Ask the IT Guy: Password Protecting a Single Folder

I shamelessly snagged this question from Facebook since it’s an easy one to answer and I haven’t quite launched my “Ask the IT Guy” service yet to get questions directed at me specifically.
Stacy Writes:
Does anyone know how to password protect just one folder on the desktop ?
Why Yes Stacy, I do know, and included here with your answer are some screenshots showing the flow.  There are a ton of different ways to go about this, some are more complicated than others.  If you are on a shared computer with separate users you can encrypt your folder which will prevent anyone else from accessing it, or if you only have a single user it will actually password protect the folder.  To do that check this information HERE.
If you are using Windows XP or Vista you can create a compressed zip folder and set a password on it.  To do that …
Right Click on the folder you are wanting to protect.
Select Send to -> Compressed Zip Folder

That will create a new zipped folder.  Delete the regular folder and open the zipped folder.  Under the file menu select Set Password.  Unfortunately I don’t have Windows XP so I can’t show you from that point, but the option should be there.

Other than that I don’t know of any ways to do it without using third party software.  Most zip utilities (Winzip, Winrar, Winace, 7-Zip) will let you create a password protected zip file which Windows can use seamlessly as a compressed folder.
There are actually free software solutions out there that are solely made to do this – I haven’t tried any of them myself, but after a bit of research I can recommend these for you.  The installations appear to be quick and easy and will do the job for you.
Microsoft Private Folder (Windows XP Only)
TrueCrypt (More complex program)
My Folder (32-bit Windows only)
My Lockbox (This actually removes and then restores the folder)
I’ll run through the My Lockbox program for you, to give you an outline of the process.  This will allow you to protect a single folder, and will actually completely remove the folder so people won’t even know it’s there and being protected.
First, run the setup utility.
Select Next, accept the license agreement, Select the folder to install (click next), create a start menu folder (click next), click Install
 
Once the program is installed Select Next, Uncheck open release notes, click next and finish.
Now that the install is done, you can open the program (I opened it from my desktop).  You’ll see two icons, one is My Lockbox, one is My Lockbox Control Panel.  Open My Lockbox
 
The program will ask for a password, this prevents access to the program itself, and is used to protect your folders.  Make sure you choose a password you will remember since there won’t be an option to reset it in the future.
Once you’ve put in a password, it will tell you to set a folder to be protected, click Yes
Find the folder you wish to protect, I have it located on my desktop as you see here.  Select it and click OK

 

 

Now the folder will disappear – don’t worry! It’s still there, it is just located in the lockbox.  To restore the folder open your My Lockbox Control Panel.  Enter your password, then select Unlock.
This will restore the folder and you can use it as normal.  When you want to protect the folder, you have to lock it once more.
There are some advanced options where you can have the lockbox automatically lock the file after certain conditions, make sure to check them out and configure them to your own needs.  First click on the Advanced button on the left, then select the Options tab.

What did you think?