Password protection of files

Discussion in 'Computing and Networks' started by Alec_t, Sep 7, 2015.

  1. Alec_t

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    5,791
    1,103
    Having recently bought a new lappy with Win8.1, now updated to Win10, I find that password protection of files/folders is no longer a Windows feature. Worked fine in WinXP. When was it removed from Windows? More worryingly, why? So the powers that be can monitor our life more easily? ;). As a workaround, can anyone recommend any freeware for adding password protection?
     
  2. be80be

    Senior Member

    Jul 5, 2008
    431
    57
  3. Alec_t

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    5,791
    1,103
    Neat. Thanks.
    Do you know a way to password-protect a single file such that I can email it to someone and they can open it without needing additional software?
     
  4. be80be

    Senior Member

    Jul 5, 2008
    431
    57
  5. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,737
    4,789
    Think about this.

    If I have a text file that I encrypt and send to you, how do you expect to be able to decrypt it without needing additional software?

    You need software that is compatible with the software that I used to encrypt it.

    There are a number of fairly painless ways to achieve this. Perhaps the simplest (if you are looking for something that is universal in that it will work for any file you might want to send) is to use a compression utility (such as PKZIP) that supports password protection. You then simply zip up the file using the option to password protect it. The recipient has to have the same (or compatible) compression utility, but that's the case whether you password protect it or not.
     
    #12 likes this.
  6. Alec_t

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    5,791
    1,103
    I was referring to software over and above the standard Windows OS. WinXP allows password protection of files in a zip folder, and those files can be read by Win10 (and earlier) without additional software.
    Most options in the post #4 link require either expensive software (e.g. Office, Acrobat Pro) at the sender's end or additional software at the receiver's end :(.
    Alas, neither Microsoft's Print-to-PDF in Win10, nor the freeware Bolt PDF Printer allow a password to be added. I don't have Office or Adobe Acrobat Pro.
    7-zip can create a password-protected zip folder, but File Explorer can't open the contents so the recipient also needs to have 7-zip installed.
     
  7. Alec_t

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    5,791
    1,103
    Problem solved :). Have now installed PDFCreator. File Explorer can happily read the contents of a password-protected pdf produced by it.
     
  8. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,737
    4,789
    So how does that solve the problem you asked about? This seems like it would only work for PDF files. If you have, say, an ASC file from LTSpice, how can you use PDFCreator to password protect that file? Can you attach or embed arbitrary files to/in a PDF file and extract them at the other end?
     
  9. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,278
    6,789
  10. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,737
    4,789
    True, but I (think I) get his objective.

    He wants to be able to encrypt something and send it to you so that you do not need any software to decrypt it beyond what comes standard with your OS (or at least a particular OS of interest, in this case Win10) AND so that he does not need to shell out money (or at least not very much) in order to get the encrypting software.

    So if Axcrypt requires that the recipient install it on their machine, even if it's free, then it doesn't meet his requirements.
     
  11. Alec_t

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    5,791
    1,103
    True, it won't enable an asc file structure embedded in a pdf to be recovered, but for textual documents (including e.g. a netlist) it's fine for my purpose.
     
  12. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,025
    3,789
    How can you bother to challenge @Alec_t 's solution if he says it works (even if he changed his design criteria)? Are you upset that ..
    - he is giving himself a sub-standard solution?
    - he didn't give you a chance the solve the problem?
    - he didn't acknowledge how smart you were when you pointed out that an additional software would be needed?
    - something else?

    Also, you seem fairly certain that Alec's emailed friend needs more than PDF files. How would you know better than Alec that additional file formats will be needed?

    I am interested.
     
  13. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,737
    4,789
    I simply asked how his solution solved the problem he claimed to have. If he changed the requirements, that's fine. But if he didn't and if his solution really did solve the problem as stated, then I'm curious how it did so. For all I know there is a way to attach or embed arbitrary files within a PDF file and extract them at the other end. If so, then I wouldn't mind knowing about it. Why is that so unreasonable a query to make?

    There's also the possibility (though unlikely in the case of Alec) that he didn't change the problem and only thinks that he found a solution without realizing that it only deals with a limited version of the problem. We see that fairly regularly, though, as I said, that is unlikely in this case.
     
  14. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,737
    4,789
    So you are only interested in conveying the information in human readable form? In other words, if you send a netlist you want the person to be able to see it, but they may not be able to extract it as a netlist in a text file that they can feed into some program to process? If so, then it sounds like you have a workable solution for your needs.
     
  15. Alec_t

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    5,791
    1,103
    Well, I've had to accept reality, hence a less than ideal solution. Ideally I'd still like to be able to put recoverable files of arbitrary formats into a password-protected zip folder, as in the good old days under WinXP. I find it frustrating that MS has seen fit (or been forced?) to remove that handy functionality (from Win7 onwards, from what I've read?). I have family distributed around the globe and sometimes need to email stuff with personal/sensitive information to them, so the pdf format does for that. I've never wanted to email a netlist, but you never know... :).
     
  16. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,737
    4,789
    Understand better what your goals are.

    I tried finding out why the encryption option was removed.

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/...s/f9a7cb01-c5f8-4d70-8261-57e44ba9f42b?auth=1

    As is often the case with "knowledge bases", the actual information content is very low.

    I skimmed a number of Google hits and didn't find anything definitive. The best potential explanation is that MS has realized how week the standard ZIP encryption scheme is and wanted to distance themselves from it (as opposed to adopting a proper encryption scheme). A decent lay explanation of the problem can be found in a couple of the responses here:

    http://security.stackexchange.com/questions/5447/how-secure-is-a-windows-password-protected-zip-file
     
  17. eetech00

    Active Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    649
    112
    Natively creating password protected zip files hasn't been supported since WinXP. But there are free open source programs that are compatible with zip format and will work with Win 7/8/10. One such program is 7-Zip. I use this with Win 10 and Win 8.1 . You'll need this to create the password protected zip. The receiver of the file can open using the native zip functionality but will be prompted for the password.
     
    djsfantasi likes this.
  18. Alec_t

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    5,791
    1,103
    Thanks both.
    I tried 7-zip, but Win10 File Explorer wouldn't open the files. It complained that it 'couldn't create the folder'. Policy, or something to do with permissions/privileges?

    Edit: Correction. It complained "Error:Windows cannot complete the extraction."
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
  19. be80be

    Senior Member

    Jul 5, 2008
    431
    57
    I tried 7-zip on windows 10 it worked fine using password to open the zip file.
    I zipped up a pdf file and it ask for the password and worked fine with windows 10 zip program am going to test it with my work computer
     
  20. Alec_t

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    5,791
    1,103
    7-zip works fine for me on Win10 if I use 7-zip to open the zip. The problem is that File Explorer won't open the file inside the zip. It is unlikely that my email recipients have, or would be willing to have, 7-zip installed on their PCs.
     
Loading...