Encryption is the process using which you can secure your files or folders without using any third-party software application or hiding the folder or file using Windows integrated features. To enable encryption on Windows 7 computer you can follow the instructions given below:
- Right-click on the drive, folder or file that you want to encrypt and from the context menu select “Properties”.
- In the “Properties” box ensure that you are on “General” tab.
- Click on “Advanced” button.
- On the “Advanced Attributes” box check on “Encrypt contents to secure data” check box and click on “Ok” button to accept and confirm your selection.
- On the “Properties” box click on “Apply” button.
- On the “Confirm Attribute Changes” box select desired option and click on “Ok” button to confirm.
- When you see the text color of file or folder is changed to green, this means that the encryption has been enabled and now your data is secured. You can test this by logging on to the computer using different user account and trying to access the encrypted file or folder. You will be see the message telling you that your access to the encrypted file or folder is denied.
Encryption uses algorithm to generate an encryption key which is used to encrypt your data. As soon as you will encrypt your file or folder you will be notified by Windows 7 that you should back up your encryption key. This is because if because of any reason you loose your password and if the administrator of the computer resets it, the encryption key would be modified, hence making your data unreadable for you. Whereas if you backup your encryption key and if even you loose your password and the password is reset by the administrator you can restore your encryption key from the backup and can decrypt your encrypted data thus making it readable again as before.
Make sure the drive on which you want to enable encryption is formatted with NTFS file system. However, in almost all cases Windows 7 formats all its drives using NTFS file system only.