Protecting your files is crucial, as you can never be too safe when safeguarding valuable data from unwanted intruders. Your password is the last line of defense between your data and those from whom you want to keep it private.
In one of our earlier pages, we discussed how to password-protect a file or folder. That page offered extensive information and even precise step-by-step guides on how to encrypt a password file for maximum security.
This page aims to expand what we set out to do with the first one and deliver even more in-depth and targeted information on how to protect files with a password. This time, we’ll focus on how to protect different types of files, as well as share with you useful additional tips. Read on to learn how to password-protect files on your computer.
How to Protect Excel Files With a Password
Even though protecting files in Excel is very simple, most Excel users, unfortunately, don’t set up any password protection. If you want to secure your work and information in Excel, we’ve drafted a simple step-by-step guide. Here’s how to protect files with a password:
- Select the “File” option and then “Info”.
- Pick “Protect Workbook”.
- Choose the “Encrypt with Password” option.
- Input the password you picked and click on “OK”.
- Check the password and confirm it in the “Re-enter password” box.
- Select “OK” to finish the process.
Even though these steps are very simple to follow, there are a few more important things to remember before you set up a password for your Excel file. The most vital one is that Microsoft doesn’t provide any tools for retrieving forgotten passwords.
Additionally, these steps cover file-level protection only. They don’t offer workbook or worksheet protection. When it comes to the latter, in particular, worksheet protection isn’t intended as a security feature.
How to Protect Zip Files With a Password
When it comes to protecting your Zip files with a password, there are several ways of going about it. You can do so by using popular apps like WinRAR and 7-Zip or using the Windows 10 Encrypting File System. If you’re not sure which one you want to pick, we’ve prepared password setup guides for each of the three.
How to Set a Password in WinRAR
WinRAR has been around since the mid-1990s and is easily the most popular app that enables you to make and control .zip files. Best of all, it’s entirely free. Here’s how to lock files with a password in WinRAR:
- Open the .zip file that you want to protect.
- Select the “Tools” option in the header menu.
- In the drop-down menu that opens, pick the “Convert Archives” option.
- When the pop-up window opens, click on “Compression”.
- Select “Set password”.
- When prompted enter the password and then re-enter it for verification.
- Click “OK” and then “Yes” when asked to confirm.
- Wait for WinRAR to apply the password and click on “Close” to finish the password setup.
How to Set a Password in 7-Zip
7-Zip is a versatile and customizable open-source file archiver. Its edge over WinRar is that it’s available for Windows, Linux, and macOS, while WinRar products on the latter two platforms are only available in Command Line. If you want to set up a password using 7-Zip, here’s how to do it:
- Right-click on the file you want to password-protect.
- In the expanded menu, select “7-Zip” and then “Add to Archive”.
- When the new tab opens, navigate to the “Encryption” section.
- Enter and re-enter your password.
- Click “OK” to create a password-protected .zip archive of the file.
Setting a Password in Windows 10 EFS
Lastly, if you have a Windows 10 Pro version or better, you can use the Encrypting Files System to encrypt your .zip file and generate a decryption key. Here’s how to do it:
- Right-click on the .zip file you want to password-protect.
- Select “Properties”.
- In the pop-up window, click on the “Advanced” button.
- Check the box next to the “Encrypt contents to secure data” and click “OK” to confirm.
- You’ll be prompted with either “Encrypt the file and its parent folder (recommended)” or “Encrypt the file only”. Pick the one you prefer.
- Click on “OK” to finish the process.
If you decide to go with this option, it’s best to set up a backup for your decryption key. If you lose the decryption key, the recovery process is very complex and challenging.
How to Protect PDF Files with a Password
On the subject of protecting PDF files with a password, it’s important to make a distinction between two actions—password-protecting a digitally signed PDF document and password-protecting scanned PDF documents. As with the previous form of password protection, we’ll go over both options.
How to Password Protect Digitally Signed PDF Documents
Although password-protecting a digitally signed PDF document might sound like a daunting task, the process is fairly straightforward. All you need to do is follow these steps:
- Open the PDF file you want to password-protect.
- Select “File” then “Print” then “Adobe PDF” and finally “Print” again.
- Type in the name of the file when prompted and click on the “Save” button.
- The “Adobe PDF - Security” tab will open up.
- Check the box next to “Require a password to open the document”.
- Type in your password and then retype it when prompted.
- Click “OK” to complete the setup.
How to Password Protect Scanned PDF Documents
If you want to password-protect a scanned PDF document, the process will share some similar steps, but also have some distinct actions you should follow. Here’s how to password-protect a scanned PDF document:
- Open the PDF you want to protect and go to “Tools”.
- Select “Protection” then “Encrypt” and choose “Encrypt with Password”.
- Check the box next to “Require a password to open the document”.
- Type in the password you want to use.
- In the “Compatibility” drop-down menu, select the Acrobat version.
- Below the drop-down menu, pick one of the encryption options.
- Click “OK” and retype your password when prompted.
- Finally, click “OK” again to save your newly-secured document.
How to Password Protect Files on Google Drive
Before we go deeper into this part of the guide, we should stress that there isn’t really a way that you can password protect your files on Google Drive. This is because your Google Drive files are already protected by a password, one that you use to log into your Google account and access all of Google’s services.
From a security perspective, this is a double-edged sword. On one side, you can safely and conveniently share the files you want to share and keep other files private. On the other side, if anyone hacks your Google account, they instantly get access to all Google Drive services.
So, while Google Drive can keep you pretty safe, setting up protection for it doesn’t follow a pattern similar to the ones above. In this case, you have to take a very proactive approach to protect your Google account.
What are the tangible steps you can take to protect your files on Google Drive?
The most important thing you can do to protect your Google Drive files is to understand how Google’s permissions work and set your preferences accordingly. That way, you can protect your files by limiting the number of people that have access to them.
For example, you can tailor precise permissions on both a team and individual level, so that various access and editing options are granted based on your level of trust. In this regard, there are three main options:
- Viewer - The user with this permission level can only view the shared file.
- Commenter - Users marked with this level can view and comment on the file, but can’t make any changes nor share the file with others.
- Editor - The highest access level, allows users to change and edit the file, accept or reject edit suggestions and share the file with other users.
Although you don’t have the option to implement more passwords, Google’s permissions system still grants great control. It’s very simple and customizable, even providing you with the option to revoke access when you don’t want to share the file anymore.
Implementing a Password Manager − The Ultimate Step for Password-Protecting Files
Protecting your files with a password is a great way to ensure better security. But, there’s one even better way to lock up your data while simplifying your password management practices, all in one swing. This is to use an advanced password manager.
A password manager like the Hideez Key 4 can ensure top-notch password protection of all local files, including local folders, PDFs, Excel files, Notepad files and other documents. Moreover, it can secure your accounts on any websites and online services.
This small but capable security key automatically fills your logins and passwords at a push of a button. It can generate strong new passwords and even serve as a primary 2FA method. Additionally, it includes a convenient RFID tag for opening RFID door locks.
On top of all of these features, the affordable price of $49 makes this all-around security tool the best solution for comprehensive protection. Buy the Hideez Key 4 today and take full control over your data privacy and security.