The Encrypting File System (EFS) is a Windows program that encrypts files and folders so that if someone gains unauthorized access to your home network, they can’t just go waltzing through your most sensitive data or your most closely guarded secrets. EFS is available in Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate Editions only.

After you’ve set up EFS, it operates seamlessly and automatically to encrypt your files when they’re stored on your hard disk and decrypt them when you need access to them. Depending on how much data you’re encrypting, it may take some time for Windows to initially encrypt your files. Relax. You can continue working while Windows does its own thing.

BitLocker is a program that works with EFS. BitLocker protects your hard disk contents from Windows vulnerabilities by encrypting everything on your hard disk, including Windows. BitLocker is available in Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise Editions only.


Open Windows Explorer, right-click the file or folder you want to encrypt, and then click Properties.

The Properties dialog box for that file or folder appears.


On the General tab, click the Advanced button.

The Advanced Attributes dialog box appears.


Select the Encrypt Contents to Secure Data check box and click OK.

The file or folder you selected is now encrypted.

When your files and folders are encrypted, they’ll appear in Windows Explorer in a different color than your other files. Other than that, you won’t notice any real difference! EFS uses your Windows login credentials to automatically decrypt your files for you when you open them. You can open, save, delete, print, and modify your files and folders just as you always have.