How to Password Protect a ZIP File on Windows

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Want to protect your ZIP archives with a password? Although Windows doesn’t have a built-in option to do this, you can use free apps like 7-Zip and WinRAR to add password protection. We will show you how to use these apps.

Be sure to write down your password somewhere safe, like in a password manager, because you’ll need it every time you want to extract files from your password-protected ZIP.

RELATED: How to password protect files and folders with encryption

Protect a ZIP with a password using 7-Zip

7-Zip is a free and open-source application that you can use to create and extract files from various archive formats, including ZIP. With this app, you choose the files to add to an archive, set the password, and let the app secure the contents of your archive.

To get started, download and install for free 7-Zip application on your Windows PC.

Next, open a File Explorer window and locate the files to add to a ZIP archive. Select all of these files, right-click a file, and choose 7-Zip > Add to Archive.

Select 7-Zip > Add to Archive.” width=”650″ height=”319″ src=”/pagespeed_static/1.JiBnMqyl6S.gif” onload=”pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);” onerror=”this.onerror=null;pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);”/></p>
<p>You will see a window “Add to archive”.  Here in the section “encryption” on the right, click on the field “Enter Password” and type the password you want to use.  Type the same password in the field “Reenter Password”.</p>
<p>Then click on the drop-down menu “Encryption method” and choose “AES-256”, a popular cipher used by banks and the US military.  If desired, adjust all other options as desired.</p>
<p>Finally, start creating your archive by clicking “OK” downstairs.</p>
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7-Zip will create your password protected ZIP archive in the same folder as your selected files. When you open this archive, you will be asked to enter the password to extract the files from it.

Enter the ZIP password.

You are ready.

RELATED: The best file extraction and compression tool for Windows

Encrypt ZIP archive using WinRAR

If you’ve used a Windows PC for a while, you’ve probably come across WinRAR. This File compression app lets you create and extract files from different types of archives, including ZIP. You can also use the app to secure your archives with a password.

To do this, start by downloading and installing the free version of WinRAR on your Windows computer.

Next, open a File Explorer window and find the files to add to your archive. Select all your files, right click on a file and choose “Add to archive”.

Point: If you don’t see the option “Add to archive” from WinRAR, restart your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC.

Select "Add to archive."

In the window “Archive name and parameters”Click on the button “Set password”.

Picking out "Set password."

In the window “Enter Password”select the field “Enter Password” and enter your password. Type the same password in the field “Reenter Password for Verification”.

Then choose “OK” downstairs.

In the section “Archive Format”choose “ZIP” for the application to create a ZIP archive. Feel free to change other options if you wish.

Finally, when you are ready to create the archive, click “OK”.

WinRAR will create a new ZIP archive protected by the password you chose. You can now share this ZIP with anyone you want, and they will need to enter the correct password to extract its files.

Type the ZIP password.

And that’s how you protect your confidential data on your Windows computer. Very useful!


Want to password protect your Microsoft Office or PDF files? If so, there is also a way to do that.

RELATED: How to Password Protect Documents and PDFs with Microsoft Office

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