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[Windows] Hide and protect files and folders with IObit Protected Folder

iobit_protected_folder [1]When it comes to protecting important files, there are two trusted methods — encryption and steganography. As it so happens to be, dotTech has a review on the best free encryption software for Windows [2] and the best free steganography software for Windows [3]. However, if you don’t want to use encryption or steganography, there is another way to protect your files: folder and file locking. dotTech also has a review on the best free file and folder lockers for Windows [4], but if you don’t like any of the ones we selected, maybe IObit Protected Folder is more of your taste. Let’s see if it is worth your time.

What Is It and What Does It Do

Main Functionality

IObit Protected Folder allows you to hide files/folders and deny read/write access to them. Once files/folders are protected by IObit Protected Folder, the password — which you set when you first run the program — is required to unprotected them. (Make sure to not forget this password, because it is not recoverable.)

Pros

Cons

Conclusion and Download Link

IObit generally makes quality products. IObit Protected Folder is the exception to the rule. The biggest issue is not working in Safe Mode, which means you cannot use IObit Protected Folder to protect any important files/folders since anyone can access those files/folders by simply booting into Safe Mode. Plus, I don’t like how IObit Protected Folder uses an yearly subscription model for this program.

I’m not going to bash IObit too much for using the yearly subscription model for IObit Protected Folder since they are one of the pioneers when it comes to offering freeware software + shareware upgrades; in other words, they offer plenty of freeware so using an overly aggressive subscription model for their shareware is semi-understandable. However, them offering lots of freeware does not mean you should give them $20 bucks a year to use IObit Protected Folder.

You are more than welcome to get IObit Protected Folders if you like, but I don’t recommend it. My recommendation is, if you have important files and folders you want to protect, you should consider using encryption [2] and/or steganography [3]. Why? Frankly because file/folder hiding/protecting is rarely, if ever, a secure method to protect files or folders. For example, most file hiders/protectors don’t work in Safe Mode just like IObit Protected Folder. So I recommend you pick one of the programs listed in our reviews on best free encryption software [2] and best free steganography software [3] to help keep your files safe. If, however, if you insist on using a file/folder hider/protector, read our review on best free file/folder hider/protector [4] to learn of free file and folder protectors for which you don’t have to pay $19.95 a year to use.

Price: $19.95 per year

Version reviewed: 1.2

Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8

Download size: 3.5 MB

VirusTotal malware scan results:

Is it portable? No

IObit Protected Folder homepage [5]