Learn to Encrypt/Decrypt your XP Files & Folders!

Question

Can I encrypt my files on MS XP so that no one else can read them?

Answer

This question was answered on March 21, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

You can encrypt files and folders with XP Pro, however, are not able to do this in XP home unless you have a 3rd party encryption tool Then, even if someone gains access to the file they can't decrypt the file and see your information Each file has a unique file encryption key, which must be used to decrypt the file's data The key is also encrypted and available only to those who are authorized to see the data Once you choose to encrypt a file, the actual process of data encryption and decryption is completely transparent and requires nothing on your part.

When you encrypt a single file, you must decide whether to encrypt the folder that contains it If you choose to encrypt a folder, all files and subfolders that are added to the folder in the future will be encrypted at that time If you encrypt a folder, you must also choose whether to encrypt all files and subfolders already existing within it

Encrypting Folders

When you decrypt a folder, you decide whether to decrypt all files and subfolders within it If you choose to decrypt the folder only, the files and subfolders within it remain encrypted However, new files and subfolders will not be automatically encrypted.

To encrypt a file or folder

Open Windows Explorer (Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer.)

Right click the file or folder that you want to encrypt, and then click Properties

On the General tab, click Advanced

Select the Encrypt contents to secure data check box

Files or folders that are compressed cannot also be encrypted If you encrypt a compressed file or folder, that file or folder will be uncompressed

Files marked with the System attribute cannot be encrypted, nor can files in the systemroot directory structure

To decrypt a file or folder

Open Windows Explorer

Right click the encrypted file or folder, and then click Properties

On the General tab, click Advanced

Clear the Encrypt contents to secure data check box.

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Author

Posted by Michal of Data Doctors on March 21, 2003