Windows 11 and Windows 10 both have solid built-in encryption, particularly if you use Bitlocker. However, encrypting your drive only protects against those who can't log in to your account on your PC. What about those that do?
Let's say, for example, you have a family PC in the living room and you leave it unlocked quite a bit. In an ideal situation, each family member would have their own account but maybe you don't do it that way. Or perhaps you have a pretty secure account that only you use, but you want to password protect a folder in order to get an added layer of protection.
There are several ways to lock down particular folders or even individual files. The cheapest and easiest of these we've found to password protect folders in Windows 11 / 10 is using Easy File Locker, a freeware app that gives you fine-grain control over what you protect. Here's how.
How to Password Protect Folders in Windows 11 / 10
1. Download, install and run Easy File Locker.
2. Select Set Password from the System menu.
3. Enter a password and click Ok. Try to make it a secure one.
4. Select "Add Folder" from the Files & Folders menu. If you just want to do this to an individual file, you can use "Add File" instead.
5. Choose your folder or file by clicking the "..." button to the right of the Path field.
6. Uncheck "Accessible." It will also uncheck Writable and Deletable. Somewhat counter-intuitively, these settings refer to how the folder / file behaves when it is locked. Therefore, if you don't uncheck these options, anyone will be able to read, write or even delete the files, even when they are locked.
7. Toggle Visible to on, if you want the file / folder's icon to be seen when locked. If Visible is off, you won't even see the folder or file in Windows Explorer. It will be hidden. We recommend allowing it to be visible, just so you know where it is. Your settings would look like the image below. Either way, click Ok.
8. Repeat steps 4 through 7 for any additional folders or files you want to password protect. You will see a list of all locked items in Easy File Locker.
At this point, you can close Easy File Locker and your files and folders will be locked, even from you. If you try to open one of your folders, assuming that you set it to remain visible, you will get a message saying that "Access is denied."
Unlocking Folders and Files in Windows 11 or 10
If you need to access the contents of a locked folder or file, you will need to temporarily disable the lock. Here's how.
1. Launch Easy File Locker. You will get a password prompt upon launch.
2. Enter your password.
3. Hit the stop button in the toolbar. This will immediately unlock all of your files and folders.
4. Click the Play button to turn the lock back on when you are finished editing / viewing your files.
You will have to follow this procedure every time you wish to view, edit, write to or delete the folders you've password protected in Windows 11 or 10.