How to password protect and encrypt files and folders in Windows 10 – Digitalmunition




News How to password protect and encrypt files and folders in Windows 10

Published on September 12th, 2019 📆 | 8348 Views ⚑

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How to password protect and encrypt files and folders in Windows 10

The main protection measure for files stored on a computer with Windows 10 operating system is the users’ password; however, data protection specialists mention that, in case the user considers that their information requires additional security layers, it is possible to add them using a very simple method.

Although Microsoft does not have a password feature
to protect folders and files, it is possible to use a virtual hard disk and
BitLocker, the encryption tool built into the operating system, to add
additional security measures.

Below, data protection experts present the
steps for creating a password folder using this combination of tools available
in the professional version of the operating system. This method is based on
the configuration of a virtual hard disk with BitLocker,
which avoids the use of complex scripts or third party developments, which are
sometimes dangerous or deficient.

Create a virtual hard
drive

To create a virtual hard drive in Windows 10,
follow these steps:

  • Go
    to Start
  • Search
    for Disk Management and click the first option to open the application
  • Click
    the Action menu
  • Click
    the Create VHD option
  • Click
    Browse to select a location for the virtual disk
  • Then
    set a name for this drive (folder_vault, for example)
  • Click
    Save
  • In
    the “Virtual Hard Disk Size” option, specify the amount of space you
    want to reserve for this drive
  • In
    the “Virtual Hard Disk Format” section, select the VHDX option (this
    step is optional)
  • Select
    Dynamically expanding option to increase size as files are stored on the
    virtual hard disk
  • Click
    OK
  • Right-click
    on “Disk x” and select the Initialize Disk option
  • Check
    the new Disk x.
  • Select
    the MBR (Master Boot Record)
  • Click
    OK
  • Right-click
    “Unallocated Space” and select the New Simple Volume option
  • Click
    Next
  • Use
    the default settings for volume size
  • Click
    the Next button
  • Use
    the “Assign the next drive letter” drop-down menu to select a letter
    for the new drive
  • Click
    Next
  • Use
    the “File System” drop-down menu and select the NTFS option
  • Use
    the drop-down menu “Allocation Unit Size” and select the Default
    option
  • In
    the “Value Label” field, type a descriptive name for the unit. For
    example, folder_vault
  • Check
    the Perform a quick format option
  • Clear
    the Enable file and folder compression option. Keep this option disabled
  • Click
    Next
  • Click
    Finish

According to data protection experts, when
these steps are completed the virtual hard disk will be set up; this drive can
be treated as a folder, plus you can add a password using BitLocker.

Enable BitLocker on a
virtual hard disk

To set up BitLocker on a virtual hard disk in
Windows 10, follow these steps:

  • Open
    the control panel
  • Click
    System and Security
  • Click
    BitLocker Drive Encryption
  • In
    the “Fixed Data Units” section, select the virtual drive that was
    created earlier (folder_vault)
  • Click
    Enable BitLocker
  • Check
    the Use a password option to unlock the drive
  • You
    must create a password to protect your folders within this virtual drive
  • Click
    Next
  • Click
    Save to a file
  • Select
    a location to store the recovery key. If you forget your password or lose your
    recovery key, you will not be able to recover your files. You should make sure
    to store this file in a secure location
  • Click Save
  • Click Next
  • Select the option Encrypt Used Disk Space Only
  • Click
    Next
  • Select
    the Compatibility Mode option
  • Click
    Next
  • Click
    Start Encryption
  • Click
    the Close button when encryption is complete

At the end of this process, you can start using
the virtual storage drive as a password folder, as mentioned by data protection
experts.

Unlock folders with a
password

To access password-protected files and folders
in Windows 10, follow these steps:

  • Open
    File Explorer
  • Locate
    the folder with the folder_vault.vhd file
  • Double-click
    the VHD (VHDX) file to mount it in File Explorer. It is normal to find the
    message “Not accessible” or “Access denied”
  • Click
    This PC from the left panel
  • In
    the “Devices and Drives” section, double-click the drive to open the
    login page
  • Enter
    the password to unlock the encrypted disk. If you don’t remember the password,
    click the More Options link, click Enter Recovery Key and paste the available
    48-digit key into the text file you should have saved in the BitLocker setup
    process

Once you complete the steps, you will be able
to access your encrypted files and folders.

Lock folders with a
password

When you no longer need to access your files,
follow these steps to lock the drive:

  • Open
    File Explorer
  • Click
    This PC from the left panel
  • In
    the “Devices and Drives” section, right-click the BitLocker drive and
    select the Eject option

According to the International Institute of Cyber
Security (IICS) data protection experts, when completing these steps, the
folders will remain encrypted with BitLocker. If you want to access these files
again, you only need to do this process again.



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