How to Set a Password to a Folder

By Tammy Clevenger

Computers users often seek out ways to protect their privacy and secure their personal data, such as password-protecting certain folders on the hard drive. The Microsoft Windows XP and ME operating systems ship with a "Compressed Folder" feature, one of the Windows components that is optionally installed. This feature will allow the user to create a folder and then set a password on the folder to restrict viewing and editing of the files inside.

Install the Compressed Folder Feature

Step 1

Click the Windows "Start" button and then click "Settings."

Step 2

Click the "Control Panel" option in the Settings interface.

Step 3

Click the "Add/Remove Programs" icon.

Step 4

Click the "Windows Setup" tab. The Windows components will display in a list with check boxes. The selected check boxes indicate that the Windows feature is installed.

Step 5

Check the box next to the "Compressed Folders" option and click "OK." The Compressed Folders component will be installed.

Create Password-Protected Compressed Folder

Step 1

Right-click on the desktop and select "New" from the context menu.

Step 2

Click on the "Compressed Folder" option. A new, empty compressed folder will be created on the desktop.

Step 3

Highlight the files to be placed in the password-protected folder. Right-click the files and select "Cut" from the context menu. Select multiple files at once by holding the "Ctrl" key and clicking the file names with the mouse.

Step 4

Right-click on the compressed folder and select "Paste" from the context menu. The files will be moved to the compressed folder, and the Compressed Folder dialog box will launch.

Step 5

Click the "File" option and select "Add a Password" in Windows XP, or "Encrypt" in Windows ME. A password dialog box will appear.

Step 6

Type the new password twice to confirm and click "OK."

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to add files to the compressed folder before assigning the password.
  • Keep your compressed folder password in a secure location.