In this digital age, we take for granted the ease and convenience of being able to zip and unzip files with just a few clicks. But what happens when you need to send a file that contains confidential or sensitive information? That’s where learning how to password protect zip files comes in handy.
In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that and more.
Why protect a Zip file?
There are a number of reasons why you might want to password protect a zip file. Maybe you’re sending sensitive information via email and you want to make sure that only the intended recipient can open and view the contents of the file.
Or perhaps you’re sharing a large file with someone and you don’t want them to be able to share it with anyone else. No matter what your reasons are, password protecting a zip file is a simple and effective way to keep your data safe and secure.
How to password protect a Zip file
So the question remains — how do you password protect a zip file? While there are several ways to go about it, we’ll show you what we felt was the easiest method and that is by using a program called Winzip.
Winzip is available for both Windows and Mac computers and they offer a free trial. Just log on to the official Winzip website and download the Winzip software on your computer, then install it on your device.
As for the actual steps, well they do vary slightly depending on what operating system you’re on.
How to password protect a Zip file on your Mac
If you’re using a Mac, the process is pretty straightforward. Just follow these simple steps to password protect zip file on Mac:
- Go to “Applications” and open Winzip.
- Go to “Finder” and start dropping in the files that you want to add to your password-protected zip file.
- Under the “Actions” section on the right, click on the tickbox beside “Encrypt.”
- Click on “Encryption Preferences.”
- Choose an encryption method — Legacy, 128-bit, or 256-bit AES. We recommend choosing the latter as it offers the best protection.
- Navigate to the top pane and click on the “Add” button. From the drop-down, choose “from this Mac…”
- You’ll be prompted to enter and confirm your password. Make sure to choose a strong and unique password that you’ll remember!
- Click on the “Zip” button and that’s it — you’ve just created a password-protected zip file from your Mac computer! Now to open it, users will need to enter the password that you’ve set before they can open/unzip the files you’ve included.
How to password protect a zip file on Windows 10
The process is a little different on Windows, but it’s still just as easy. Just follow these steps:
- Select all the files that you want to protect, then right-click directly over them.
- Go to “Winzip,” then click on “Add/Move to Zip File.”
- Set a name for the zip file
- Scroll down to the section where it says “Encryption” and tick the box next to where it says “Encrypt files.”
- Click on the arrow icon to the right and on the next page, you’ll be asked to select an encryption method. Again, we recommend setting it to AES-256 for the best protection.
- Click on the “Add button” and you’ll be prompted to set a password. Type in your desired password and confirm, then click on the “OK” button.
How to encrypt a Zip file
If you want to kick your security up a notch, you can encrypt your zip file. While this might sound like overkill, encryption adds an extra layer of protection. Even if someone were to get ahold of your zip file, they wouldn’t be able to open it without the encryption key on your device.
How to encrypt a zip file with a password
To encrypt a zip file, you can use Window’s integrated encryption feature. Just follow these steps:
- Select the files that you want to add to your zip file, then right-click directly over them.
- Go to “Send To” and select “Compressed (zipped) folder.”
- After the zip file is created, right-click on it, then go to “Properties.”
- Click on the “General” tab, then click on “Advanced.”
- Look for the section where it says “Compressor Encrypt” attributes, then tick off the box next to “Encrypt contents to secure data.”
- Click on the “OK” button, then “Apply.”
- You’ll be sent an encryption warning asking you whether you want to encrypt the file only or the entire zip file. Make your selection and click on the “OK” button.
Click on “OK” again to close the “Properties” window, and that’s it — that file is now encrypted and can only be opened (decrypted) from that device.
What is the difference between encrypting a zip file and setting a password?
When you encrypt a zip file, it can only be opened from the same device that it was encrypted on. This adds an extra layer of security as even if someone were to get their hands on your zip file, they wouldn’t be able to open it without the zip encryption key.
When you set a password, anyone with the password can open the zip file from any device.
What is the best encryption method to use?
For the best protection, we recommend using 256-bit AES encryption. This is a strong form of encryption that would take even the most powerful computers years to break. (128-bit and Legacy are also both secure methods, but they aren’t as secure as 256-bit.)
What if I forget the password to a zip file?
If you forget the password to your zip file, there is no way to remove it or decrypt the file without the password. This is why it’s important to choose a strong password and make sure that you remember it!
So there you have it, your comprehensive guide to password-protecting a zip file. As you’ve surely realized, it’s important to take security seriously — especially when it comes to zip files that contain sensitive information.