You might have very important data residing on your computer. Even though there are several security mechanisms in place to protect unauthorized access to computers such as passwords, an extra layer of security won’t hurt. Especially if the data is extremely important and you do not want to let anyone access it even when they have access to your device, you can protect it by encrypting the folder and its data. So, even when someone managed to physically remove your hard drive and connect it to another device, they still won’t be able to access the data inside the encrypted folder.
Luckily, Windows 10 comes with an in-built feature that allows users to easily protect any folder and encrypt its data. That’s what we are going to look at in today’s article. This guide will provide you the necessary steps required to use the built-in functionality in Windows 10 to encrypt your content and secure it.
Before encrypting the data on any folder it is recommended to take a backup of the files. If you lose access to your Windows account and the encryption key provided during the setup, you might end up permanently losing the files. So, we strongly suggest taking a backup before proceeding.
Steps to Encrypt a Folder in Windows 10
- Right-click on the folder that you want to encrypt.
- Click on the Properties option. It will open the folder properties window.
- Then, click on the Advanced button.
- Check the checkbox saying Encrypt contents to secure data.
- Then click OK. You will be taken back to the properties window.
- Now, click on Apply button to save the changes. Windows will now start encrypting your files.
- As soon as the encryption process is completed, you will be prompted to backup the encrypting certificate and key. It is important to backup these.
That’s it. The folder and its files are now encrypted and can be only accessed with the user account connected with your Windows 10 installation. If any other users on your PC try to access the files, it will be just random text without any useful content in it. The same applies if someone else tries to physically remove the hardware and tries to access the data from another device. Only you can access the content from it.
At any time if you want to remove the encryption and make the data accessible by everyone, you can simply follow the same steps and uncheck the box “Encrypt contents to secure data”. It will decrypt the folder and its content.