In a previous post I showed you an excellent tool, called Mailvelope, for plain-text email encryption that can be used with Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, GMX, etc. However, at the moment it is not possible to encrypt attachments using this tool. But encrypting attachments and files in Windows can be a very simple task as well.
To encrypt files in Windows, all you need is 7-Zip — a free and open source file archiving tool.
Download either the 32-bit or the 64-bit version depending on what kind of Windows you are using. If you are not sure how to check your Windows type, click here.
The installation process is straightforward even for an absolute beginner.
Archiving and Encrypting Files
After the installation is done, you have several ways to encrypt your files.
You can launch 7-Zip and select the files for encryption within its window.
You can launch Windows Explorer (
Or, in case you wish to add a large number of files to your encrypted archive, you can create a folder, copy all relevant files to it, and then right-click on the folder’s icon, and select
In each case you end up in the
In it, give your archive a name and a password. Then click
Remember, that your password should be strong.
Now you can send your sensitive files safely as email attachments or leave them anywhere — nobody will be able to access them without the correct password.
Extracting and Decrypting Files
Extracting files from a zip archive is just as easy.
Double-click on the zip archive. 7-Zip will open the archive for you. Note, that even though the archive is encrypted, you can see all the file names.
Click on the
Now enter the correct password for the archive and click
Additional Benefits of 7-Zip
There are also some additional benefits to creating a zip archive.
First of all, you save some hard drive space.
Second, your files will be in one place. In Windows, files, even if they are put in a folder are not in the same place on your hard drive. To collect them into one place, you need to create a container for them — and that is exactly what 7-Zip does. It creates a zip container.
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