If you allow others to use your personal computer but do not want them to access your sensitive files and folders on the PC, you can either hide them or use lock the data with password. Password protection can also add an extra layer of security to sensitive or confidential information on your computer to prevent unauthorized access, malware or ransomware attacks, etc. There are various software options available for encrypting files and folders on computer. In this article, we will use WinRAR which is the most popular archive manager. It can backup your data and reduce the size of files and documents, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files. It has the built-in password protection feature to help you lock files and folders with password on computer.
Method 1. Lock files and folders with password using WinRAR on PC
Make sure to download WinRAR here first if you don’t already have it installed. Note that this is NOT a free software, however you can download and use it for free during a test period of a maximum of 40 days. Now follow below steps to lock files using this tool on your computer.
If you want to lock single file on PC, right click on the file in Windows Explorer, you will then find the WinRAR options as shown in below screenshot. If you want to password protect multiple files and documents, you can put them into a folder, then lock the folder with password.
Choose “Add to archieve….” from above contextual menu. The “Archive name and parameters” dialogue pops up.
Steps to password protect files on PC:
- Give the file a name as the ‘Archive name’;
- Choose output file format, RAR, RARS, ZIP;
- Click Set password button to protect your files with a password.
When you set a password to lock your files, you can check the “Show password” option to display the password when you enter it. For higher security level, we recommend you enable “Encrypt file names” option so others can’t see your file names or the encrypted files list.
Be sure to keep the password in a safe and memorable place as there is no way to recover the files within the password-protected archive if you forget the password.
Method 2. Encrypt your files and folders with WinRAR on computer
Other than protecting archive from the context menu as previously described, there is an alternative way to lock files and folders using WinRAR.
Open WinRAR on your computer, use its built-in file explorer to browse to the location of the files or folders you want to protect. Then select the files or folders by clicking on them. You can drag-n-drop to select multiple items or press the Ctrl or Shift key while you click to select two or more files or folders. Click the Add button in WinRAR’s toolbar. The “Archive name and parameters” window pops ups. Now just follow the same steps as outlined in Method 1 above to set password and protect your files on PC.