How to easily encrypt folders and files on my Windows 10 PC

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Catherine Le Nevez
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What is File Encryption?

It is a function that allows you to hide a file with the naked eye , which can only be accessed via a password or a series of specific steps. There are several types of encryption, but it generally relies on making a file unreadable to people who don't have the password or don't know the correct viewing process.

Windows Encryption Tool (EFS) is based on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTS) encryption system that helps protect documents stored on hard drive partitions.

What is the purpose of file encryption?

If you have very important files, perhaps the encryption option is something you should consider. It is one of many methods of protection that we have inside Windows, fully functional if you want to prevent your files from being copied to another computer.

Using the method we showed earlier, when you try to open encrypted files, you will get a warning prohibiting it. Therefore, to open encrypted files, you will need to have the encryption key that we created earlier.

Types of encryption

There are two types of encryption: symmetric and asymmetric.

  • La symmetric encryption uses the same key for both file encryption and decryption. This option is the simplest, because you can quickly access the data.
  • We have instead asymmetric encryption , which uses two different keys; one to encrypt (public key) and another to decrypt (private key), used for files that require extra security.

Steps to encrypt files and folders on Windows 10 PC

Windows has a basic encryption system with which you can protect your information. However, this will only apply to computers running the Windows 10 operating system. In other words, if a file encrypted with this system is copied, it can be opened by other operating systems, but Windows takes note.

  • To do this, or simply to the location of the file or the folder you want to encrypt.
  • Once there, right click on the file you want to encrypt and select the option " Property ".
  • When you are inside the file properties of the folder, go to the " Advanced " down.
  • The advanced attributes will be shown, this time you just have to click on " Encrypt content to protect data ”And click on accept.
  • When you do that, a warning screen will appear, there you have to select whether to encrypt the file only or encrypt the file in the folder. Depending on what you want to do, select the option that suits you best and click " Accept "
  • You will see that the warning appears in the notification area to make a backup copy of the certificate and the encryption key. You should select " Back up now ".
  • Press Next until the password section appears. Once displayed, enable the use of the password by clicking on the option. Then provide the password you want to use and then click " NEXT ".
  • Now you have to give a name to the certificate key you added, simply click on " Shop by Department “, Find the place where you want to save the key and write the name you will give it. Then click on " NEXT "And then on the button" end ".

Note that what is shown first will only work for copying files to other computers. Even so, there's also the option to password protect folders and files with Folder Password Lock, which is handy if you don't want them to see information on your computer.

The best programs to encrypt files

Although Windows has its own encryption tool that allows us to encrypt files quickly and easily, the chances are that we need a tool with more features or with more security.


It is a free application that we can find in Windows Vista capable of encrypt a hard drive or parts of it to prevent information theft. It works using an AES encryption algorithm in CBC mode with a 128-bit key available.


It is a cross-platform software which gives us access to encryption of files, removable USB drives, folders, and even entire hard drives. It uses different encryption algorithms like AES, Serpent and TwoFish and even combinations of these.

Crita AES

Another cross-platform application that works with the 'Advanced Encryption Standard' encryption algorithm, which guarantees us maximum safety in file encryption. By applying 256-bit encryption, it encrypts files quickly and efficiently.

What you should know about folder and file encryption in Windows

There are several ways to encrypt in Windows, the one we showed earlier is the simplest of all methods and it will be functional so that they don't copy your files to other computers. However, as we pointed out earlier, encryption it will not work if the file is copied to another operating system.

In other words, if the file is copied to an Android or any other mobile phone, it is very likely that your information can be viewed, so the above method will not work. In this case, it would be better to use methods like activating and using Bitlocker protection, which could help you in this process.

On the other hand, in some devices there are also very interesting protection measures, such as the safe folder of Samsung Galaxy phones, but this is something different from what we discussed earlier.

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