Encrypting Files using WinZip    

Documents, spreadsheets, databases, and other files that contain personal information or other sensitive information should be encrypted when saved on hard drives, CDs, Floppies, USB drives, and other non-central media. 


One of the easiest ways to do this on a Sinclair Imaged PC is to use the WinZip application. WinZip can compress single files, multiple files, and entire folders as archives.


NOTE: Encrypting files with WinZip requires that you have WinZip version 9 installed on your PC. Instructions for installing WinZip 9 and for encrypting files with WinZip are below.


NOTE: While WinZip works well for many users, some people have experienced problems when transmitting WinZip encrypted files to off-campus users. An alternative free software encryption program, that is compatible with most computer systems, is AxCrypt. Go to Using AxCrypt to Encrypt Files for additional information.

Installing WinZip 9:
  1. Double-click on the My Computer icon on your PC's Desktop.
  1. Double-click on the Winapps on 'willow' (G): icon.
  1. Double-click on the WinZip 9 SR-1 folder.
  1. Double-click on the SETUP.exe file.
  1. The installation setup window will open.

    Click on Next.
  1. Click Next.
  1. Click Yes to accept the license agreement.
  1. Click Next.
  1. Choose Start with WinZip Classic.

    Then click on Next.
  1. Choose Express setup.

    Click on Next.
  1. Click on Finish.
To create a new encrypted archive:
  1. Open the WinZip application from your Start>All Programs>WinZip menus
  1. When the application opens, select New.
  1. In the Save in dialogue box, browse to the folder or disk where you want to create the new archive, then type a name for the archive in the File name dialogue box. 

    In this example, the archive is named WinZipEncryptionTest, and is stored in the folder WinZip_Encryption_Files.

    Then click OK.
  1. The Add window should appear after you click OK.  This is where you select the file or files that need to be encrypted.

    NOTE: If a single file needs to be encrypted, simply select it and click OK.

    multiple files need to be encrypted, hold down the Ctrl key as you select each with your mouse.

    If a range of files need to be encrypted, click the first file in the range, then hold the Shift key and click on the last file in the range.



  1. Make sure the Encrypt added files checkbox is checked, then click Add.
  1. A WinZip Caution warning pops-up if this is the first time you have used WinZip to encrypt a file. 

    If you do not want to be warned each time you encrypt a file, check the box next to“Do not display this dialogue box in the future.” 

    Click OK to close the box.
  1. Next, select the encryption method to use and create the password required to decrypt the archive.

    For most purposes, 256-Bit AES encryption should be selected. 

    The password is a critical part of this process, the stronger the password, the better protected the archive. 

    The longer and more complex the password is, the greater the protection.

    As a minimum, select a password at least 8 characters long that contains upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.

    Click OK.
  1. NOTE: The final step is to ensure the original files (added to the encrypted archive) are properly protected or deleted.

    If the files are on a network storage device such as your “H-drive” or a department shared folder, the files may be left unencrypted. Security of network storage devices is managed by ITS.

    If the original files are on a PC hard drive, portable device, or removable media such as CD, DVD, or USB drive, the unencrypted files should be deleted. 


Use Windows Explorer to delete the original files.

Sending encrypted files:

If you need to send or the encrypted file to someone else, do not send the password with the file. Instead, transmit the password separately using another communication method. Examples include:

  • If emailing the file, use phone to transmit the password.
  • If mailing the file via CD, use phone to send the password.

Since this encryption is based solely on the password, including the password with the file completely defeats the security the encryption provides.

For questions or additional information, contact the IT Help Desk at 937-512-HELP (4357) or at helpdesk@sinclair.edu.