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    Senior Program Developer
 

Summary

Free and practical password protected folder methods which have been tested are provided here. Helps you password protect folders from unauthorized access.


It is very common for us to share computer with others especially in office. So how to protect files we save in office computer from leak has gotten more attention. Various free methods are provided on the Internet. Some make it by using script, some go through with the help of third party software and some recommend the build-in function in Windows. But do they work or match your expectation? Here, we are going to introduce the 5 free methods which can password protect folders/files.

Method 1: [Free] How to Password Protect a Folder with Script

This methods lock folders with system script. It will modify the property of folder and rename the target folder, which will hide the folder at last. Once you enter the password in script file, the folder will be shown. Free and user-friendly are the most outstanding advantages of this method.
Convenience: ★★★☆☆

Processing time: ★★★★★

Safety: ★☆☆☆☆

Difficulty to crack: ★☆☆☆☆

Supported system: Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista/2K

Support to lock piles of folders at a time: NO

Steps of Protecting Folder with Password
>> Create Script file.
1. Right-click on the desktop and then select “New” then choose “Text Document”.
create new text document
2. Please copy and paste the following content to the new created text document and name it to be “lock.bat” (Use Notepad). Or you can download the script that we have make (Click here to download).
cls
@ECHO OFF

title Folder Private
if EXIST “Control Panel.{11EC1999-8888-3333-EEEEE-01003A305237}” goto UNLOCK
if NOT EXIST Private goto MDLOCKER

:CONFIRM
echo Are You Sure You Want To Lock The Folder (name:Private) (Y/N)
set/p “cho=>”
if %cho%==Y goto LOCK
if %cho%==y goto LOCK
if %cho%==n goto END
if %cho%==N goto END
echo invalid choice.
goto CONFIRM

:LOCK
ren Private “Control Panel.{11EC1999-8888-3333-EEEEE-01003A305237}”
attrib +h +s “Control Panel.{11EC1999-8888-3333-EEEEE-01003A305237}”
echo Folder Locked.
goto END

:UNLOCK
echo Enter Password To Unlock Folder
set/p “pass=>”
if NOT %pass%==PASS goto FAIL

attrib -h -s “Control Panel.{11EC1999-8888-3333-EEEEE-01003A305237}”
ren “Control Panel.{11EC1999-8888-3333-EEEEE-01003A305237}” Private
echo Folder Unlocked Successfully
goto END

:MDLOCKER
md Private
echo Private Created Successfully
goto END

:END

Description of the Script above: 

The script above is a batch script. This automation script will first identify folders which has been disposed in the same directory. If there is no such folder, this script will rename and hide the “Private” folder in the same directory. If such folder exist, this script will ask users to enter the password (Default password is “PASS”) to decrypt this folder.

What is Batch Script?

Batch process could be regarded as a simplified script which has been widely used in DOS and Windows system. This script will be run by DOS or Windows built-in interpreter (usually to be COMMAND.COM or CMD.EXE). These scripts are with extension of .bat or .cmd.

>> Change Password and Folder Name

With the text pasted in, you can adjust the locked folder’s name as well as the password used to unlock it. The default folder name is “Private” and the default password is “Pass”. You can find and adjust them in the “lock.bat” file.

Change folder password in script.
change password in script
Change folder name in script.
change folder name in script
  • If you do not want to go through the create process, click to download the scripted file which we have made before.

Get the Free Script File

  • After downloading and decompress, please change the extension from .txt to .bat after changing the name and password insides the file.
>> Password Protect a Target Folder with Script
After finishing settings of the script, we can lock/hide target folder with script. Here we go.
Step 1: Double-click “lock.bat” then the folder named “Private” will be created in the same directory. Please save the files you want to protect inside.
new protect folder will be created
Step 2: Double-click “.bat” file and enter “y” in the pop up Window and hit “Enter”. You will find that the folder ”Private” has disappeared and get protected.
lock the target folder with script
>> How to Show the Hidden and Protected Folder?
Step 1: Double-click “lock.bat” again.
Step 2: Enter the password you set in the pop up window and hit “Enter”. Then the disappeared folder will show again.
show the lock folder
  • Users protect folders with script can change the name of the “.bat” file into other insignificant file name like “time.bat”.
  • Also, it is recommend to save the “.bat” file in other irrelevant directory.

Advantages:

  • Easy to go. The only thing you need to do is to save the script and make the operation. It does not need any complicated operation or professional knowledge.
  • Whatever the size of target folder,  whole process will not take too much time.

Disadvantages:

  • No safe and is easy to be cracked.
  • Does not support to lock a batch of folder at a time.
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How to Access the Script Protected Folder without Password
It is very easy to get this folder even you do not get the “lock.bat” file. All you need to do is to show all hidden files, folders and drive in browser.
Step 1: Hit “Win” and “E” button, please click “Organize” -> “Folder and search option”. (Here is the process in Windows 7). If you are using Windows 10, the “Folder and search option” could be found in “File” item.
select folder and search options
Step 2: Please check the 3 items which has been highlighted in the picture. And click “OK”.
select items which can show the locked folder with script
Step 3: Then the hidden folder will be shown but with another name. You can open this folder without password.
locked folder is shown
It is just so easy to crack the folder protected with script. Too easy to be cracked? Want to get a more secure and convenience solution? Click here!
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Method 2: [Free] How to Password Protect Folder with Software like Winrar, Winzip, 7zip

This method is to compress the entire folder with the password protect function in some compression tools. This method is time-consuming. Especially you have include some large files. Of course, this method is safer than using script. And it is harder to crack. Besides, if you want to add new files, you need to go through the whole decompress process.
Convenience: ★★☆☆☆
Processing time: ★★☆☆☆
Safety: ★★★☆☆
Difficulty to crack: ★★★☆☆
Supported system: Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista/2000
Support to lock piles of folders at a time: Yes
How to Add Password to Folder with Compression Software
Preparation: Please download anyone of these compression tools.

Here we will make Winrar as an example.

Step 1: Download and install Winrar.
Step 2: Right-click target folder you want to lock and click “Add to archive…”.
compress-target-folder-with-winrar
Step 3:  Please click “Set password” in the pop up window.
set password for compressed folder
Step 4: Set the password and confirm again for the compressed folder. Please click OK.
enter password for the compressed folder
Step 5: Compression will go through automatically. After compression finished, please erase the  original folder without trace.
compress go through
Step 6:  After compression, you will get a compressed file which is password protected. Of course, you need to delete the source folder. Or other can still check your folder.

Advantages:

  • Easy to get and use these user-friendly compression software.
  • All you need to do is to set a password which can not be cracked easily. Data inside will get protected.

Disadvantages:

  • It is not so convenience if you want to access the files inside. You need to decompress the files at first. Decompression of a file over 1TB will cost hours.
  • Lots of cracking tools can crack Winrar, Winzip password protected folders.
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How to Access the Password Protected Compressed Folder without Password
Password protect folders with compression has been widely used in computer users. And there are so many cracking tools which can help users to access data in such password compressed folder. This compression method is not so secure as we believed. Besides, other users who are interesting in your folders can copy these folders to their computer and get more time to crack the files with any cracking tools they found on Internet.
software which can crack compressed folder
compressed file cracking
Want to lock the folder with a more convenience method which does not need to decompress or can not be copied to cracking? Click here to find solution!
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Method 3: [Free] Password Protect Folder with Account Authority in Windows

This method only worked for computer which has different accounts with different privilege. If there is only one account in your PC, then this method will not work. The principle of this method is to make use of the built-in account settings in Windows. Once you encrypt the folder with the “Compress or Encrypt attributes” function, all the data you add to this folder will be encrypted automatically. However, the name of folder can not encrypt.
It is easy to use. But please note that the folder name is not encrypted. Of course, this method is free as well.
Convenience: ★★☆☆☆
Processing time: ★★★★☆
Safety: ★★☆☆☆
Difficulty to crack: ★★☆☆☆
Supported system: Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista/2K
Support to lock piles of folders at a time: Yes
How to Password Protect a Folder with Account Authority
Step 1: Right-click the folder you want to encrypt. And click “Properties”.
select properties to lock folder
Step 2: Choose “Advanced” on the pop up window. Then please check the item “Encrypt contents to secure data” and click “OK”.
click advanced in properties of target folder
Step 3: Then Windows will encrypt data inside this folder. 
choose encrypt to secure data to lock target folder
Step 4: If you want to access the data inside this folder.

If you want to access the locked folder, please login the related account which you used to lock the folder. Others login with different account can not access the data inside. (But they can get the folder name. )

Advantages:
Easy and convenience. No need to install any third-party software.

Disadvantages:

  • Can not encrypt the name of target file/folder. Other account in the same computer can still know the name of each file inside the protected folder, which is not safe enough for privacy protection.
  • Although other account can not access to the protected folder, the account which you used to encrypt the folder can. It could lead to privacy leak when you share compute with this account logging in.
  • Only limit the authority of reading target folders, users can still move even delete these folders after the confirmation of files and folder name.
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How to Access Data in the Protected Folder
Because this method protect folder/files with computer account, user needs an offline Windows password cracking tools like “Ophcrack” (http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/). Then you need to create a bootable USB disk or CD with this tool. Boot the target PC with this disk. Then Ophcrack will help you get the password of this account.
Ophcrack crack account password
Similar Windows account password cracking tools are various on the Internet. As you can see, it just take 2 minutes and we can get the password to login the target account. It is so easy to access your personal files. This method is not secure enough as well.
Want to password protect folder with a method which is more convenience, better security and do not need to go through too many setting process? Click here to get a perfect solution!
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Method 4: [Free] How to Password Protect a Folder With Sharing Settings

This method works for those who need to share files via network and with more than one computer. It is common for office worker to share files with other network computer without sharing your own computer. Others need the account and password from you when accessing these folder. Under this circumstance, other will not know the folder name. This method provides better security.
Convenience: ★★★☆☆

Processing time: ★★★★☆

Safety: ★★★☆☆

Difficulty to crack: ★★☆☆☆

Supported system: Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista/2K

Support to lock piles of folders at a time: Yes

How to Password Protect a Folder with Sharing Settings
Step 1: Right-click the target folder and go to “Share with” item then select “Specific people”.
share folder with sepcific account
Step 2: Select the account you just created in the list.
share settings
Step 3: Click “Next” and the create will get finish. After sharing, other account can access the shared folder with the path here but need to enter the correct account name and password.
share successfully
Advantages:
Effective on controlling who can access the folder. Also support to lock the control of different directory. Others will not know the folder name and content until they enter the correct account and password.
Disadvantages:
Only work on network computers. Does not work if you just want to password protect folder in your own PC.
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How to Access Data inside the Protected Folder
Cracking shared folder is a little complicated. But we still can go through.
Step 1: Download SMB Scanner (http://www.cners.com/tools/smbscanner.zip) . Then launch the software and enter a IP. (Like: 192.168.1.1-192.168.1.255)
Step 2: After searching finish, please use the crack function in this software to crack the password of the shared folder. 
Want to get a more secure, convenience and hard to crack solution to lock folder? Click here to get one!
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Method 5:Password Protect Folder with Renee File Protector

Methods above are some free solution to encrypt folders in Windows. However, those methods are inconvenience, not secure or easy to crack. If you care about these and want to find a better solution, you can have a try of Renee File Protector which was designed by Rene.E Laboratory with over 2 years. Renee File Protector includes multiple helpful functions to provide overall protection to your data and private information.

Overall protection provided by Renee File Protector:

Protection for External Memory Devices:
Password protect files/folders in external memory devices like SD card, external hard disk, memory card, USB disk, etc. p >

Protection for Shared Folder:
Lock shared folder with password to ensure the right people get access to the files in shared folder.

Hide Data:
Support to hide a batch of files/folders/partitions in local disk. Even you enable the “Show hidden files/folders” in Windows, the protected data will not be shown.

Protect from Modification:
You can enable others to check the protected data but can not modify or delete the protected data.

Lock Data in Local Disk:
Lock files/folders/partitions in local disk with password. Just a few simple steps you can prevent the protected data from unauthorized access.

Monitor:
Any activity of the targets which has been added to the monitor list will be recorded. You can check the log at anytime.

Safe Delete Function:
Erase data you select without trace. Unrecoverable! Truly protect your privacy!

Compatible with: Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP
Get Free Version
people has downloaded and lock their folders!
Here, I think most of you are interested in how to lock folder with password. Let us get more about how Renee File Protector works here.

Locking Theory of Renee File Protector

Lock function of Renee File Protector:
It password protects folder and control the access to target folder with file system driver. Whole folder locking process will not modify data inside the folder. Besides, it will not limit the number of the files/folders you want to lock.

Time consuming for folder locking with password:
Folders in Local Disk: nearly instant.
Folders in External Disk: May take a few minutes because we need to lock the target files/folders in a special way.

theory
Convenience: ★★★★☆

Processing time: ★★★★★

Safety: ★★★★☆

Difficulty to crack: ★★★★★

Supported system: Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista/2K

Support to lock piles of folders at a time: Yes

How to Password Protect Folder with Renee File Protector

Protecting folders with password via this method will not be password-protected after the uninstall of Renee File Protector. Of course, only you enter the correct password, the uninstall of Renee File Protector will be processed.
The first time you use Renee File Protector after installation, you will be required to set the master password and the email address.
set master password

Step 1: Launch Renee File Protector and go to “Lock File” in “Hard disk”.

lock function

Step 2: Click “Lock Folder” and then select the target folder in the pop up browser.

lock folder function in hard disk

Step 3: Renee File Protector will lock the selected folder once you confirm.

You can also lock target folder via right-clicking it. Please click “Renee File Protector” and then “Lock(Deny read/write/run)” in the menu. Then the folder will be locked once you enter correct master password of Renee File Protector.
select the folder and lock

Step 4: You will be notified that the target folder is not accessible when you double click it. Enter the master password in the pop-up window. Then you are able to get access to the data inside.

enter master password

Advantages:

  • User friendly. Provides strong and safe protection to users.
  • Support to protect multiple folders/files. Users can manage the protected files/folder in the panel easily.
  • Support to protect files and folders in external hard disk, USB disk and SD card, etc.
Disadvantages:
Only default password is available in free version. User can not change the password liberally.
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Possibility of Others Accessing Data Inside without Password

Brute force is an inevitable challenge for every encryption software. Renee File Protector always gets ready for different challenges. Thanks to the limitation from file system drive, others can not copy the protected folder to other place.
Besides, users can make security settings in “Security” to master the cracking activity. You can get email notification and lock the account for 10 minutes once users enter wrong password more than 5 times. This could help users to get the password back if they forgot the password.
self-protection of Renee File Protector
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What are you hesitating for? Download Renee File Protector and lock folder now! Also, you can make comparison of different lock methods here!
download-button-win

Conclusion

The listed 5 folder lock methods has been widely used in office this year.
  • Method 1, 2, 3 and 4 are entirely free. But method 3 and method 4 are not so practical because they limit the situation. And method 1 is easy to use but we do not recommend you to try it because it is not secure enough. In other words, choosing method 2 to lock folder with password could be a better choice.
  • Password protecting folder with method 2 and method 5 needs to download software. And password protecting folder with method 2 could lower the file quality sometimes. Besides, accessing the files inside after compression could be troublesome especially when you forget the password. And it is easy to be cracked. Considering these, method 5 could be a better choice.
  • Although method 5 is not a freeware, it provides trial version for customer. For a better data security, download and password protect your folders with Renee File Protector now!
download-button-win
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