How to Password Protect a ZIP File? a Helpful Guide

Can a ZIP file be password protected? Yes, you can definitely do it. Read on to learn how to password protect a ZIP file here.

How to Password Protect a ZIP File a Helpful Guide

Digital privacy in 2020 is a hot topic. Governments took huge companies like Zoom to court this year over privacy violations. In recent years, Facebook, Google, and others faced similar charges.

In particular, Google is accused of gathering specific information from users. That action is way out of bounds, making people with accounts question whether their email attachments and files are secure on Google apps. It’s hard to say, but one way to be sure a file is safe is to password protect a ZIP file.

If you aren’t familiar with how to zip a file and password protect it, don’t worry. Here’s everything you need to know about password-protected ZIP files.

How and Why to Use Password-Protected ZIP Files
If you’ve never heard of a ZIP file before, here’s the lowdown. 

ZIP files let you compress files, making them smaller, without losing any of the data or quality. Usually, compressing a file or reducing its size means a hit to data quality. What that can mean for you is distorted audio, pixelated images, and low-quality video.

But when you go to send a video via email, you’re blocked because the file is too large. You want to send the video without putting it online, and you don’t want to lose any of the quality. So, how are you supposed to go about sending it?

That’s where ZIP files come in. The most common reason to use ZIP files is to save space on a hard drive or to make a file easy to send over email. When they’re password-protected, ZIP files also set a high standard for security.
Read on to learn how to zip a file and password protect it on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Password Protect a ZIP File on Windows
To password protect a ZIP file using Windows 10’s built-in software, you need either the Pro, Education, or Enterprise edition. The password protecting ZIP file feature is not available on Windows 10 Home. Don’t worry, there’s a workaround—more on that later.

If your file isn’t already zipped, right-click on the file to bring up a pane of options. Click on “send to,” then select the option that reads “compressed (zipped) folder.” Your zipped file will have the same name and will be in the same location.

To password protect it, right-click the ZIP file. Click on the option that says “properties,” then click on the “advanced” button in the properties menu. Then, once you’re in “advanced attributes,” select the box next to “encrypt contents to secure data.” 

A padlock will appear on the file, but you can still access it without typing in your password. The simple explanation is that you are already logged into your account, so you have typed your password. Other users on the computer cannot access the file.

If you don’t have the right version of Windows 10 or don’t like the options they offer, you can download a third-party ZIP file software.

Securing ZIP Files on a Mac
To make a ZIP file on a Mac, you add the documents you want to compress to a folder. Then, you right-click the file and select “compress.” If you don’t want to make a folder, you have to go to Archive Utility, which you can get to from Spotlight Search. There, you can select multiple files and right-click to compress them into one folder named “archive.zip” in the original folder.

To encrypt a ZIP file on Mac without third-party software, you have to go to Terminal. Then, type the words “cd command” into the text box and press the enter key. After that, type “zip -e” and one space before the file name. You’ll have the option to enter a password at that point.

This nifty article gives additional information if you’re still not sure how to go about it or want more details: https://setapp.com/how-to/simple-way-to-zip-unzip-files-on-mac

Password-Protected ZIP Files Add Security on Linux
Linux is a popular operating system for those concerned with digital security. Password protecting your ZIP files is one extra step you can take to be extra sure nobody can access your information.

There are two common ways to create password-protected ZIP files using the Linux command line.

The first step is to select the file or files that you want to encrypt. One way is to enter the command “zip -P [put your password here] -r [put your file name here].zip [file] [directory]” into the command line. Don’t add the quotation marks or brackets or you will run into problems.

The downside of this option is that you type your password in plaintext. If somebody has spyware on your computer, this means they can see what you wrote. If this concerns you, try this option instead:

Again, select the files. After that, type in the secure encryption command “zip –encrypt [put your file name here].zip [file] [directory].”

You’ll be instructed to enter a password, which won’t appear on the screen for security. After that, verify the password and you’re good to go.

If All Else Fails: Trying With Third-Party Software
If after reading these options, you still can’t seem to encrypt a ZIP file on your computer, that’s okay. If you aren’t happy with the range of options the major operating systems offer, there’s good news for you too. There are a wide variety of third-party software options for encrypting ZIP files.

Some ZIP encryption software is free, while others charge a fee. A fee doesn’t always mean that the software is better, but it is often a sign that you have more tools and features to use. If you plan on encrypting a lot of ZIP files or want to access the most advanced options, paying could be worth it.

Technology, Insurance, and More
Now you know how to password protect a ZIP file. You can use this information to secure your files in a compressed form and save space on your computer.

While you’re converting and protecting your files, take a look around our website. We have great tips about technology, insurance, and more. We designed this site to be relevant and useful to you, so click another article and find more life-changing information today.

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