How to Password-Protect Folders in Windows XP

If you share a computer with other users and want some extra security on your folders, there are two ways to password protect a folder built into Windows XP.

To password protect without using a software, the hard drive MUST be formatted using NTFS. If you have a log in password for your account, this can be used to protect folders from other users.

Tip: Before password protecting any document, you may wish to create a backup of the non-password protected folder and files in case you forget the password in the future.

For Microsoft Windows XP home users

  • Select the folder you want to make private.

  • Right-click the folder and click Properties or (Alt + Double-click).

  • Click the Sharing tab.

  • Check the box Make this folder private.

  • Click Apply - If you do not have a password on your account, a box will pop up asking if you want to assign a password. This must be done if you want to make the folder private, so click Yes . You will need to use your password to log on to your computer from then on.

  • Type in a password then confirm it. Click the "Create Password" button then close the Password window.

  • Click OK in the Properties dialog box. Nobody else can access the file unless they know your password.

    If the Folder is compressed (Zipped) you can give it a unique password.

    This is done by:

  • Double-clicking the compressed (Zipped) folder.

  • In the top menu select File then click "Add a Password".

  • Once you add a password, you are the only person who can access files in this folder.

    The folder can be opened allowing the files to be seen, but you are the only one who can access them.

    Effective Password Tips

    An effective password is one that cannot be easily guessed. Here are few suggestions on how to choose a good password;

  • It contains at least six characters long

  • It contains a mix of capital letters and lower case letters

  • It contains at least one digit or special character such as a punctuation mark

  • It cannot be easily guessed. Choose one which is hard for humans or computers to guess - Avoid people's names, birthdates and anniversary dates

  • It is changed frequently

  • Always choose a password that is easy for you to remember.