How To Password Protect Zip Files: A Complete Guide

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Zip files are documents you can compress to decrease the amount of memory required to store them. This file format can combine multiple files into a single one and reduces the file size, making it easier to transfer or manage. Learning to create and share various media with zip files can help you become more efficient in your daily job duties. In this article, we define zip files, explain how to password protect zip files and discuss why password protection is important.

What is a zip file?

Zip is a common archive file format that facilitates data compression. In Windows, you can arrange the files by dropping them into a folder, and then you can move that folder with data to any location on your computer. Zip files can act similarly to folders, except that the contents of the folder 'zip files' get compressed to save space.

After receiving a zip file, the recipient can unzip or extract it and use it in its original format. If you want to send a folder with multiple files to someone, you may encounter limitations on the size of the file. Zip files combine all those files into a single zip bundle and send them at once at a reduced total file size. Zip files can save space and make sending files over the Internet or between devices easier.

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How to password protect zip files

Learning how to password protect zip files can help you keep sensitive data safe and secure. Many operating systems already have a built-in capacity for encrypting zip files. For example, Windows 10 can encrypt the file with a key and automatically save it to the active user's account. You may choose to use third-party software or tools to enable encryption and share password-protected files over the Internet. Here are some helpful ways to password protect zip files:

1. Protect a zip file in Windows

Before encrypting zip files in Windows, compress the data into .zip format. Right-click on the zipped folder you want to password lock and click on 'Properties' to open the properties settings of the folder. After that, go to the 'General' tab in the properties settings box and select 'Advanced.' Once you select 'Advanced', a new dialogue box named 'Advanced attributes' may appear on the screen.

At the bottom of 'Advanced attributes,' you can find and select 'Encrypt contents to secure data' and click the 'Confirm' button. Then, a confirmation window may appear asking whether you want to encrypt the folder or you also want to encrypt the subfolders and files of the folder. Select the option as per your requirement and click 'OK.' The compressed zip folder is now encrypted and is only available through your account.

2. Protect a zip file with third party software

Passwords created during compression can be related to third-party program. With the help of third party software, you can even recover the content of a zip file when you lose access to the user account. This may also mean that if the password gets revealed, anyone can access the content of the zip file. There are different third party software that allows professionals to encrypt zip files in a more natural and faster way.

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3. Protect a zip file in macOS

For protecting zip files with a password in macOS, create a new folder in finder which is the standard file manager of this operating system. Add all the zip files you want to protect in that folder. After this, the macOS hard drive service program may open via spotlight search. Spotlight is the search function in macOS desktop and allows professionals to find documents, files, images, emails, contacts, and program. Select 'File' from the menu bar and then choose 'Image from folder' under 'New image.'

Now, select the folder containing the files you want to encrypt and click on 'Open.' You can name the image and choose a location to save it. Then, choose the type of encryption and enter a password. You can now confirm your selection. Make sure the image format is compressed before you save it. The encrypted image then gets saved in the chosen place as a .dmg file. To access the password-protected file, you can select the image by double-clicking on it and providing your password.

Why is password protection of zip files important?

File encryption is encrypting files by ciphering the data in the file and converting it to unreadable ciphertext. Professionals can access this data by entering the right password, which can unscramble the data and return it to readable, plain text. Zip is a file format for compressing files without sacrificing data quality. This file format can be ideal for sending several files or folders, as it allows you to compress everything into a single file with a smaller size. In many businesses, unauthorised access to personal files can be a concern.

Password-protected files can be a smart approach to limit access to approved people. You can ensure only specific teams have access to the files. Password protection may also safeguard the files if your computer gets hacked or infected with malware. Many professionals use zip files while submitting papers to a business or uploading data to a website. Sending important documents through email may be insecure. So, encrypting the zip file with a password can give you control over your data's protection.

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Additional tips for protecting zip files with a password

Here are some helpful tips that you can consider while creating a password for protecting zip files:

  • Set an easy to remember password. Make sure you create a password that you are familiar with and is easy to remember.

  • Use numbers and symbols. Using symbols, numbers and punctuation marks can make your password harder to guess.

  • Use at least eight characters. You can select a password with at least eight characters as it can also be harder to guess.

  • Include both uppercase and lowercase letters. Including both uppercase and lowercase letters can make your password more challenging to guess. You can use simple words that you can easily remember and make it more unpredictable by mixing letters.

  • Avoid passwords with personal information. Avoid using phrases or words related to your personal life. Passwords with any personal information can be easier to guess.

  • Update your passwords regularly. Regularly updating your passwords can avoid any potential threats. You can minimise hacking risks by using new words or phrases for passwords.

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Use of zip files

Professionals working in different departments can use zip files for the following purposes:

To send large amounts of data

Zip files can be an effective way to send large data to clients, teammates or other professionals. You can zip all the necessary files into one folder and minimise your effort and time. All the files get compressed into a simple-to-send format. Using zip files can also reduce your bandwidth use. Make sure you share the password with the receiver so they can unzip the folder.

To organise data

With the help of zip files, professionals can organise data for a longer duration and minimise confusion. Zipping files depending on their categories can make them easier to find. You can organise related files in one location. Zip file format also allows you to store archived data you want to keep, such as ownership papers and past tax returns.

To protect confidential information

Zip files can be a great option for transferring any confidential data with a higher level of protection. You can password protect zip files to avoid cybersecurity threats. You can create multiple zip folders and protect them with unique passwords.

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To save space

Individuals with limited computer space can use zip files to manage their storage efficiently. They can compress different files into zip folders with reduced size and restore their normal size after opening them. Zip files can help you save multiple gigabytes of space in your device.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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