Security is one of the most important factors that one has to consider whenever surfing the net or even just plainly using office, school or home laptop and PC. Aside from that, it is also important to ensure that your kids will not be able to see nor access things that they should not be able to see or access. In other words, it is very important for you to be able to keep your sensitive data safe and away from prying eyes. One way to do this is by encrypting the folders in your computer. This could be done in different ways and they are through the use of the following:
- 3rd Party Software – For those who are using Microsoft OS – Windows 7 Home, Windows 8 Home and Windows 10 Home, this method is your only option.
- BitLocker – a built-in encryption tool. It has Microsoft Windows 7 and it uses AES encryption feature. This method is highly recommended and is the most preferred built-in method.
- Encrypting File System (EFS) – this is an alternative method or another option you could use. Take note, however, this method is not recommended for information that is highly sensitive.
Things to Know Before Encrypting Folders
- Organize which files you would like to encrypt. This will certainly help you determine which method you could use.
- Ensure that you make unencrypted backups. This way, you will not have to worry of losing your passwords.
- Encryption is not a 100 percent guarantee that your files will be secured as encryption could still be accessed and bypassed by hackers. Aside from that, they could also put keyloggers on your computer through a malware. If you have very sensitive files, we highly recommend that you hire or get an expert service.
- If you have decided to use EFS method, take note that your file could lose encryption whenever you transmit the file through email or a network.
How to Encrypt Files Using BitLocker
Bitlocker works through a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip. Hence, before using this method, ensure that your computer has one. This way, anyone who would try to access your hard drive will have to input or encode a password. If you do not have a TPM chip, you will need to do extra steps for Bitlocker to work.
How to check if your device has a TPM chip?
- Press the Windows key and X. This will select Device Manager.
- Expand Security Devices header
- To know if you have the TPM chip, your computer will say Trusted Platform Module and its version number.
- If you have the TPM chip and you would want to encrypt your files, all you have to do is to go to Control Panel.
- Go to System and Security
- Then go to BitLocker Driver Encryption
- Turn on BitLocker
- Enter your password
- Click Next
- Choose encrypt the entire drive or the portion of the drive you would wish to encrypt.
- Select New Encryption Mode for fixed drives or Compatible Mode for removable drives.
- Click Next
- Run BitLocker system check
- Click Continue
- Go to My PC
- Check for the Lock icon which could be found next to the drive that you have encrypted.
How to Encrypt Files Using EFS?
- Right click on the file you would like to encrypt
- Click on Properties
- Click on Advanced
- Then Advance Attributes
- Then click Compress or encrypt attributes
- Go to encrypt contents to secure data
- Click ok
- Click Apply
- Select back up your file encryption key
- Ensure that your USB drive is connected to your computer
- Click Back up now (recommended)
- Click Next
- Click next again. This will create your certificate
- Accept default file format.
- Click next
- Check your password box
- Ensure that the password is the same
- Navigate your USB drive, name the file you would wish to export.
- Click next
- Click finish
- Click OK
Take note that if you are using home edition windows, the EFS option will be grayed out. This means that you will need to use a 3rd party encryption tool for you to be able to encrypt your computer or files. Though there are quite a number of free software which could provide you the mentioned service, we do not recommend them if you have highly sensitive files.