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How to Password a Folder on Windows XP

Since you are reading this article, I guess you are in urgency of finding a way to protect your private information on your computer or external drives. We always have sensitive information, either personal or business, to save. We will make a folder to contain the sensitive data and put the folder to a hidden directory, for example, I've ever put my personal info in a directory of "Tools". I thought nobody will open that folder so my data is safe. But, is it really safe? Not at all.

 

The following is another story my friend shared with me which made me write this article: I created a folder which contains several pieces of sensitive information. My credit card numbers are all but scrubbed off so my card number is there, my 3 digit security code and a list of recent and pending transactions. I'm storing it on an external drive that rarely gets used but in the interest of safety, I would rather secure the folder. Right clicking the folder and selecting "Sharing and Security" from the drop down menu brings up a folder properties box. There is box to check "Make this folder private" but it is grey and cannot be clicked. I've clicked and looked around in the help menu from "Learn more about sharing and security" but the topic of protecting individual folders isn't covered.

Have you also encountered the problem? If yes, how did you fix it? Or you are just meet it and reading this article for a solution? It is the right place. The following are solutions I tried and worked well to protect a folder with a password.

1. Password protect a folder using WinRAR in Windows XP

It is not the only way to password protect a folder in hard drive or external drives. But it works sometimes. Right click the folder you want to password protect and press "Add to Archive" to archive the folder. Then when setting up the archive settings, there should be an option to password protect it. With WinRAR, you have to make sure you select the option to protect folder/file names as well if you don't want people to see folder/file names when they open the archive.

 

2. Encrypt a folder with Windows XP encryption feature

But this method only applies for Windows XP home and professional. The following are steps:

>>Set a password for a folder on Windows XP Home:

· Format your hard drive to NTFS file system. Remember that this method doesn't apply to FAT32.
· Download the latest version of TweakUI  http://windowsxp.mvps.org/tweakui.htm.
· Run TweakUI.
· Select Explorer in the main window
· Check "Show 'Encrypt' on context menu " option from "Settings" on the right side.
· Select a folder you want to encrypt.
· Right-click the folder and click "Properties" on the pop-up memu.
· Click "Sharing" tab.
· Check "Make this folder private" option.
· Click "Apply" and then "Ok" button.

 

>>Set a password for a folder on Windows XP Professional:

1.Format your hard drive to NTFS file system.
2. Right-Click the folder you want to protect. 
3. Click "Properties"(or hot-key Alt+Double-Clicks). 
4. Click "Sharing" tab and check "Make this folder Private" box. 
5. Click "Apply" button and then "OK". 
6. Click "Yes" when a pop-up window asking you to assign a password. 
7. Type a password twice to confirm it. 
8. Click "Create Password" button.

 

3. Use file management software to password protect folder

There are file management software that will allow you to password protect folders and files, but the file will not be accessible to any other device without that software. When a file is made private it means that file can't be accessed by external computers or other users on the same machine, which makes it much harder to gain access to, on a portable device it will make it near impossible to gain access to anywhere other than the machine you made it private on, which defeats the purpose of making it private.

 

4. Password protect a folder with Folder Protector

Different from file management software, Kakasoft Folder Protector will not limit your access to the PC that you make it private on. After encrypting your folder in an external drive or USB drive, only if you use the portable device in Windows systems, you can open the password protected folder on any pc or laptop. Simply download and install the program, copy the Lockdir.exe file to your flash drive, double click the lockdir.exe to open the program, drag the folder to it and set your passwords. You also can copy the lockdir.exe file to the folder you want to protect to run it.

 

By this way, you needn’t format your FAT32 system to NTFS, needn’t worry that your protected folder can’t be used on another computer etc. It is very simple to use and not any policy or system requirements. It can password protect, lock and hide folder on both hard drive and portable devices. What’s more, it supports almost all Windows systems including Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2003, 2000, 98, Me etc. You can visit How to Password Protect USB Drive to learn how to protect a folder on USB or external hard drive with Folder Protector or How to Password Protect a Folder for hard drive.