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How to Password Protect a Folder in Windows

Want to secure the data in a folder? You can use BitLocker to password protect a folder in Windows. Here is how to do it in simple steps.

Windows has several ways to password protect folders. Some methods use built-in tools and features, while others require third-party applications like VeraCrypt.

For example, if you don’t have to use a third-party application, you can use the built-in NTFS file system feature to lock a folder with your user account password. That way, the folder is unlocked automatically as soon as you sign into your user account.

Alternatively, you can use BitLocker to password protect a folder in Windows. If you have used BitLocker, you might know that you can only encrypt and password-protect drives/partitions. However, with a simple trick, you can password-protect a folder with BitLocker. If you are wondering, all we have to do is create a virtual hard drive and turn on BitLocker. It doesn’t sound straightforward, but it is simple to do.

Without further ado, let me show you how to password-protect a folder in Windows using BitLocker.

Password-protect folder in Windows

As said earlier, we first create a virtual hard drive and then use BitLocker to encrypt it. Since it is a simple file, you can also think of it as a folder and store any file. Even better, a VHD allows for portability while providing necessary protection with strong encryption and password protection.

  1. Create a virtual hard drive/disk.
  2. Mount the virtual disk (double-click on the VHD file).
  3. Open the Settings app with “Start + I.”
  4. Click on “System” on the sidebar.
  5. Choose the “Storage” option.
  6. Expand “Advanced storage settings.”
  7. Click on “Disks and volumes.”
  8. Find the virtual disk and click on it.
  9. Click on the “Properties” button.
  10. Scroll down and click the “Turn on BitLocker” link.
  11. Click on the “Turn on BitLocker” link in the Control Panel.
  12. Type a password twice and click “Next.”
  13. Save the recovery key to your Microsoft account, save to file, or print it.
  14. Choose the “Encrypt used disk space only” option.
  15. Click the “Next” button.
  16. Choose “New encryption mode” and click “Next.”
  17. Press the “Start encrypting” button.
  18. The folder/VHD is encrypted immediately.
  19. That is it. With that, the folder is password protect.
  20. After using the VHD, eject it from File Explorer.
  21. When you want to use it, double-click the “VHD” file to open it.
  22. Type the BitLocker password when prompted.

Steps with more details:

The first thing to do is, create a virtual hard drive. I’ve already written a detailed guide on how to do it. Follow that guide and proceed with the steps below.

After creating the virtual hard drive, mount it. As soon as you do that, you should see it as a new drive/partition in File Explorer.

Now, open the Settings app and go to the “System > Storage” page. Once you are here, expand the “Advanced storage settings” section and click the “Disks and volumes” option.

click disks and volumes

Find and expand the virtual hard drive option. Then, click the “Properties” button.

click properties

Scroll down and click the “Turn on BitLocker” link.

turn on BitLocker

The above action will open the BitLocker settings page in the Control Panel. Expand the virtual hard drive and click the “Turn on BitLocker” link.

click turn on BitLocker

The BitLocker wizard will open as soon as you do that. Type the password twice and press the “Next” button.

set BitLocker password

You are prompted to save the recovery key. I recommend you save it to your Microsoft account. Alternatively, you can also save it to a file or print it.

backup BitLocker recovery key

Once you save the recovery key to your Microsoft account, you should see the “Your recovery key has been saved” message. Click the “Next” button to continue.

BitLocker key backed up

Choose the “Encrypt used disk space only” option and click the “Next” button.

choose encrypt used space only option

Choose the “New encryption mode” option and press “Next.”

choose new encryption mode option

Press the “Start encrypting” button.

click start encrypting button

Once the encryption is done, you should see the “Encryption of drive is complete” message.

BitLocker encrypted folder

Now, you can start storing the files on the virtual hard drive. After using it, press the “Eject” option on the top.

password protect folder with BitLocker

Double-click on the “VHD” file to mount when you want to use it again.

locked BitLocker folder

After mounting, double-click on the VHD drive in the File Explorer. BitLocker prompts for the password. Type the password to get access to the folder.

locked BitLocker folder
unlocke password protected folder

That is all. It is that simple to password-protect a folder in Windows.

I hope this simple Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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