How To Password Protect A Zip File On Windows 10 & 11

Protecting files with a password is a sure way to limit access to specific users. Here's how to password protect a zip file on Windows 10 & 11.

In our modern digital era, many users are eager to learn more about enhancing their cyber security and privacy, all for a good reason.

File sharing is amongst the most common computer activities, and with security breaches being so common, encrypting and securing the files you share is a must.

Can you password protect a zip file on Windows? Even better, can you do it using free, secure, and open-source tools popular amongst millions of users?

Yes, and you can learn all about it in the guide below. Let’s get into it.

Table of ContentsShow

What Are Zip Files? – Windows Zip Files Explained

Zip File

We organize files on our PCs all the time by creating folders.

However, when it comes to storing those files for a longer time, transferring them to other storage drives, or uploading/sharing them with other people, using regular folders is not the most convenient way to do it.          

That’s because of the following reasons:

  • You cannot send a folder or multiple folders via an e-mail without zipping or archiving first, and sending the files one by one is impractical and often impossible as most services have a max files cap/limit
  • Files within regular folders are not compressed, therefore take much longer to share
  • Regular folders are not secured and can be accessed by anyone

However, all of these issues are solved by the Zip file format, which is easy and convenient to use once you know how it’s done.

Zipped files take up a lot less space, and you can attach them in e-mails, making this method the most optimal for both sharing and storage purposes. They have the “.zip” file extension and allow you to pack hundreds or thousands of files into one file that can be shared in one go.

Pretty useful and amazing!

Not sure how this all works? Take a look at the explanation below.

When you zip one or multiple files, they become what’s called “compressed files” and “weigh” less in terms of storage size. This is why when you sometimes download game installation files, they can be fifty gigabytes, for example, but once your computer starts unpacking and installing them, the total size of the game on your disk can be over a hundred gigabytes.

It’s much easier and more convenient to download fifty gigabytes compared to twice that much or more, so everyone just uses this method as opposed to sharing “raw” folders and files.

This all happens thanks to a few different compression algorithms, one of which is called DEFLATE and is the most commonly used.

The ZIP File format also supports lossless data compression, meaning your files are not going to lose any of their quality after you unzip them, it only makes storing take less space and sharing much easier by reducing file size.

But, enough for the technical details. Let’s take a look at all the methods to create a zip file and add a password to protect it.

Method 1: Creating A Zip File Using 7-Zip

7-Zip is free, open-source software available since 1999 for public use. It’s one of the most-used tools amongst computer users, and along with WinRAR, the best one to rely on when you want to archive files and protect them with a password.

If you’ve never used 7-Zip before, you can download it from the official website in just a few clicks and use it right away.

Once you have 7-Zip installed on your computer, here’s how to password protect a zip file with it:

  1. Locate the file(s) or folder(s) on your computer that you wish to zip and protect with a password.
  2. Select the file(s) and right-click to open the Windows context menu, then hover over the 7-Zip option which appears after you install the software on your computer. Choose Add to archive from the list of options, as shown in the image below.
    Windows 7 Zip
  3. Now you’ll see the panel where you can configure various settings before finally zipping the file(s), and one of the options available is to password protect the zip folder. Simply write your desired password, then write it again in the confirmation field below, and finish the action by pressing the OK button at the bottom.
    Windows 7 Zip Password

Now the zipped file will appear at the location you chose, which by default, is on your desktop.

You can now share the zipped file with other people without having to worry about it ending in the wrong hands because even if it does, they won’t be able to access it without knowing the password.

With that said, make sure you choose a strong password and store it somewhere safe. Share it only with people you trust about accessing the zip with password you just created.

Method 2: Creating A Zip File Using WinRAR

Another easy way to add password to a zip file is by using WinRAR, a great tool that’s equally as used as the above-mentioned example, 7-Zip.

If you don’t already have WinRAR installed on your computer, you can download the tool from the official website.

Once you install WinRAR on your computer, follow the steps below to learn how to add password to a zip file with its help.

  1. Locate the file(s) or folder(s) on your computer that you wish to zip and protect with a password.
  2. Select the file(s) and right-click to open the Windows context menu, then click on the Add to archive option with the WinRAR logo, which appears after you install the software on your computer.
    Windows WinRAR
  3. Now the “Archive name and parameters” panel will open on your screen. At the bottom of this window, you’ll see the Set password button that you need to click, as shown in the image below.
    Windows WinRAR Set password
  4. Now you’ll see the “Enter password” window where you can set your preferred combination of characters to create a password protected zip. Once you’re done creating your password, click the OK button at the bottom, as shown in the image below.
    Windows WinRAR Enter password
  5. The final thing you need to do is click the OK button in the same window shown in step #3, and the archive will appear at your chosen location, which by default is your Desktop.

Please note that if you’re archiving many files at once, the process could take some time. Otherwise, it’s almost instant.

Now you’ve created your WinRAR password protected zip, and you can share it with other users via an e-mail or through other file-sharing services much more conveniently and without worrying about its security being compromised.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide answered the frequently-asked “how do I password protect a zip file in Windows 10” question, and made the entire process much clearer to you.

If you wanted to create a password protected zip using free and open-source tools available for both Windows 10 and 11, now you have the right steps to follow.

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Bojan Veselinovikj
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Bojan is a video-game developer and a tech enthusiast. Combining these two passions allow him to keep you informed on everything that's new in this fast-paced digital world.