Making a password protected Zip file

  • Article ID: 11489
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  • Updated: 07 Jul 2014

This article explains how to make an encrypted (password protect) compressed file (referred to as 'an archive' file).

Note: The compression program built-in to (included with) the Microsoft Windows operating system since the release of Windows XP cannot password protect a compressed file, therefore a third-party application has to be used.  In this article we use 7-zip which is licensed under the GNU LGPL/GNU LGPL + unRAR, and hence is free to download and use.

Applies to the following Sophos product(s) and version(s)

Not product specific

What To Do

  1. Download the 7-zip installer for your computer from www.7-zip.org.  Run the program and install 7-zip to your computer.
  2. Using Windows Explorer locate the file/files/folder you want to compress with 7-zip.  The screenshot below shows three files selected to be compressed.


  3. With the file/files/folder highlighted right-click on one item and from the sub menu select: '7-Zip' | 'Add to archive'.


  4. Important:  If you are sending the file to another person, who may not have 7-zip installed, change the 'Archive format' option from the default '7z' to 'zip'.


  5. Under the heading 'Encryption' enter a password in the first field, and reenter the same password into the second password field.  Ensure you do not forget the password you entered as you will be prevented from opening files inside the archive in the future.


  6. Important: Not all compression programs can open archives protected with AES-256 encryption so the recipients may have a problem opening the archive, or you may have a problem opening the file on another computer.  Consider the level of protection required for the files and select the method of encryption that is appropriate.

    • Either leave the 'Encryption method' as 'ZipCrypto' to maximize compatibility with other compression programs.  If you are sending the file to another person their compression program will most likely open .zip files encrypted with the 'ZipCrypto' standard.


    • Or change the 'Encryption method' to 'AES-256' if you need maximum security protection for the file/files/folder contained inside the archive.

  7. Click OK to create the compressed archive.

 

You will now have a new file with a .zip file extension in the same folder as the file/files/folder you selected to compress in step three.

If you open the zip and then try to open a file inside the zip file you will be prompted for the password you set previously.

If you need to add a file to the zip archive simply drag and drop the new file onto the existing .zip file.

 
If you need more information or guidance, then please contact technical support.

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