How to Password Protect a Folder on Windows 11
Want to stop people peeking into your files on Windows 11? Isolate a specific folder with these tips.
Microsoft offers a lot of added security with Windows 11, thanks to its underlying TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module) hardware requirement. However, you may still want to add an extra layer of security to safeguard important documents and media. Unfortunately, Windows 11 does not let you directly lock (password protect) a folder, but there are a few workarounds.
A secure password-protected folder will allow you to store sensitive files in plain sight without worrying about lurkers getting unauthorized access. Encrypting a folder in Windows 11 is relatively straightforward and worth the extra effort.
How to Secure a Windows 11 Folder Using BitLocker
BitLocker is Microsoft’s in-house encryption tool and has been part of the Windows ecosystem since the disappointing days of Windows Vista. It’s already installed on your system and requires no subscription, meaning you can utilize a super-secure encryption tool to safeguard your files at no extra cost. You can even encrypt your entire drive on Windows 11 with BitLocker.
While you can’t directly encrypt a single folder using BitLocker, it is possible to utilize its virtual disk encryption functionality to encrypt a specific folder.
A quick overview of the process of making a password-protected folder using BitLocker on Windows 11 looks like this: you first need to create a virtual drive, allocate it to a designated volume and then configure BitLocker on the newly created virtual drive.
Here’s how you can create a secure folder on Windows 11:
- Launch Disk Management, select Action > Create VHD from the toolbar, and then choose your folder’s location.
- Enter your folder size in the Virtual hard disk size field, select VHDX and Dynamically expanding (Recommended) and click OK.
- Once you’ve created the virtual drive, you’ll need to initialize it. To do so, right-click on your virtual drive from Disk Management, select GPT (GUID Partition Table), and click OK. If you’re not sure what you’ve just selected but want to learn more, be sure to check out the difference between MBR and GPT.
- Right-click your virtual drive, and launch the New Simple Volume Wizard by selecting New Single Volume from the context menu. Select the NTFS file system and Perform a quick format within the wizard ( you can use the default settings for other options).
- Click on Finish at the end of the wizard
Your virtual drive is now ready to be encrypted by BitLocker. Let’s head over there and finish up:
- Navigate to Control Panel > System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption > Fixed data drives.
- Find your virtual drive and select Turn on BitLocker. Enter a strong password, save the recovery key to an external file, or print it.
- We also recommend selecting the Encrypt used disk space only and Compatible mode options.
- Finally, click on Start encrypting when prompted, and your secure folder is ready to be used.
To use the virtual folder, navigate to the saved location, double-click to mount it, and then head on to This PC. Open your virtual drive/folder and enter the password when prompted. You can create new files in this drive and move existing ones. If you’ve forgotten your password, you can reset it using the recovery key.
How to Add Password to a Windows 11 Folder Using Third-Party Apps
If the above method of setting up a virtual drive doesn’t work for you, you can always opt for a third-party app or program. If you’re familiar with App Lock applications on iOS and Android, you’ll find these applications easy to use.
There’s always an additional risk when using third-party software to secure your sensitive files. Always ensure you’re using a trusted and reliable folder encryption tool.
Folder Lock is a popular tool to password protect your files. It’s compatible with Windows 11, is reliable, and offers backup/sync features. Folder Lock is a highly user-friendly app and very easy to use.
Download: Folder Lock (Free, premium available)
Safeguard Your Files With a Secure Password Protected Folder
We’ve all got sensitive files that can cause much damage if the wrong hands access them. As such, keeping your data secure with an extra layer of protection is essential. Malicious programs such as ransomware can hold your data hostage and wreak havoc.