How to Lock a Folder on Windows 11

Encrypt files featured

You don’t want important files falling into the wrong hands. If you’re on Windows 11, learn how to lock a folder to protect your files here.

You probably have several files on your computer that contain sensitive information, such as your home address or bank details. It’s a good idea to keep files of this kind away from prying eyes.

One way to do so is to keep them in a locked folder. That way, if anyone gets access to your computer, they won’t be able to access the sensitive files in your locked folder. On Windows, there are a number of different ways to lock a folder and keep your documents protected.

If you want to know how to lock a folder on Windows 11, follow the steps below.

How to Lock a Folder in Windows 11 Pro Using Encryption

If you’re using Windows 11 Pro, you can encrypt files directly within Windows.

If you’re using Windows 11 Home, however, then you won’t be able to follow these steps, and you’ll need to try another method instead.

To lock a folder in Windows 11 Pro using encryption:

  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder that you want to lock.
  2. Right-click on the folder and select Properties.
    windows 11 folder properties
  3. Under the General tab, click Advanced.
    windows 11 advanced properties
  4. At the bottom of the window, check Encrypt Content To Secure Data.
    windows 11 encrypt data
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click Apply to apply your changes.
    windows 11 apply encryption
  7. Decide whether you want to Apply Changes To This Folder Only or Apply Changes to this folder, subfolders, and files then click OK.
    Encrypt Files and Folder on Windows 11
  8. If you haven’t done so before, you’ll see messaging encouraging you to back up your file encryption certificate and key. Click Back Up Now and follow the instructions to save a copy of your encryption key.
  9. Enter a strong password and click OK.
  10. To access your locked folder, double-click it as normal. When prompted, enter your password. You will now be able to access your folder.

How to Lock a Folder in Windows 11 Using WinRAR

If you’re using Windows 11 Home, or you don’t want to use the built-in encryption in Windows 11 Pro, you can make use of a third-party archiving app such as WinRAR. You can also use alternatives like 7-Zip instead.

This app prompts you to buy a license, but you can use the evaluation copy to encrypt and decrypt your folder.

To lock a folder in Windows 11 using WinRAR:

  1. Download and install WinRAR.
  2. Navigate to the folder you want to lock in File Explorer.
  3. Right-click on the folder and click WinRAR.
    windows 11 context menu winrar
  4. Check Delete Files After Archiving as otherwise, you will have both your protected archive and your unprotected folder on your computer.
    winrar delete files after archiving
  5. Click Set Password.
    windows 11 encryption set password
  6. Enter a strong password and click OK.
    set winrar password
  7. Your archive will now be created.
  8. To open your archived folder, double-click it in Windows Explorer.
  9. Double-click the folder name to see the files it contains.
    winrar folder
  10. When you double-click a file to open it, you’ll be asked to enter your password.
    winrar enter password
  11. Once you’ve entered the correct password, your file will open.
  12. If you decide you no longer want to lock your folder, select the folder and click Extract To.
    winrar extract to
  13. Enter the location you want to extract the folder to and click OK.
    winrar extraction path
  14. You’ll be asked for your password. Once you enter it correctly, your folder will be extracted to the chosen destination and will be unlocked once more.
  15. You can now delete the archive if you no longer want it.

How to Lock a Folder in Windows 11 Using Other Third-Party Apps

There are a number of third-party apps that you can use to lock folders. We’ll take a look at how to use one of them. The free version of Wise Folder Hider allows you to hide files and folders up to 50 MB, or you can upgrade to the paid version to hide unlimited files and folders.

To lock a folder in Windows 11 using Wise Folder Hider:

  1. Download and install Wise Folder Hider.
  2. Open the app. You’ll be prompted to create a password to log in to the app. Choose a strong password and ensure that it is one you can remember.
    wise folder hider password
  3. To lock a folder, drag and drop it from Windows Explorer in the Wise Folder Hider window.
    wise folder hider
  4. Your folder will no longer show in Windows Explorer, meaning that no one can open it.
  5. To open your folder again, launch the Wise Folder Hider app.
  6. Click on your folder and click the down arrow next to Open and select Unhide.
    wise folder hider unhide
  7. Your folder will now reappear in Windows Explorer. You will be able to open it as usual.

Protect Your Windows 11 Files

If you’re a new PC user, learning how to lock a folder on Windows 11 can help to keep your files protected should anyone gain access to your computer. There are other ways to tweak settings in Windows 11 to make it more secure.

You can enable Tamper Protection in Windows 11 to stop any unnecessary changes being made. To increase your protection against phishing, you can also enable enhanced phishing protection.

You can also disable telemetry on Windows 11 if you’re concerned about privacy.

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