Encrypt Zip File: A Guide on How to Encrypt Zip Files

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The idea of compressing content into ZIP files has revolutionized the digital workspace. With ZIP files, you can store hundreds of folders and files in a single location, thus making it convenient to transfer and use. Additionally, they save your disk space since it allows compressing of large attachments.

What is an encrypted ZIP file?

Encryption involves protecting a ZIP file by locking down the archive such that only specific people can view its contents. An encrypted ZIP file has an added layer of protection for confidential information. If you are archiving essential documents or pictures, chances are they contain some content you don't want to expose to the world.

And yes, you can put a strong password on your user account and use Windows security features, but such a move is not adequate since you may leave the computer on by mistake. Besides, someone can still access the files if they use the hard drive on a different computer.

File encryption ensures that even if someone finds out the password to your computer, they still cannot view the contents of your ZIP file. Encrypting a ZIP file also protects it during transmission.

Typically, you use these files when uploading to a site for a particular application or when sending a document to another email. But since email is not secure for sending sensitive documents, encryption allows you to take control over your content's privacy. Encryption, therefore, reduces the chances of access by a third party.

How to open a zip file

Encrypt a ZIP file with Windows 10

Although Windows 10 does not have password protection for compressed folders and files, you can still take steps to ensure your files are safe. The Encrypting File System (EFS) protects the contents of your ZIP file and provides a decryption key that works like a password. You can only decrypt or open the contents if you have the correct key.

Here are the steps you should follow.

  1. Right-click the ZIP file you want to encrypt and select properties.
  2. Select the Advanced button
  3. Check the box "Encrypt contents to secure data."
  4. Select OK to close the Advanced Attributes window.
  5. Select Apply to choose either "Encrypt the file only" or "Encrypt the file and its parent folder (recommended)." Click OK to close the Confirm Attribute Changes window.

Ensure you backup your decryption key. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to view the data of your encrypted file if you lose the key.

When you encrypt a ZIP file on Windows 10, you add an extra layer of protection. However, the best and proper encryption is through third-party tools. WinZip is a top-notch computer program that provides two kinds of encryption, including AES and ZIP 2.0 (Legacy) encryption.

AES encryption is the best option if you have a critical security requirement for your files. It comes with two different strengths: 256-bit AES and 128-bit AES. But if you are looking to protect files against a casual user who has no password and is trying to access the contents of the files, you can settle for ZIP 2.0 encryption.

so check out our guide for encrypting files on Mac.

Encrypt a ZIP file with WinZip

  1. Open WinZip and select Encrypt in the Actions pane
  2. Drag and drop the files to the middle NewZip.zip pane and input a password when the dialog box emerges. Click OK.
  3. Select the Options tab in the Actions pane and click the Encryption settings. Choose the level of encryption and click Save.


The main objectives of encrypting ZIP files are protecting your data, ensuring your privacy, and securing intellectual property. WinZip is a leading zip tool that allows you to encrypt your files and provides two kinds of encryption, giving you a chance to choose the best for your protection needs.

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