Everyone these days wants the utmost protection of their data and security of data is a big problem. Many people want to ensure the safety of their virtual personal belongings like different files and folders, especially in the case of loss of a device and in order to be protected from ransomware threats. The solution to this problem is encryption.
What is encryption?
Encryption is a process of making your data unreadable for unauthorized users by password protecting it. When you make your data readable again, it is called decryption.
Any file or folder that has been encrypted would be useless for a layman or any other person who does not have the secret key or password for decrypting it.
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Windows built-in encryption options and their limitations
Windows comes with two encryption options:
- Encrypted File System (EFS) option built into the default NTFS file system
- Bitlocker encryption
Both of these options are not available in Windows 10 Home Edition. If you go with the Pro version, you can use EFS which can be useful for protecting files and folders from other users on the same system or on the network. It has a very limited scope and should only be used as a backup option.
Bitlocker is a great tool from Microsoft which comes only in Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions. Bitlockers can also make use of TPM technology to keep data safe even when hardware changes are detected. Bitlocker can only be used to encrypt complete drives in Windows 10. There is no option to encrypt a single file or folder.
The third form of security in Windows 10 is the use of passwords to secure your computer. But this is just password protection and does not guarantee data safety.
Difference between encryption and password protection
Encryption does not only protect your data by a specific password key, but it also converts it into an explicit coded form that can’t be understood by unauthorized users.
But a password is just like a lock to your data. Once the lock is open, the unauthorized person can use this data in any way he wants.
The encrypted data would still be protected if the Windows system is hacked or bypassed in some way and would only be readable when it is decrypted. Hence, encryption is an advanced technique of data protection.
“EncryptOnClick” is a software that can be used for encryption of individual files and folders.
It comes with a very simple interface. The initial window has only 5 buttons and two sections:
Encrypting files and folders using EncryptOnClick
Clicking on the File or Folder button under the Encrypt section will open a file dialog where you can select the files.
Browse and select the file you want to encrypt.
Enter the password and then confirm it. There would be a third option of “Comment”. It is optional. You can comment about the file or write something that might serve as a hint for your password in case you forget it. Remember, the comments are not encrypted. Do not write your password in the comment field. If you forget your password while decrypting a file, the comment will be displayed.
For maximum safety, you can also encrypt the file name by checking the Encrypt Filenames checkbox. The software will itself assign some meaningless name to your file. However, when you decrypt it, the original name (the name that file had before encryption) would be restored.
By default, EncryptOnClick will delete the original file after the encryption process is complete. If you do not want to delete the original file, you can check the option “Do not delete the file after encrypting”.
The procedure of encrypting the folders is exactly the same as files. The only difference is, when you open the program window, just select the option of “folder” instead of “file” in order to encrypt a folder.
The encrypted file or folder is created in the same location as the original file or folder.
Decrypting files and folders using EncryptOnClick
The process of decryption is like the reverse to the process of encryption. Using the following steps, you can decrypt the files or folders you want
- Select the decrypt option in the program window and select the file you want to decrypt.
- Enter the password that was chosen while encrypting the file. You can select the option of not deleting the files after decryption by checking the Do not delete the file after decrypting the box. The default setting is to delete the files after decryption in EncryptOncClick. By checking this box, you will enable that, and you can keep the file saved after decrypting
- Click OK and start decrypting the files
- You can also easily decrypt the file by double-clicking on it in Windows File Explorer and entering the password.
The process of decryption of the folder is the same as a file.
The decrypted file is generated in the same location where the encrypted file is placed.
EncryptOnClick also comes with a portable option. So you can keep the executable on a network location or on a USB drive and use it wherever you want. The only limitation of EncryptOnClick is that you need this software whenever you want to decrypt your data.
Just copy the files EncryptOnClick.exe, EncryptOnClick.exe.manifest, and XceedZip.dll to your USB drive or network drive and the software will run from anywhere.
The dangers of encryption
Encryption is a good way to keep your data protected, but still, it has disadvantages. You should keep these points in mind whenever you are encrypting your sensitive data.
- While encryption means you are totally relying on your password, there is rarely a back-up. In case you forget your password, there is no recovery of the data that has been locked
- Data corruption can also result in the total loss of your data if that particular data is encrypted. And that is irrecoverable
- Encryption may be safe, but it doesn’t guarantee 100% security of your data.
- Regular update of encryption software is required, making it expensive and high maintenance for users.
- In case of emergency, the data cannot be accessed or understood by anyone else but you.
Every protection software has its pros and cons. But it always better to have extra layers of security for your data in order to protect them from being misused and protect them against ransomware threats. Do you use encryption for your data? Which software do you prefer?