How to password protect a folder for free

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Martí Micolau
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Password protect a folder for free on Windows

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

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



To download VeraCrypt, linked to this web page and click on the entry  VeraCrypt Setup xx.exe. After downloading it, double-click the installation file VeraCrypt Setup xx.exe. In the window that opens, click the button Yes, put the check mark next to the item I accept the license termsI awarded her Next, NextinstallOKFinish e No to install VeraCrypt.

At the end of the installation, VeraCrypt will start automatically. If the program interface appears to be in English instead of cittàn, translate it by going to the menu Settings> Language and selecting the voice cityno from the window that opens. Then click on the button OK and, after a restart, the program will appear to be in cittàn.

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


In the window that opens, you must indicate the path 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, or forwardclick on your button  Select file ..., name the file that will contain your encrypted documents and click the button apri.


Please note: VeraCrypt also offers the possibility to create gods 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 "dummy" files. The second password, on the other hand, allows access to a secondary, hidden volume, inside which the real files to be protected are stored. It is a very ingenious system to protect your data in case of forced extortion of the access data to the volume: I told you about it in more detail in my tutorial on how to hide folders on Windows.

At this point, click the button twice in a row NEXT (leaves BEA e SHA-512 like coding algorithm e confusion algorithm to use for encryption of the volume to be created). In the window that opens, set the maximum number of  KBMBGB o TB which can be stored in your encrypted space. By clicking the button NEXT, you will then have to specify in Password and Confirmation the password needed 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 less 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 need to select the file used as a password.

To do this, you need to check the item Use key file and select the file. If you lose your password or the file that acts as a password, you will no longer 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 ed NTFS. I personally recommend exFAT which, unlike FAT, allows you to archive single files larger than 4GB in the encrypted volume and, unlike NTFS, is fully compatible with macOS and Linux. Then the choice is up to you.

Next, move the mouse cursor until the bottom bar becomes green and lastly the creation of your encrypted volume by clicking on the button first Format and then OK ed Logout.

Now, to access your encrypted space, start VeraCrypt, click on the button Select File ... 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 button Monta.


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

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

When the volume with the encrypted data is no longer needed, in the VeraCrypt main window, select the drive letter to which you have associated it and click on the button Disassemble. If you don't click the “Unmount” button, anyone will be able to view the volume via the Windows File Explorer and access your data!


Please note: if you want, instead of clicking on the “Mount” button, you can click on the button Automatic assembly VeraCrypt and have your encrypted volume mounted automatically in File Explorer.

Password protect a folder for free on macOS

You have Mac and would you 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 are in the program installation process - on macOS the installation of support software is required to be downloaded before VeraCrypt - and in the program language, which at the moment on the "apple" systems is only available in English .

The support software necessary for VeraCrypt to work on macOS is called FUSE for macOS and it's completely free. To download it, connect to its official website and click on the item FUSE for macOS xxx present in the right sidebar. Then start the pkg file you have obtained and, in the window that opens, click first on Continue three consecutive times and then on AcceptContinue e Install

Then type the password of your user account on macOS (the one you use to access the system) and presses on Install software,  OK  e Open Security & Privacy System Preferences. At this point, click on the button Allow which is at the bottom of the window System preference which has opened and completes the FUSE for macOS setup by pressing first on Close 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 link VeraCrypt_xx.dmg (xx MB) located in the center of the page.

A download complete, apri il dmg package which contains the program and launches the executable VeraCrypt_lnstaller.pkg contained within it. In the window that opens, click on the button  Continue twice in a row, then on Accept Install and then type the password of your user account on macOS (the one you use to access the system). Finally, press the buttons Install software,  Close e Move and the VeraCrypt installation process will finish.

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

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.

Password protect a folder for free on Android

Would you like to create password-protected folders on your smartphone or tablet as well? Well, if you use a device Android you shouldn't have any particular problems doing it. There are, in fact, numerous File Manager which also include the function to protect folders with a password. 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 need to make an in-app purchase of € 1,99. Having made this necessary premise, let's take 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 password protect, make a long tap on it (in order to select it), press the button? located at the top right and select the item Crypt give the menu to compare.

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

From now on, entering the password will be required to access the encrypted folder. Trying to access the folder using another file manager, the files will be inaccessible as they are encrypted.

If Solid Explorer does not satisfy you, you can contact ES File Manager, which is available in a completely free version but sends many notifications and has advertising banners inside it: personally I recommend it only if you are not willing to spend € 1,99 for Solid Explorer.

Alternatively, you can turn to applications such as Folder Lock, thanks to which you can create a sort of digital safe in which to store photos, videos, notes, audio files, contacts and documents by protecting them with a password, or as Norton App Lock, which instead allows to block access to applications with a password: I told you about both solutions in my tutorial on how to protect a folder on Android.

Password protect a folder on iPhone and iPad for free

If you have one 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 your tablet.

The only solutions available to you are the installation of apps such as Private Photo Vault by 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 restrizioni in the system settings. If you want to block access to applications with a password like on Android, you must necessarily jailbreak.

To learn more about both topics, read my tutorials on how to hide iPhone photos, in which I explained how to use Private Photo Vault and other similar apps, and on how to hide iPhone apps, in which I explained how to hide and protect apps. on iOS from unauthorized access.

How to password protect a folder for free

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