For many versions, Windows has included an advanced security feature called Encrypting File System (EFS). It allows the user to store files and folders encrypted, so they will be protected from unwanted access. Today, we will see how to encrypt a file or a folder with Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows 10. This can be done with either the File Properties dialog, or with a command line tool, cipher.exe.
Other user accounts cannot access your encrypted files, neither can anyone from the network or by booting into another OS and accessing that folder. This is the strongest protection which is available in Windows to protect individual files and folders without encrypting the whole drive.
When a folder or file is encrypted using Encrypting File System (EFS), the File Explorer app shows a pad lock overlay icon for such a file or folder.
When you encrypt a folder, new files saved into that folder will automatically be encrypted.
Note: Encryption will be disabled for a folder, if you compress it, move it to a ZIP archive, or copy to a location that doesn't support NTFS encryption with EFS.
When you encrypt a file or folder, you might be prompted to backup your your file encryption key to help avoid permanently losing access to your encrypted data.
To encrypt a file or folder in Windows 10, do the following.
- Right-click on the file or folder you want to encrypt in File Explorer.
- Select Properties from the context menu. See How to open file or folder properties quickly in Windows File Explorer.
- Сlick the Advanced button on the General tab.
- Turn on the option "Encrypt contents to secure data".
You are done.
Encrypt File or Folder Using Command Prompt
- Open a new command prompt
- To encrypt a folder, type the following command:
cipher /e "the full path to your folder".
- To encrypt a folder with subfolders and files, type:
cipher /e /s:"the full path to your folder".
- To encrypt a single file, run the command
cipher /e "the full path to the file".
Articles of interest:
- How to add encrypt and decrypt commands in Windows 10 right click menu
- Erase free space securely in Windows without third party tools
- Encrypt Offline Files Cache in Windows 10
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