Password Protecting a Folder

Posted on 2006-06-12
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I am running windows xp pro sp2. i need to know how i can password protect a folder not files, i have a folder was personal details in side and i need to prevent anyone gaining access to the files, if any one knows of any 3rd party software or a way of doing it
Question by:andrewdunk
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Expert Comment

ID: 16891324
try right clicking the folder and select Properties
select the security tab and change access permissions on it... you might have to do this as admin


Expert Comment

ID: 16891338
it should also be fairly simple to write an application for this... this is what your applicatoin (maybe a shell script / bat file even) would need to do...

to protect:

1. prompt for directory name
2. zip up all contents of directory to a prescribed name
3. password protect zip with specified password
4. if zip is successful, delete (unlink) the directory tree (obviously the zip can't be stored in the directory you are getting rid of, maybe in the folder of your "protecting app"

to access:
1. prompt for directory name
2. prompt for password
3. extract files from the zip saved above to specified location
(will fail if password is invalid)

no other application will be able to access the files when they are protected because, they just won't exist...
LVL 78

Expert Comment

ID: 16891346
Along the same lines, but once you get into the properties select advanced.  There you will find an option to encrypt the contents of the folder thus only allowing you access to the contents.  But take note that should you change the password on the account  through an administrative user management interface and not through the user change password mechanism, you will likely loose access to the contents of said folder.

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Expert Comment

ID: 16891437
You could use WinZip (9.0 and up) to archive/encrypt the folder. The folder is decrypted with a password.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 16891524
XP is different from that of win9x (where you would specify a password) As long as no other users have permission on the security tab to it as mentioned by chokra_expert, then no one should have access to it. XP uses the user's login info to determine if the user has permissions or not.

If your not an admin and can't change probably should be saving this to a personal usb drive to be safe (or not be saving this stuff at work to be completely safe). Depending on security at a company, an Administrator *should* be able to detect anything you have saved at your work computer if they are setup correctly.

If this is home computer, you should be able to control this if you have the admin login....again, right click, properties, security tab.

Hope this helps
LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 16891679
Anyone with access to your computer can bypass your login & access your files. There's even a way to recover passwords of other accounts on the computer.(I won't say how here.)
So what's the best solution? Use a third-party encryption software.

This is nice:               TrueCrypt - Free Open-Source On-The-Fly Disk Encryption Software for Windows XP/2000 and Linux     Free Encryption / Cryptographic Software, Free On the Fly Encryption, Steganography, Free Disk Encryption Tools, Free Public Key Encryption Software (

There's also utilities such as at that password-protect folders, but I haven't used them for years. Just search google if thats what you want (but are they secure?: I feel encrypting goes a step further than just locking folders)
LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 16891737
Thing with encryption is, if you forget your password, THEN THERE'S NO WAY TO GET YOUR VALUABLE DATA BACK.

At least by using XP's built-in folder permissions, you CAN recover your password & thus your data.

Also consider the type of people you want to protect your data from. Would they try to get into a password-protected account, or  Or are they just casual unsophisticated users?  If the ladder, then you can just move your folder into your"My Documents", right click the folder, click Properties, and then click "Make this folder private". For other folders you can go into Properties, click Advanced, and click "Encrypt contents to secure data" (but  I've read that if you lose your password & then reset it using easily available methods, you won't have access to encrypted folders anymore. But like I said, there IS a way to recover instead of reset an XP login password)

Also, make sure to set up user accounts for each user (Start -> Control Panel -> (switch to classic view) -> User Accounts), so each user can have his/her own "My Documents" that he/she can choose to share with other users or not.
LVL 15

Accepted Solution

JackOfPH earned 500 total points
ID: 16892097
try dirlock...

DirLock is a simple but easy to use program that lets users lock/unlock any folder on a NTFS volume. DirLock is designed for users who keep their computer turned on/logged in for others to use it. So using this app you'd be able to lock individual folders instead of just locking the whole computer. It also has features to hide and encrypt any folder. Although encrypting a large folder is not recommended because it is a slow process.

Author Comment

ID: 16896022
Thanks for all you advice, the one i accepted was just a simple easy to use bit of software,

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