Mac, by using their standard security measure. If you think that your data warrants more dedicated protection, feel free to use our recommendations for third-party software that will help you to password protect a folder on your PC or on an external drive.

Windows File System Encryption

Windows file encryption system

You can use this method to password protect your folders only if you have a Professional Edition of any generation of Windows. You can easily check the edition of your Windows by selecting the properties tab on the right-click menu of the My computer icon on your desktop.

If you want to use this method to establish a folder password security, follow the next steps:

  1. Select the file or folder you want to encrypt.
  2. Open the right-click menu of the file or folder.
  3. Select Properties.
  4. Select the General tab.
  5. Click the Advanced button.
  6. Check the ‘Encrypt contents to secure data’ box.
  7. Click Apply and then OK.

Congratulations, you just learned how to password protect a folder using Windows’ in-built security. However, if you want to know how to password protect folders on Mac, check the second part of our guide.

If you want to know how to password protect folders on Mac, check the next part of our guide.

How to Password Protect a Folder on Mac

password protect Mac

Mac users can use a quick and simple method to encrypt their files thanks to built-in support introduced by Apple. You can easily create an encrypted disk image from your specified folder directly. This measure facilitates the entire process of creating password protected folders for inexperienced users or those who don’t want to buy any third-party software.

If you are one-such user, just follow these next steps, and you’ll learn how to secure a folder in no time at all.

  1. Press the Command+Space keys to open Spotlight Search.
  2. Search for Disk Utility, and open it.
  3. Click onthe File tab.
  4. Select NewDisk Image from Folder.
  5. Choose the folder or file you want to encrypt, and click Image.
  6. Select ‘read/write’ if you want to edit your folder.
  7. Select ‘128-bit AES encryption’.
  8. Type in your password.
  9. Do not check the ‘Remember password in my keychain’ box.

Pay extra attention to the last step. If that box is ticked, then it will defeat the entire purpose of adding passwords to folders. With that last step, you have once again learned how to password protect folders, on Windows as well as on Mac.

If you think that your sensitive data requires more protection than the previous security measures, we recommend using these simple to install and easy to use third-party software.

Third-Party Software

lock and folder

Installing other types of applications is the only way to password protect a folder on Windows if you don’t have the Professional Edition of any generation of the operating system. Each of the following suggested applications will feature their own tutorial, necessary to teach you how to password protect a folder.

  • 7-Zip –  is an open source file and folder archiver software, which has the ability to password protect folders and files. However, it only works on compressed files.
  • AxCrypt – is a free encryption software, which enables users to set passwords to all files from a folder. It won’t even allow other users to see the files unless they have the password.
  • Folder Guard -is a commercial version of a password protection software which costs $39.95 and enables you to password protect folders, files, and whatever else you may need.
  • Protected Folder– costs $20, but it’s an excellent software program that enables you to password protect folders

Our recommendations are some of the best and easy-to-use third-party applications that can enable you to learn how to password protect a folder.

How to Password Protect an External Drive

USB Safeguard main webpage

 

If you need to protect your sensitive data in specific folders on an external storage system like an USB drive or an external hard drive, then we suggest using our previous suggested third-party software. Securing your folders with the standard measures provided by Windows and Mac is often unreliable when the drive is connected to other devices. If you require to protect an entire drive and not just specific folders, then we recommend the use of specialized software.

There are many applications suited for this task. Options include Rohos Mini Drive, DiskCryptor, and more. We recommend using USB Safeguard, which is simple to use, protects all types of external drives and only costs $20. If you need protection for a limited time, then use the free trial period.

To protect your files with USB Safeguard, follow the next steps:

  1. Download USB Safeguard.
  2. Copy the application to your external drive.
  3. Start the application on the drive.
  4. Input your password.
  5. Lock the drive.

Every time you plug in the drive, you must input the password and decide if you want it to leave it unlocked or locked for the next use. Now you are able to password protect even external drives, be it USB or HDD.

Conclusion

This completes our guide on how to password protect a folder for both Mac and Windows, using either their own measures or third-party software. It’s important to remember that no password protected folder is completely secure. Make sure to use a password that is complex but still easy enough to remember.