Recently, I've shown a simple way to lock a folder with password in Windows 10. In the same manner, you can password protect zip files. Zip files are generally used when you want to compress the file size or share multiple files at once. The good thing is, you can password protect zip file with just a few clicks. Let me show you how.
To protect a zip file with password, we are going to use a free, lightweight and open-source program called 7-zip. 7-Zip is one of the most popular file compression programs. Though Windows lets you create and open zip files without any need for a third-party application, it cannot encrypt or protect them with a password. So, we have to use a third-party program like 7-Zip to password protect zip files.
Password Protect Zip Files
1. First, download 7-Zip from the official website.
2. After downloading, double-click on the exe file and install 7-Zip like any other Windows software.
3. Now, we can create a zip file with password protection. For that, place all the files you want to protect in a single folder. In my case, I'm placing all my documents in a super secret folder in my E drive.
4. Right-click on the folder and select "7-Zip -> Add to archive" option.
5. By default, 7-Zip tries to compress files in 7z format. Select "Zip" from the Archive format dropdown menu.
6. Next, let all the defaults be as is and enter your password twice under the "Encryption" section. If you want to, you can also change the encryption algorithm. In my case, I'm choosing the AES-256 algorithm.
7. Click on the "Ok" button to start the zipping and encryption process. Depending on the number of files and their size, it can take some to complete the zipping procedure.
8. Once the folder is zipped, you can see the zipped file in the same location as the original folder. If you want to, you can delete the original folder.
Open Password Protected Zip File
After creating a password protected zip file, you need the password you entered earlier to access files.
To access files from a password protected zip file, open the zip file with 7-Zip. You can see all the files and folders in the zip file.
When you try to open or extract files, 7-Zip will ask for the password.
Enter the password and the file or folder will be extracted.
If you enter a wrong password or forgot the password, 7-Zip will throw an error since it cannot decrypt the file without the said password.
Important: Always keep the password safe and secure.
What Happens If I Forgot or Lost the Zip File Password?
If you forgot or lost the password, you cannot recover the files inside the Zip file. Since all the files are encrypted, there is no way to decrypt them without the password key. In case you are wondering, NO, the 7-Zip program will not store or remember the password for you.
That is all. It is that simple to password protect zip file. If you are facing any problems or need any help, comment below and I will try to help you as best as possible.