How to password protect a ZIP file in Windows

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Do you want to protect your ZIP files with a password? While 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’ll show you how to use those apps.

Be sure to write down your password in a safe place, such as a password manager, as you will need it every time you want to extract files from your password-protected ZIP.

RELATED: How to password protect files and folders with encryption

Password protect a ZIP 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 allow the app to secure the contents of your archive.

To get started, download and install the free 7-Zip app 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 on any file, and choose 7-Zip > Add to Archive.

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You will see an “Add to Archive” window. Here, in the “Encryption” section on the right, click the “Enter Password” field and type the password you want to use. Type the same password in the “Re-enter password” field.

Then click the “Encryption Method” dropdown menu and choose “AES-256,” a popular encryption used by banks and the US military. If desired, adjust any other options as desired.

Finally, start creating your file by clicking “OK” at the bottom.

7-Zip will create your password protected ZIP file in the same folder as the selected files. When you open this archive, you will be prompted to enter the password to extract files from it.

Enter the zip code password.

Are you ready.

RELATED: The best file extraction and compression tool for Windows

Encrypt a ZIP archive using WinRAR

If you have used a Windows PC for some time, chances are you have come across WinRAR. This file compression application allows you to create and extract files from various types of archives, including ZIP. You can also use the app to protect your files with a password.

To do that, first, download and install the free version of WinRAR on your Windows PC.

Then open a File Explorer window and browse for the files to add to your archive. Select all your files, right click on any file and choose “Add to Archive”.

Advice: If you don’t see WinRAR “Add to Archive” option, please restart your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC.

Select "add to file".

In the “File name and parameters” window, click the “Set password” button.

choose "set password".

In the “Enter Password” window, select the “Enter Password” field and type your password. Type the same password in the “Re-enter password for verification” field.

Then choose “OK” at the bottom.

In the “File Format” section, choose “ZIP” to have the app create a ZIP file. So feel free to change any other options if you want.

Finally, when you’re ready to create the file, click “OK.”

WinRAR will create a new ZIP archive that is protected with the chosen password. You can now share this ZIP with anyone you want, and they will have to enter the correct password to extract your files.

Enter the zip code password.

And that’s how you keep your sensitive data safe 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 it.

RELATED: How to password protect documents and PDF files with Microsoft Office