How to Password Protect a Folder in Windows XP

By William Pullman

Updated February 10, 2017

Windows XP users can hide sensitive documents from prying eyes by password protecting folders. Password protection is available through the Windows XP operating system for both standard and ZIP folders. For standard folders, your account password, if you use one, is automatically assigned to the password-protected folder. You are prompted to create an account password if you don't have one. ZIP folders can have a password independent of the account password.

Regular Folder

Right-click the folder you want to protect and select "Properties." A window appears labeled "X Properties," where "X" is replaced with your folder name.

Click the "Sharing" tab near the top of the window.

Click the box next to "Make This Folder Private," which is located under "Local Sharing and Security."

Click "Apply" at the bottom of the window. If your account is password protected, then the folder is now protected with the same password. The "Sharing" window appears, prompting you to create a password if you don't have a password-protected account.

Click "Yes" to access the password creation screen.

Enter a password in the "Type A New Password" text box, and then again in the "Type The New Password Again To Confirm" text box.

Enter a word or sentence in the "Type A Word Or Phrase To Use As A Password Hint" text box and click "Create Password."

Click "OK" in the folder properties window to finish protecting the folder.

ZIP Folders

Double-click the ZIP folder and select "File" in the upper menu.

Click "Add A Password. The "Add Password" screen appears.

Enter the password in the "Password" text box, and then again in the "Confirm Password" text box.

Click "OK" to set the password for the ZIP folder.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose an easy to remember password.
  • Make sure your Caps Lock key is off on your keyboard. This might cause your password to be entered wrongly.
  • Failure to enter your password correctly will result in a permanent locking of the files.