7-Zip requires no introduction. It’s one of the best archive software out there for Windows. The open source software supports unpacking popular formats such as ZIP, 7Z, ISO, RAR, VDI, VHD, WIM and more. PC users often use 7-Zip to extract files downloaded from the internet. In addition to unpacking files and creating ZIP or 7Z files, the 7-Zip software can also be used to encrypt files and folders using the strong AES-256 encryption. 7-Zip supports AES-256 encryption in 7z and ZIP formats, allowing you to create password protected zip or 7z files using the AES-256 encryption method. If you want to password protect your data without using any expensive software, you can use 7-Zip to encrypt files and folders in Windows 10. For instance, you can encrypt all files and folders on your USB drive quickly. When you use 7-Zip to encrypt your data, 7-Zip creates a ZIP or 7Z file containing your valuable data. To open the files in the encrypted ZIP or 7Z file, you will have to enter the password. Use 7-Zip to encrypt files and folders in Windows 10 In this guide, we will show you how to use 7-Zip to encrypt files and folders in Windows 10 and earlier versions with ease. Step 1: First of all, download and install 7-Zip if it’s not already installed on your PC. You can get the 7-Zip from this official page. Step 2: Navigate to the folder containing files and folders that you want to encrypt. Select the files and folders that you want to encrypt, perform a right-click on them, click 7-Zip, and then click Add to archive option. Step 3: At the Add to Archive dialog, enter a name for the encrypted file, and click the browse button (three dots button) to choose a location to save the encrypted file. Step 4: Select the Archive Format as zip or 7z. In the Encryption section, select Encryption method as AES-256 instead of the default ZipCrypto. Step 5: Finally, in the Enter password field, type your password that you want to use to encrypt your data. Reenter the password to confirm the password. We suggest you use a password with at least one number, at least one upper case letter, one lower case letter, and special characters to make the password strong. Click OK button to create your encrypted ZIP or 7z file. Depending on the number of files, folders, data size, and your PC’s configuration, 7-Zip might take minutes to hours to complete the job. You may delete files and folders that you have packed into an encrypted ZIP or 7z file if you wish to do so. You can also use WinRAR program to password protect files and folders.