How to Protect a Folder with Password for Free

Tired of your nosy friends who, as soon as they come to your house, enjoy browsing all the files you have saved on your PC, you were willing to create password-protected folders but unfortunately you do not know how to do it. Or rather, you have found several programs suitable for the purpose, but they are all paid, and you are not going to spend money. No problem, now I will tell you how to fix the situation!

Too good to be true and to be free? You are wrong. Take five minutes of free time, read the instructions on how to protect a folder with free passwords that  I am about to give you and put them into practice: I assure you that you will be able to protect your data in a way that could not be safer without spending even a penny. Happy reading and have fun!

Protect a folder with password for free on Windows.

If you need to protect important documents, encrypting them and making them accessible only to those who have the correct password, you can use the free program VeraCrypt.

VeraCrypt creates an encrypted volume, then a sort of virtual hard disk, accessible from File Explorer, in which to store your documents and protect them with a password. The program is very easy to use, it is also open source and multi-platform: this means that it is also compatible with other operating systems, more precisely Windows and macOS, and allows access to encrypted volumes even on the latter (provided you create volumes based on file systems compatible with the systems in question).

To download VeraCrypt, connect to this web page and click on VeraCrypt Setup xx.exe. After downloading it, double-click the VeraCrypt Setup xx.exe installation file. In the window that opens, click on the Yes button, put the check mark next to the item I accept the license terms and press   Next, Next, Install, OK, Finish and No to install VeraCrypt.

Now, to start protecting your data, launch VeraCrypt and, in the main window of the program, click first on the Create a volume button and then on the Next button.

In the window that opens, you must indicate the path where you want to save the file that will contain your encrypted documents. If you delete this file, you will obviously lose all your encrypted documents, so make sure you choose a safe path. Then put the check mark next to the item Standard VeraCrypt Volume, go ahead, click on the Select File button, name the file that will contain your encrypted documents and click the Open button.

Note: VeraCrypt also offers the ability to create hidden volumes. The difference, compared to standard VeraCrypt volumes, lies in the fact that these volumes allow you to use two passwords: a password allows you to access a “public” volume in which to insert “fictitious” files. The second password, on the other hand, allows access to a secondary volume, hidden, inside which the real files to be protected are kept.

At this point, click the Next button twice in a row (leave AES and SHA-512 as the encoding algorithm and confusion algorithm to use for the encryption of the volume to be created). In the window that opens, set the maximum number of KB, MB,GB, or TBthat can be stored in your encrypted space. By clicking on the Next button, you will then have to specify in Password and Confirm the password necessary to access your encrypted data.

The creators of VeraCrypt recommend using a password of at least 20 characters: the more complex and long the password, the lower the chances of discovering it. VeraCrypt allows you to use a file that replaces the password. In this case, to access the encrypted space, you will have to select the file used as the password.

To do this, you need to put the check mark under Use key file and select the file. If you lose your password or the file that acts as your password, you will not be able to access your data, so make sure you keep it properly!

In the next window, choose the file system to use to format the volume: you can choose between FAT, exFAT and NTFS. I personally recommend exFAT which, unlike FAT, allows you to store even single files larger than 4GB in the encrypted volume and, unlike NTFS, is fully compatible with macOS and Linux. Then the choice is yours.

Next, move the mouse cursor until the bottom bar turns green and last the creation of your encrypted volume by clicking first on the Format button and then on OK and Exit.

Now, to access your encrypted space, start VeraCrypt, click on the Select File button… and select the file that contains your encrypted data. At this point, select a letter of your choice in the upper pane (the letter of the virtual drive in which to “mount” the encrypted volume) and click on the Mount button.

In the window that opens, type the password to access your encrypted space or select the file used as the password (Use file key) and click the OK button. If the password is correct, you will see in Computer/This PC a new hard disk, marked with the letter you chose earlier in which you can store all your documents to be protected.

Documents moved within this “hard disk” are encrypted instantly. Similarly, you can access encrypted documents by simply double-clicking on their icon.

When you no longer need the encrypted data volume, in the VeraCrypt main window, select the drive letter you associated it with and click the Unmount button. If you do not click the “Unmount” button, anyone can see the volume via Windows File Explorer and access your data!

Note: If you want, instead of clicking on the “Mount” button, you can click on the VeraCrypt Auto Mount button and have your encrypted volume automatically mounted in File Explorer.

Protect a folder with password for free on macOS.

Do you have Mac and would like to know how to password protect a folder on the latter? Nothing could be easier: as I explained to you before, VeraCrypt is available for Windows, macOS and Linux, so you can also install it on your Mac and use it just as seen in the previous chapter. The only differences lie in the installation process of the program – on macOS it is required to install a support software to be downloaded before VeraCrypt – and in the language of the program, which now on the systems of the “apple” is only available in English.

The support software necessary for the operation of VeraCrypt on macOS is called FUSE for macOS and is completely free. To download it, connect to its official website and click on the FUSE for macOS x.x.x item  in the right sidebar. Then start the pkg file you got and, in the window that opens, click first on Continue for three consecutive times and then on Accept, Continue, and Install.

Then type the password of your user account on macOS (the one you use to access the system) and presses Install software, OK and Open Security & Privacy System Preferences. At this point, click on the Allow button located at the bottom of the System Preferences window that has opened and completes the setup of FUSE for macOS by pressing Close first and then Move.

Now you can move on to downloading and installing VeraCrypt. Then connect to  the official website of the program  and click on the VeraCrypt_xx.dmg link (xx MB) located in the center of the page.

When the download is complete, open the dmg package that contains the program and launch the executable VeraCrypt_lnstaller.pkg contained within it. In the window that opens, click on the Continue button for two consecutive times, then on Accept and Install and then type the password of your user account on macOS (the one you use to access the system). Finally, press the Install Software, Close and Move buttons and the VeraCrypt installation process will end.

Mission accomplished! Now you just must start VeraCrypt through its icon appeared in the macOS Launchpad or by searching for it in Spotlight and proceed to create an encrypted volume by clicking on the Create volume button.

The rest of the procedure to follow, both to create and to use the encrypted volume, is identical to what was seen in the previous chapter of the tutorial dedicated to Windows systems.

Protect a folder with password for free on Android.

Would you like to create password-protected folders on your smartphone or tablet? Well, if you use an Android device you should not encounter any problems in doing so. There are, in fact, numerous file managers that also include the function to protect folders with passwords. Among these I point out Solid Explorer.

Solid Explorer is one of the best file managers available on Android: you can download and use it for free, but only for 14 days. Once the trial has expired, to continue using all the functions of the app, you must make an in-app purchase of 1.99 euros. Having made this necessary premise, let us move on to action.

To use Solid Explorer, download the application from the Play Store, launch it and grant it the permissions it requires. Then locate the folder you want to protect with password, make a long tap on it (to select it), presses the? located at the top right and select the Crypt item from the menu that appears.

Then type the password you want to use to protect the folder in the two fields that appear on the screen and presses the Encrypt button to save the settings.

From this moment on, you will need to enter your password to access the encrypted folder. If you try to access the folder using another file manager, the files will be inaccessible because they are encrypted.

If Solid Explorer does not satisfy you, you can turn  to ES File Manager, which is available in a completely free version but sends many notifications and has banner ads inside: personally I recommend it only if you are not willing to spend 1.99 euros for Solid Explorer.

Alternatively, you can turn to applications like Folder Lock, thanks to which you can create a sort of digital safe in which to keep photos, videos, notes, audio files, contacts and documents protecting them  with a password, or like Norton App Lock, which instead allows you to block access to applications with a password.

Protect a folder with password for free on iPhone and iPad.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, unfortunately you cannot directly protect the folders on the memory of your device: this is because, despite the introduction of the File Manager,  the Apple operating system is still very restrictive when it comes to managing the files on the memory of your smartphone or tablet.

The only solutions available to you are installing apps like Private Photo Vault di Legendary Software Labs, which allows you to create a “safe” in which to insert photos and videos protecting them with a password (separately from the Photos app, from which the contents to be protected must be deleted), or, if you want to block access to certain apps by hiding them from the iOS home screen, you must set Restrictions in the system settings. If you want to block access to applications with a password like on Android, you have to do the Jailbreak.

Additionally, I have to guides about how to set up the login password on MAC, and how to delete it.