How to Password-Protect a Folder

Last Updated Jun 23, 2011 9:07 AM EDT


You already know how to password-protect a Word document. But what if you want to protect an entire folder from prying eyes? Surely Windows must offer a way to assign a password to the folder(s) of your choosing?

Sadly, no. If you want that kind of protection, you'll need third-party software. And most "folder lock" utilities cost $30-40, which seems pretty steep for such a simplistic operation. Fortunately, there are a few options that don't cost a dime.

First, most Zip managers, including popular freebie 7-Zip, give you the option of password-protecting any zipped folders (and individual files). Yes, you have to deal with the hassle of unzipping (i.e. decompressing) the folder whenever you want to access its contents, but it's still a viable free option.

Second, try My Lockbox. Compatible with all versions of Windows, this freeware utility makes it a snap to assign a password to any folder -- any one folder. If you want support for multiple folders, you'll need the $24.95 Pro version (which is still a deal compared with some competing tools).

Finally, today only, freebie-of-the-day site Giveaway of the Day is offering folder-protection utility docLock free of charge. It normally sells for $29.95. The only catch is that you must download and install it today.

If you've found a better, cheaper way to keep your folders secure, tell me about it in the comments!

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.

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