Windows native encryption

IMPORTANT NOTE

Encryption is something that is best left for an IT Professional to implement. If your department does not have an IT Professional, contact the IT Support Center.

TrueCrypt
is recommended as an alternative.

Microsoft has built-in encryption capabilities in its Windows platforms, but it is not recommended for the casual user. One reason is that if you copy the files to another device (perhaps to share with someone), the encryption is lost. Another reason is that the ability to decrypt the file is tied to a user's login, and you must back up a special key and an extra certificate to guard against losing all your encrypted files in the case of hard drive problems or if you end up having to reinstall Windows.

Windows Vista or later

  1. From the Start menu, select All Programs, then select Accessories, and click Windows Explorer.
  2. Locate and right-click the file you want to encrypt, and click Properties from the drop-down menu.
  3. From the General tab, click Advanced.
    wincrypt1
  4. Select the Encrypt contents to secure data check box, and click OK.
    wincrypt2
  5. In the General dialogue box, click OK.
  6. If you see the Encryption Warning dialog box, select one of the following options:
    • If you want to encrypt only the file, click Encrypt the file only and click OK.
      wincryptfile
    • If you want to encrypt the folder that contains the file as well, click Encrypt the file and the parent folder and click OK.
      wincryptfolder