How to encrypt files on Windows 10? There are two ways. The first one can be done within Windows 10, accessed from the file or folder properties. It’s a long process, but doable. A faster and better option, outlined further in the article, is encrypting your files with WinZip. In this article, we'll go through both methods step-by-step.

How To Encrypt Files (Windows 10)

  1. Right-click on the folder or file you want to encrypt.

  2. Select Properties from the drop-down menu.

  3. At the bottom of the dialogue box, click Advanced.

  4. Under "Compress or Encrypt attributes," check the box for "Encrypt contents to secure data."

    Note: If the option "Encrypt contents to secure data" is greyed out, follow the steps outlined below in the article.

  5. Click OK.

  6. Click Apply.

  7. If you chose to encrypt a folder, you get a new dialogue box asking if you want to encrypt the whole folder or the folder, subfolders, and files. Select your option.

  8. You will now get a pop-up message asking you to "Back up your file encryption certificate and key." See your Notification Area in Windows if the pop-up disappears.

  9. Connect a USB drive to your computer.

  10. Click "Back up now (recommended)." Backing up your encryption key is highly recommended. If you lose your encryption key, you might lose access to the file or folder you encrypted.

  11. Safe AES Image
  12. Click Next.

  13. Click Next to create your certificate.

  14. Click Next to accept the certificate file format.

  15. Enter your password, confirm your password, and click Next.

  16. Select your USB drive, name your certificate and key, and click Save.

  17. Click Next.

  18. Click Finish.

  19. Store your USB drive in a safe place.


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Decrypting A File In Windows

To decrypt your file or folder, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the folder or file you want to decrypt.

  2. Select Properties from the drop-down menu.

  3. At the bottom of the dialogue box, click Advanced.

  4. Under "Compress or Encrypt attributes," uncheck the box for "Encrypt contents to secure data."

"Encrypt contents to secure data" Greyed Out

Before you follow along with the steps below, make sure to create a backup of your registry. Modifying the wrong registry key could potentially harm your computer, so please try this at your own risk.

  1. Press Windows + R and type "regedit," then press OK. You can also search for "regedit" from the Windows start menu and open it there. Both work fine.

  2. Navigate to the following entry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem

  3. Find the file "NtfsDisableEncryption" in the right-side window and double-click it.

  4. Change the "Value data" from 0 to 1.

  5. Click OK and restart your computer.

How To Encrypt Files Faster (Windows 10)

Utilizing a powerful compression software with powerful AES encryption gives you two advantages. Firstly, it’s a lot faster. Rather than encrypting a file in 18 steps, you can do it in only three. Secondly, you get the benefit of reduced file size, thanks to the compression.

We recommend you encrypt files in Windows 10 with WinZip – the software with over a billion downloads, trusted by people and businesses worldwide.

To encrypt files faster in Windows 10, follow these steps:

  1. Open WinZip and click Encrypt in the Actions pane on your right side.

  2. Drag and drop your files to the NewZip.zip center pane. Enter a password when the dialog box appears. Click OK.

  3. Click the Options tab in the Actions pane and choose Encryption Settings. Set the level of encryption and click Save.

Final Words

We’ll leave it up to you as to which method you prefer. But for most purposes, WinZip is far superior in terms of ease and speed. And with options to choose the military-level encryption method "AES," you can be sure that your files are safe.


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