Ad discussed in other questions, encryption is useful in case of computer / hard drive theft.

Instead of full volume encryption with VeraCrypt / TrueCrypt / Bitlocker that would need to rewrite my 600+ GB of data, how to perform an encryption of just one folder (and its subfolders) D:\MyDocs?

I'd like to use a password and still be able to use the hard drive on another computer (in the case of a computer failure for example).

Is this possible with EFS and how to set it up?

I'm using Windows 7 Integral with NTFS volumes.

  • VeraCrypt suppy containers Bitlocker does not. "Is this possible with EFS and how to set it up?" - EFS encrypts all files within a user profile and not a singular file like you want
    – Ramhound
    Aug 12 '17 at 11:30
  • 1
    As how you setup EFS you just enable it but EFS is limited to the installation also, unless you copy the certificate, do your research before you enable it
    – Ramhound
    Aug 12 '17 at 11:35
  • @Ramhound EFS encrypts files which have the corresponding attribute set; it is not limited to profile boundaries.
    – user1686
    Aug 12 '17 at 12:17
  • Then @Grawity, how to encrypt such a folder and be able to read it on another computer (if computer failure I need to move hard drive to another computer)?
    – Basj
    Aug 12 '17 at 13:52
  • Note that if you have Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate editions of Windows 7, you are able to easily encrypt folders by simply right clicking, properties -> Advanced... -> Click Encrypt contents to secure data. You'll want to backup your key in case of computer failure. Aug 17 '17 at 22:01

To encrypt files and folders, you can use something like 7-Zip to compress and password protect a file, folder, or whatever. 7-Zip is a free compression utility that works with both Zip files and its own 7z compression algorithm.

To encrypt with 7-Zip, just select the folder or file you want encrypted, right-click, and select "Add to Archive". (It will include all files and subfolders if you select a folder). From there, at the bottom right, select the encryption type you want and give it the password information. It looks like this:

7-Zip encryption settings

After that, the files/folders you selected are compressed and encrypted. Anyone trying to open the archive will need to know the password; otherwise, no dice. Additionally, since it is just a zip file (or 7z if you want), you can copy it to a new hard drive, new computer, etc. fully intact. So long as the new computer knows what a zip file is, it'll work.

EDIT: I forgot to add that, using 7-zip, you can set the Compression Level to "Store". (It's on the same options page as the Encryption picture above.) Setting it to "Store" does no compression at all, so you can actually just use it exactly how you want to: Encrypt specific files and folders, and have it be portable.

  • Thanks for this solution, but then it's not transparent at all for every day use: each time you want to modify a file / move a file / rename a file / delete a file / which is encrypted, we have to de-zip / re-zip... Not very handy.
    – Basj
    Aug 18 '17 at 20:34

It's indeed possible with EFS to encrypt only certain folders. Right click on a folder > Properties > Advanced, and then select Encrypt contents to secure data:

enter image description here

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