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How to encrypt or encrypt files or folders in Windows 10? Step by step guide

How to encrypt or encrypt files or folders in Windows 10? Step by step guide

For starters, security and privacy are two increasingly fundamental parameters for all users who turn on their computer every day. Since the hard disk of this useful device saves a lot of personal and confidential information , so it is very important to keep these documents safe and so they cannot fall into the hands of any stranger or malicious person.

For its part, to protect our computer folders there are different third-party applications but if you use Windows 10 , this operating system has an appropriate function to encrypt your files and folders no facilities . In this way, you do not need to use third-party applications, as mentioned, so it will be enough to make a few simple clicks and you will immediately protect those documents that you want to protect from strangers.

Also, when you encrypt a file or a folder, it is possible to specify which users can see its content . Thus, for the rest of the people, said documents will be as adulterated and in no way can they be opened. It should be noted that the basic versions of Windows, ie Home, Basic, Single License and Start, do not include encryption functions. But if you are a user of Windows 10 , then you will know the different methods that exist to carry out a convenient file encryption .

Steps to encrypt and protect files or folders in Windows 10

For sure, the fastest way to encrypt and protect files or folders of a system device operating Windows 10 , is using its own encryption function known as EFS or “ Encrypted File Service “. This function is very simple and will provide excellent protection for all your files. The best thing is that it is done in a few minutes with just just a few clicks .

You should keep in mind that documents encrypted through the EFS mechanism are completely related to the user account with which they are created. Thus, other user accounts, even if they had administrator permissions, will not be able to access that content . Then it is convenient that you make sure keep your password well because otherwise, the file will be locked forever .

Added to this, an encrypted file or folder cannot be read on another PC , whether it is copied, sent by mail, etc .; This action is not allowed. That way, if you decide to change users or reinstall Windows, you will have trouble accessing the encrypted document .

In this regard, we will begin to detail the steps you must take:

1 – Locate the folder or file you wish to encrypt

Once you locate it, click the right button of the mouse on top of it.

Ubicar la carpeta o el archivo que deseas cifrar

2 – Choose “Properties”

When you are in the drop-down menu, select the option « Properties «. If they are several documents , you can also do it by choosing all the files and pressing the « Alt + Enter» keys on your keyboard at the same time. This action will open the combined properties of all the files or folders chosen.

Elegir “Propiedades”

3 – Go to the “Advanced” option

The general tab shows you frequent information such as the size and creation date of the file. At first glance the boxes are located to mark a file as “ Hidden ” or “ Read only “, and in the case of the encryption box, is It’s hidden . To be able to see it, you must click on the “ Advanced ” section.

Dirigirse a la opción “Avanzados”

4 – Encrypt content to protect data ​​span >

When entering the advanced options, you will be able to observe the “ Encrypt content to protect data ” box, which you must activate to securely encrypt the desired document.

Now, if you don’t see this option, (you may have a basic version of Windows) and therefore, it doesn’t have this support. You can install and update your version of Windows 10 to have these options.

Cifrar contenido para proteger los datos

5 – Encrypt the document and / or the folder that it contains it

To conclude the process, after pressing “ Accept ” in the previous window, it is very likely that you will see a window like this. There it is explained that having an encrypted file in an unencrypted folder can cause other people to access its content through temporary files created by different editing programs such as Word or Photoshop, for example.

Indeed, it’s up to you if you want to encrypt only the document or if you want to also do it with the folder that contains it .

Cifrar el documento y/o la carpeta que lo contiene

Thus, with these five simple steps, you will have totally secure and private documents. Consequently, you will ask who can see this password protected file and you should know that they are by default visible by the user who has protected them. What ultimately refers to your Windows 10 user .

That way, you can see that the document adds a lock icon in its preview, but otherwise you can access the file without any inconvenience in the application you want.


However, if you copy the same document to another computer, you will also see the lock icon , but on the contrary, does not show the preview . Then it is not permissible to access the content with any application and it is not possible to decrypt it .

Why is it so important to encrypt documents in Windows and what risks exist?

¿Porqué es tan importante cifrar documentos en Windows y que riesgos existen?

While it is true, document encryption refers to a process by which you make a certain information illegible. In this way, this information can only be seen if a password is previously applied which, of course, must be known and saved by the person carrying out the process. That is, will only be accessed through a password or code .

Now, encrypting documents in Windows is extremely important and considering that Windows 10 allows you to do it easily, Why not make use of that beneficial tool?

A key example is when your laptop has been stolen. So you face a dangerous situation and even more if the device is full of important files with personal or work information . Therefore, the best thing you can do is to stop some way to block it to prevent the thief from accessing sensitive data. It does not matter if this subject resells it, it is valuable that you encrypt your documents just in case.

In the case of businesses and corporations, document encryption is also essential, since all the files that are handled there are mostly of confidential type . This is applicable if you have a company that operates physically using an intranet among its workers. In addition, it is usually important if it is an Internet-based network because there will be many databases that will be all the time in the cloud and of course require extensive protection.

In reference to the risks presented by these actions, it should be noted that this action reduces the risk but does not completely eliminate it. In addition, is an illegal action in some countries , so if you decide to download, install or use programs to encrypt documents, this would be a crime in itself. With which the police and intelligence services could initiate an arduous investigation to those groups of whom you are looking to protect information. Coming to accuse you of criminal activity or espionage .

List of most used programs to encrypt documents in Windows 10

Mejores programas encriptar documentos en Windows 10

It is also possible to use a non-native Windows program to encrypt documents on the computer. Thus, we recommend the following that are totally free and open source :

  • AES Crypt : compatible with Windows, Mac, Android and Linux.
  • AxCrypt : Write the information in a text file , use the program to encrypt it, attach the encrypted document in the e-mail and ask the recipient to install the same program. Then, just send the key you used for it.
  • DiskCryptor : It has a slight interface, the program makes the encryption service very simple. One detail is that this can only be done with existing discs, not having the option to create new ones. The DislCryptor uses top-of-the-line algorithms, such as AES, Twofish and Serpent.
  • BitLocker : Protect the entire unit. It is a very simple and fast method, since it protects all the files of a unit in just an instant. In addition, it is a safer method than EFS.
  • 7-Zip : Alternative known as a file compactor. Then, in the same way that you execute document compaction, it can also be encrypted. Blocking thus the file with password .
  • Gpg4win: Used as the center of your system, the software is a graphical interface from GnuPG , which uses the encryption algorithm: OpenPGP . It was not made to run easily, but as a tool this is very versatile . You can encrypt your data in the HD, data in the cloud, your e-mails and other information of interest.
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