How to Encrypt Your Files or Folders

To ensure the security of your files and folders, you can encrypt them. Encrypting a file or folder scrambles its content so that others cannot read it. You can encrypt your files or folders only if your hard drive is formatted as an NTFS (NT File System) drive.

The encryption is transparent: You can access the files just as you normally would. The files are decrypted as you open them and encrypted when you close them. So, they’re saved on your hard drive in a scrambled state.

1

Right-click the file or folder to encrypt.

A small pop-up menu appears.

2

Choose Properties.

The Properties menu appears.

3

Click the Advanced button on the General tab.

You’ll find the General tab at the top of the window; among the tabs that look like hanging folders.

4

In the Advanced Attributes box, select the Encrypt Contents to Secure Data check box.

Encrypting your files makes sure that no one who intrudes on your files (or your wireless network) can read them.

5

Click OK to close the Advanced Attributes box, and then click OK to close the file or folder’s Properties dialog box.

An Encryption warning may appear. When you want only the file, and not the entire folder, encrypted, choose the Encrypt the File Only option and click OK.

 

The file shows up with green text in its name, which is your only real clue that it’s encrypted.

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