Thank you for your question! I'm glad you asked about encrypting
files/folders because I have been using Encrypted Magic Folders for
many years now and I am more than happy with it.
You can find it on the PC Magic Software site :
Or from the ZDNet Downloads site :
These reviewers seem to agree with me that you can't go wrong with
this software :
TUCOWS File Encryption Encrypted Magic Folders
" Encrypted Magic Folders is a file-encryption program that selects
the folders you want encrypted.
EMF not only makes folders and files completely invisible to others,
but it also decrypts and encrypts the files automatically and
transparently - as you use them.
You won't even know you are using encrypted files!
Protect client information, your finances, taxes, business and
personal documents. Let your children or co-workers use your computer
without worrying if they'll delete, modify or view important files.
The only dilemna this program has is its Interface, but it's an
excellent program to have around to keep your files private. You won't
have to worry about flaws in the program. It has earned its cow
Encrypted Magic Folders Software Review, NetAction's Guide to
Encrypted Magic Folders
By PC Magic
- Encrypts and hides folders.
- Uses a proprietary encryption system.
- User-friendly interface; user logs in to enable folder access and
show folders and logs out to disable folder access and hide folders.
- Provides up to 5 separate user accounts, so each user has a set of
folders only he or she can access.
- Automatically generates an emergency password that can be used to
recover encrypted data if your designated password is lost or the
password data is corrupted.
- Useful for maintaining private files on your own computer but cannot
be used to send or receive and decode encrypted files.
- I found EMF straightforward and intuitive. Both program installation
and daily use were easy. One drawback is that clicking the taskbar
icon hides all your protected folders by default, so I frequently hid
my folders by accident. You can disable that feature. Another drawback
is that the program uses proprietary algorithms that have not been
thoroughly cryptanalyzed and may not be strong enough to stave off
serious cracker attacks.
- Before installing, EMF briefly described what the program does:
protected folders and the files inside cannot be read, run, deleted,
copied, or even seen.
- EMF then prompted me for an administrative password. (Once the
administrative account is set up, it is the only account that can
uninstall the program and/or create new accounts.) First, EMF asked me
to set up a hotkey, or a keyboard shortcut that switches between
visible and hidden folders. Many computer users avoid keyboard
shortcuts, but if you find yourself doing a task several times a day,
striking a few keys may be more convenient than clicking through
several menus. The default hotkey is CTRL-ALT-A, but you can change
- After setting up the hotkey, EMF gave me an emergency recovery
password, which is a long series of numbers formatted like a credit
card number. You can use the emergency password if you lose your
designated password or the password data is corrupted. The emergency
password enables you to access your protected files and/or uninstall
How It Works:
- EMF's basic features were very easy to use. You see a list of your
unprotected folders in a tree hierarchy in one pane, and your list of
protected folders in another. You drag folders from the tree hierarchy
pane to the protected folders pane to add them to the "protected"
list, and drag them out of the protected folders pane to remove them
from the list. When you're done choosing folders to protect, you can
either "Exit with Magic Folders Visible" or "Exit with Magic Folders
- If you exit with Magic Folders Visible, you are still logged in to
EMF. You can still see your protected folders and the files in them.
If you want to access a file in a protected folder, EMF will
automatically decrypt the file. If you save a file to a protected
folder, EMF will automatically encrypt it. You can treat your
protected folders as if they weren't encrypted. You can easily make
the protected folder invisible by clicking a button that EMF puts on
your taskbar, but I found that irritating as I often hit the taskbar
button by accident. You can disable the taskbar button and use other
means, like the EMF menu or a hotkey.
- If you exit with Magic Folders Invisible, all protected folders are
invisible and their contents remain encrypted.
- I ran some quick checks to see if mildly computer-savvy users could
bypass EMF's folder-hiding system. Encrypted files were still
invisible after I told Windows to show hidden files. I restarted the
computer to make sure EMF was no longer running even in the
background, but the folders remained invisible until I opened the EMF
program and logged in. EMF had passed the test: I couldn't find the
folders until I had logged into EMF.
- Also, the EMF interface deviates from the normal Windows user
interface standards. If you're used to the Windows interface, it's a
little confusing. For example, clicking a taskbar item usually brings
up a window that was minimized or obscured by other windows. In
contrast, clicking the EMF icon in the taskbar hides folders. In the
typical Windows interface, this function would require you to
double-click a system tray icon or select the item from a menu. In
addition to confusion, the atypical interface can lead to frustration
because taskbar items take up a good portion of screen real estate and
are easy to click by accident. I was very glad EMF included hotkeys
for making folders visible, because otherwise I would have had to
launch the program several times a day to undo folders hidden by
accidental keystrokes. Another difference is that EMF doesn't make an
entry into your Add/Remove Programs list. In order to uninstall the
program, you must log in to EMF with the administrative password and
select Uninstall from the Configure menu. In this one case, I applaud
the oddity because it ensures that only you may uninstall the program.
A1 Yippee - Windows - Utilities - Encryption and Decryption -
Encrypted Magic Folders
This program is a must have if you are concerned about your computer
security on a laptop or in the office environment. Encrypted Magic
Folders comes with excellent documentation and a thorough explanation
of what the program is doing to your data. The setup program is
excellent and, from then on, the program runs pretty much
transparently, encrypting and decrypting your files when you need
access to them. The interface is simple and intuitive, although
because of the technical nature of the software we recommend only
experienced computer users try this software. This is a must have
program for those targeted, and certainly the best in its class."
One major benefit for you is that since you can make your files or
folders invisible, someone snooping on your PC will not even know what
to look for. You can also hide Encrypted Magic Folders by removing all
application shortcuts to it, and naming its application folder to
something that is not as obvious. Or, you can assign a hotkey to it
(Ctrl-Alt-G for instance).
I've found this software effective, reliable, secure, and fail-safe.
Even through the worst crash scenarios, my data has never become
corrupted. In any case, there is a "key disk" you can create to
recover your data if you should need it.
The only downside may be its proprietary encryption, which is not
industrial-strength, but then again, the whole purpose is to hide your
data, and if someone doesn't know it's there, that's the best kind of
I haven't had any problems with this software, and very highly
Hope that answers your question. Feel free to ask for a Request For
Clarification if you need further information, and I would be more
than happy to conduct further research for you. Thank you for using
Clarification of Answer by
08 Nov 2002 11:51 PST
Hi again cheaptrinkets-ga,
I have located the following two Windows XP security programs for you
TUCOWS File Encryption Privacy Master
Privacy Master 3.9
Date: November 1st, 2002 License: Shareware
Size: 1.4MB Rating:
Cost: $39.95 Evaluation: 30 day
This program creates a safe haven within your computer where
everything you choose is encrypted and hidden from prying eyes. It has
128-bit encryption combined with a unique session-based program style
provide the tools you need to secure your privacy online and off.
Because the program secures files where you normally keep them, there
is no need to hassle with copying or reorganizing files. "
Download available for Windows XP
Tucows rating : 5 stars
I have downloaded and installed this program. It is packed with
features and you can determine the level of "invisibility" of the
program. Designating protected files or folders is as simple as
dragging and dropping them into its window. This is a very impressive
program and you will very happy with what it can do.
You will also be interested in its "anti-hacker" features, including
the deletion of protected files as you requested earlier. Have a look
at an excerpt from the Help file :
Setting Anti-Hacker Actions
You may choose to:
- Set the speaker volume to full, then play one of your choice of 5
Alarm Tones - Once activated, the alarm will sound continuously until
the correct password is entered!!
- Lock out all keyboard and mouse controls so that the computer cannot
be accessed for a length of time you specify - The default setting is
to lockout all keyboard and mouse control for 30 seconds. This time
value can be changed to a higher or lower value, and the unit of time
option expressed in seconds, minutes or hours can be changed by
clicking on the button labeled "Seconds". Each click cycles the value
from seconds to minutes to hours to seconds again.
- Permanently erase any of my secured folders and files that have the
'HOT' security attribute selected.
- Permanently erase all of my secured Internet Addresses (favorites),
History List entries and Cookies from my web browser.
ZDNet Downloads - Download Folder Lock 4.2 here
From the developer: "Folder Lock is a fast file locking plus hiding
software that can password protect your personal files and folders in
a second even if GBs of data is to be locked. It is very useful to
keep your sensitive files away from others. It makes your files
unaccessible and undeletable. It alows you to drag-and-drop any file
or folder in its Locker folder for one click locking convenience. It
is fast, very easy to use and very secure with its 3 layer locking
protection. It does not load any file at startup like other encrypting
tools making it, one of its kind.
"Folder Lock is unique because it takes little time to lock your files
unlike other file security programs and you're not required to run any
executable at startup saving you a lot of memory. Files and folders
locked with Folder Lock are unaccessible in windows explorer as well
as DOS mode. Even booting your computer to another operating system
doesn't show up your files. In addition to locking your files, it also
hides it, making your files unrenamable, unreadable, undeletable and
virus protected. Version 4.2 includes new features like skin
customization, master key, drag-and-drop one click locking and 3 layer
Download available for Windows XP
Google Search Terms :
hide encrypt files folders xp
Other search listings :
TUCOWS File Encryption
ZDNet Australia Downloads PC
I hope this is the program you are looking for. Let me know if you
still need help.
Clarification of Answer by
10 Nov 2002 12:42 PST
I can appreciate your concerns over the security of data on your PC. I
am a web developer and am not too far off when it comes to the issue
of computing security. I'll admit that I made the mistake of not
asking you earlier what operating system you were on, but I thought I
had found you the perfect solution for your stated requirements
(including Win XP compatibility) with the Privacy Master software. As
per your requirements this software has the "self-destruct" feature
for your protected files.
I understand your concerns. What you need to realize is that NOTHING
can stop a determined and skilled hacker, and neither I or my fellow
researchers will be able to guarantee a 100% secure PC for you. What I
can guarantee, though, is to find you the best solution to your stated
problem, and if I had misunderstood your question, then you have my
committment to follow through until you find a solution.
From my technology experience, a good antivirus that is frequently
updated will be able to take care of trojans, including keystroke
capture programs that secretly get onto your system. You are right,
"bye bye to the software" I listed, in that case. Once keyloggers
capture your password, you can be sure that a hacker will have access
to everything and anything you have protected. As such, there is NO
software I can recommend you that will protect you from this specific
threat. All I can recommend is a good antivirus, although this was not
part of your original question.
Or your computer is stolen. Again, a determined and skilled hacker (or
say, the Feds) will have no problem cracking your encryption. It is
just a matter of time and money. So for all practical reasons, it
doesn't matter what strength or type of encryption you have. Although,
in this case 128-bit encryption is a much bigger deterrent than, say,
56-bit. And if it's proprietary encryption, so much the better,
because it's not a common standard.
I'll admit I'm not an expert in PC security or encryption. But I know
enough to make you a recommendation that I would use myself, in full
confidence. And from experience and the research I had conducted, this
is my best recommendation. If you are unhappy with it, please feel
free to request a refund. Otherwise, if there is anything specific
that I can address, please let me know and I would still be more than
happy to help you out.