Encrypt Files and Folders using EFS in Windows 10

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.

lock folder icon

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.

Encrypt Offline Files Cache Backup Key

To encrypt a file or folder in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Right-click on the file or  folder you want to encrypt in File Explorer.
  2. Select Properties from the context menu. See How to open file or folder properties quickly in Windows File Explorer.
  3. Сlick the Advanced button on the General tab.
  4. Turn on the option "Encrypt contents to secure data".Windows 10 encrypt file or folder

You are done.

Encrypt File or Folder Using Command Prompt

  1. Open a new command prompt
  2. To encrypt a folder, type the following command: cipher /e "the full path to your folder".Encrypt A Folder With EFS Windows 10
  3. To encrypt a folder with subfolders and files, type:cipher /e /s:"the full path to your folder".Encrypt All Files With EFS Windows 10
  4. To encrypt a single file, run the command cipher /e "the full path to the file".Encrypt A File With EFS Windows 10

That's it.

Articles of interest:

Support us

Winaero greatly relies on your support. You can help the site keep bringing you interesting and useful content and software by using these options:

If you like this article, please share it using the buttons below. It won't take a lot from you, but it will help us grow. Thanks for your support!


Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Using Telegram? Subscribe to the blog channel!
Hello. Add your message here.