Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Encrypt Folders on my Windows PC
Old 04-09-2009, 10:10 AM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,197
Encrypt Folders on my Windows PC

Let's say I'm using my computer at a coffee shop, I turn around and someone steals it. I would like to have the sensitive folders (e.g. my tax files) encrypted. I want the folders to appear (that is, not be hidden or renamed) because I don't want to have trouble remembering where they are next year.

I don't want to go through extra steps to access them. That is, I just want to open the folder and be prompted for a password before I can proceed.

I haven't found a good way to do this. This page has options, but none of them meet the above criteria. For example, I can encrypt the folder with XP, but if I am logged on when the computer is stolen, that encryption is useless.

Suggestions?
__________________

__________________
Al
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-09-2009, 10:57 AM   #2
Full time employment: Posting here.
Frugality_of_Apathy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 622
Well if you're using Microsoft office all of the programs have an easy way to do this.

Click in the top menu bar click Tools then Options. In the top of the window that shows up click security and you'll see the window say "PAssword to open:" with a box for you to type in the password. type in your pasword, hit enter, type your password again hit enter then click ok.

Now to open the file you need to now the password no matter who's logged in.
__________________

__________________
Frugality_of_Apathy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2009, 01:26 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Coach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 1,127
Al, it might not be exactly what you're looking for, but I've been happy using TrueCrypt.

Coach
__________________
Coach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2009, 04:33 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Houston
Posts: 1,435
You can store multiple files and sub-directories in a zip archive. WinZip has an encryption option - just don't use the default "compatible" setting as it's outdated and can easily be brute-forced by today's computing power. Stick with the 256-bit AES encryption option (Winzip gives you the choice when you add files to the archive).

I wouldn't trust Office's built-in password protection, maybe they've improved it but my impression is that it's only meant to deter casual snoops.
__________________
soupcxan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2009, 05:27 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
target2019's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,705
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach View Post
Al, it might not be exactly what you're looking for, but I've been happy using TrueCrypt.

Coach
Same here. There's an automount option. When you boot the computer, will be prompted for a password for that folder.
__________________
target2019 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2009, 08:59 AM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RonBoyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 5,280
Computer Security.JPG
__________________
"It's tough to make predictions, especially when it involves the future." ~Attributed to many
"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is." ~(perhaps by) Yogi Berra
"Those who have knowledge, don't predict. Those who predict, don't have knowledge."~ Lau tzu
RonBoyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2009, 10:05 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,278
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Let's say I'm using my computer at a coffee shop, I turn around and someone steals it.

...

Suggestions?
I don't understand your criteria. Seems to be some mutual exclusives:

A) I don't want to go through extra steps to access them. That is, I just want to open the folder and be prompted for a password before I can proceed.

B) I can encrypt the folder with XP, but if I am logged on when the computer is stolen, that encryption is useless.

So if you just enter a PW to access it, with no further interaction, then a thief who steals your laptop while logged in would have access too. How can you have both easy access for you, and difficult access to the thief?

Face recognition in the built in webcam? No T-Al there, no access? Is that feasible? Seems like there would have to be something popping up to ask you to confirm you are who you are for "B" to hold, but that negates "A".

Suggestion: Get physical. Put your sensitive data on a thumb drive with a cord clipped to your belt loop. Encrypt that data. If the thief grabs the laptop from you, the thumb drive pops out, and even if the thief grabs your thumb drive, it has been unmounted and the PW is required.

I'm also picturing "this thumb drive will self-destruct in 10 seconds... (5/4 time) dum dum dee dum, dum dum DEE dum - da dah!!!!"

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2009, 05:03 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,197
Not sure I understand the question.

I have a folder with my taxes in them. I will not be accessing that folder when at a coffee shop, but I want to have it on my computer for when I am home.

Ideally, I'm home, and I open the Taxes folder. I get a message saying "enter password" and I do and then I can view the folder. If a thief tries that it will not work.

With XP, I can encrypt the folder, but if I've logged on to my computer for any purpose (e.g. posting here), then no password will be necessary to access the taxes folder. Thus the encryption is useless.

--------------------

I relaxed my criteria and used Soup's suggestion of Winzip with the strongest encryption. If I want to do taxes stuff, I'll need to go through the extra step of unzipping.

Thanks for the help.
__________________
Al
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2009, 05:24 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,278
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Not sure I understand the question.

...

With XP, I can encrypt the folder, but if I've logged on to my computer for any purpose (e.g. posting here), then no password will be necessary to access the taxes folder. Thus the encryption is useless.
OK, I didn't realize that Win XP worked that way - I thought it was an extra step to enter the PW for the protected folders, not that that simply logging on made them accessible. Gotcha.

So then zipping them is one way, though not super convenient.

Here's a little tip I found - keeps the thief from seeing that the folder is labeled "All my important passwords to my multi-million dollar accounts are stored here":

Windows Tips: Password-Protect Your Sensitive Files and Folders - PC World
Quote:
Keep folder contents a secret: A password-protected folder's file names are visible even though the files themselves are inaccessible without the password. To hide them, compress a folder inside another compressed folder and password-protect the topmost folder (see FIGURE 3). Other users can open the top compressed folder, but not the subfolder holding the files.
I'd label the top folder "READ ME", or "DELL xxxx User Manual" - nobody ever pays attention to those things

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2009, 05:40 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,322
What doesn't work: Folder Bolt. I used that to hide my financial files on a USB drive from a Windows computer only to find that they are visible from an Apple.
What seems to work: SafeHouse, at least so far.
__________________
FinallyRetired is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2009, 06:38 AM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
saluki9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,032
Sounds like Trucrypt is the best option. I use it for the exact same purpose.
__________________
saluki9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2009, 09:24 AM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
bltkmt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Fairfield County, CT
Posts: 208
Another option is a program called Folder Lock (Folder Lock - File Lock and File Encryption Software Free Download). I tried TrueCrypt and found it to be confusing for me. Folder lock is pretty simple, but not free.
__________________
bltkmt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2009, 10:35 AM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 892
If you're running Vista, then you can choose to encrypt files/folders and store the key on a flash drive (password protected). In addition, you'll want to make sure that you have a username/password when logging into the system.

I use this configuration on my laptop and it works well. When I'm logged in, the system automatically decrypts the files so it's available for all programs (Money, Excel, Word, etc). But if you login as someone else on the system, they can't read the files because they're encrypted.

You can even pass around the same encrypted file between different systems (home pc and laptop), as long as you install the key on both systems.

The only time you'd have to worry about someone accessing the data is if they stole the laptop while you are logged in and were wise enough to access your data immediately. But realistically, most people will shut the lid on the laptop so when they open it again, they'll be prompted for username/password.
__________________
tulak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2009, 11:28 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
target2019's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,705
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Not sure I understand the question.

I have a folder with my taxes in them. I will not be accessing that folder when at a coffee shop, but I want to have it on my computer for when I am home.

Ideally, I'm home, and I open the Taxes folder. I get a message saying "enter password" and I do and then I can view the folder. If a thief tries that it will not work.

With XP, I can encrypt the folder, but if I've logged on to my computer for any purpose (e.g. posting here), then no password will be necessary to access the taxes folder. Thus the encryption is useless.

--------------------

I relaxed my criteria and used Soup's suggestion of Winzip with the strongest encryption. If I want to do taxes stuff, I'll need to go through the extra step of unzipping.

Thanks for the help.
The other day I stumbled upon some discussions about encrypted zip files, and how they are easier to crack. Thought you should know that.

TrueCrypt or a similar program that creates an encrypted folder (file) can be used or not used. IOW, when you are at home, you can enter the password and the files are available. When you go to the coffee shop, you don't enter the password, and the data is safe. That mode of operation is simpler (to my simple mind at least).
__________________
target2019 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2009, 11:59 PM   #15
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Reseda, California
Posts: 31
Look at Cryptzone - Email encryption, Hard Disk encryption, File encryption, USB encryption
__________________
KennyM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 02:48 PM   #16
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 582
This thread is a few years old but I have the same question that T-Al did originally. I have tax files and such on my PC that I'd want to protect if the laptop were stolen. A wrinkle is that I'm using Google Drive as my backup system, if that makes a difference.

I'll check out Truecrypt and Cryptzone - anyone have other, updated suggestions?
__________________

WM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 08:37 PM   #17
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 942
A word of caution for Folder Lock. It is simple, but was a deserter for me. Before traveling I encrypted a data folder that housed all my important files including financials, tax returns, birth cirtificate etc. etc. When I arrived at my destination I went to Un-encrypt the files, and got an error message. Tech support was useless, so in the end I lost about 4 months of important files, never again to be retrieved. I searched on line for help only to find others who experienced the same problems.
__________________
modhatter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2012, 08:19 AM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
easysurfer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 7,885
Haven't used Folder Lock. But after reading post, did some poking around for folder security software. Like a program called My Lockbox.

My Lockbox — Files and Folders Password Protection — Hide Folder Lock Folder Password Protect Folder — FSPro Labs

It's a freebie for one folder only, or about $25 which supports unlimted folders. Seems simple to use.
__________________
Have you ever seen a headstone with these words
"If only I had spent more time at work" ... from "Busy Man" sung by Billy Ray Cyrus
easysurfer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2012, 01:15 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
target2019's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,705
I would only use a product which lists the encryption method to be used. Some of the products mentioned may not provide the right encryption for your purposes.

I've used Truecrypt for several years now, and still recommend it.
__________________
target2019 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2012, 04:24 PM   #20
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 309
Apple's new icloud software lets you find on a map the location of your
stolen mac if it ever is turned on and connected the internet. You can
also login remotely to the stolen mac and erase the hard drive if you
know the admin password.
__________________

__________________
homestead is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Windows XP SP3, anyone? Nords Other topics 29 09-07-2008 05:31 PM
Issue with extra folders for Message Files haha Forum Admin 3 07-18-2008 04:18 PM
Who is using Windows Vista, and what do you like about it? thefed Other topics 5 03-29-2007 05:50 AM
Windows XP Question/Problem.............. Cut-Throat Other topics 4 02-09-2007 08:48 PM
Windows Rant TromboneAl Other topics 4 11-07-2006 03:29 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:53 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.