windows 7 : how to protect folders on personal PC which has multiple user accounts

my home PC with high end hardware configuration also used by siblings very often. This PC installed with lot of useful soft wares  for their research purpose.

Each of us have different user accounts to login.

we  would like our files to be protected from other user account.
I knew one of the option is - to put the files in c:\users\<userName>

however, I prefer anywhere in disk and get protected.

please advice how to achieve this
mac_gAdmin - Oracle Fusion Middleware suiteAsked:
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McKnifeCommented:
For real protection, first you need to encrypt your computer.
Then, edit NTFS permissions to protect your folders. Make sure only you have an administrative account.

If you need help with these suggestions, just ask.
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mac_gAdmin - Oracle Fusion Middleware suiteAuthor Commented:
appreciate if you can elaborate  more here as  I am naive.
rather explain with logical reasons, please have some solution how-to steps that solve my issue,
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
If you are naive as you say, then you better be careful and spend some time reading about solutions - doing something blindly could cause you to lose EVERYTHING PERMANENTLY.

Right click on the file or folder in question.  On the general tab, click on the Advanced button and then put a check in the checkbox that says Encrypt Contents to Secure Data.  *IF* you do this, it will require YOUR user account be logged in to access the file.  Further, *IF* ANYONE ELSE ever changes your password via the users control panel or Computer Management you will PERMANENTLY lose access to the file.  

Otherwise, you can set permissions but any other administrator can reset them - even in your folder.  The only way to completely secure the data is to put it on an encrypted external drive.  But make sure you have backups as it they can fail and if that happens you lose EVERYTHING.  You can also try "zip" files and the like encrypting them or other third party software that encrypts files with a password.
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McKnifeCommented:
I agree at least on being careful :)

The thing is: without understanding the technology, trying to carry out step-by-step instructions might work at first, but you will not be protected in the long run - I would not encourage you to do it unless you fully understood what this is about.

Sharing a computer and keeping the other person(s) away from your data requires the two (aforementioned) things:
1 the other party has no administrator access
2 the whole (!) drive is encrypted and the other party has no way to decrypt it. Worth noticing: this does not imply that the other party cannot start your computer. However, this would mean, you need to use a TPM-aware encryption like bitlocker.

If you don't know what an offline attack is or what NTFS permissions are, please have some expert do it for you or stop sharing that computer. Transferring this knowledge via forum is not really possible.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Bitlocker is ALMOST CERTAINLY not an option unless he upgrades.  Bitlocker on Win7 is only available in Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate.
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McKnifeCommented:
Sure. But there are other (commercial) encryptors that are tpm aware. Normally, those will be more expensive than an OS upgrade. (ok, if you search for a long time, you might find an win7 ultimate that's even more expensive than the cheapest encryptor with TPM support).
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
The other problem is few systems have TPMs - generally only business class systems and then often not the low end business class systems.  And if this is a computer used with "siblings" then it's quite likely it's not a business class system.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
To be clear, you're not wrong - just that the description of the environment suggests that such a solution is simply not available to the asker.
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McKnifeCommented:
Let's not assume that is has or hasn't got a TPM - that's a technical detail to be discussed later.
Let's just be clear: real protection requires knowledge. If you only want some protection that you can feel quite comfortable to control without much knowledge, you can use folder encryptors like EFS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encrypting_File_System or better http://www.winability.com/folderguard/ (free to try, 40 USD for a personal license).
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mac_gAdmin - Oracle Fusion Middleware suiteAuthor Commented:
i am taking about only few selected private folders which myself can be able to have access , other wont.
same the case with other.there could be some common folders those are not private.

Hope now above explanation is more clear.
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McKnifeCommented:
It was clear all the time.

Take the following advice: if you don't think your siblings are savvy when it comes to circumventing restrictions, use the NTFS permissions to protect your folders and you are done. Those are accessed by rightclicking a folder ->properties ->security tab. There, only your account should remain entitled to read/write the folder. Then make sure no one but you has administrative rights on your computer.

If however you fear that they might know more about computer security than you, you will have to work with encryption and there it becomes complicated - extremely. That's why I warned you about asking for a step-by-step guidance - it would not work out unless you are trained and well informed IT-wise yourself.

Final statement: sharing a computer should only be considered if you fully trust the other party, because if you don't, it will require a lot of know how to protect yourself.
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