Tag Archives: folder guard

Use Folder Guard to restrict access to Control Panel

Password-protect and hide personal files and folders with Folder Guard for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
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You can use Folder Guard to not only protect access to files and folders, but also to the command of Windows Control Panel.

It may be not obvious, but the commands that appear in Windows Control Panel are handled by the special system files of the type "Control Panel extension" (their names have the extension .CPL) located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. For example, the DESK.CPL file is responsible for the Display command of Control Panel, TIMEDATE.CPL – for the Date and Time command, and so on. (Some of the .CPL files are responsible for more than one command of Control Panel).

This information gives us a method of restricting access to the commands of Control Panel with Folder Guard: we simply need to restrict access to the appropriate .CPL file with Folder Guard, that would make Windows unable to use that file, and it would effectively prevent access to the appropriate command of Control Panel.

Note, however, that not all Control Panel commands use the CPL files. This is especially true for the latest versions of Windows such as Windows 10. So the method described below will not work for such newer Control Panel commands.

Here is the list of the common .CPL files and the Control Panel commands each of the files is responsible for:

.CPL fileControl Panel command(s)
ACCESS.CPLAccessibility Options
APPWIZ.CPLAdd/Remove Programs
DESK.CPLDisplay
FIREWALL.CPLWindows firewall
HDWWIZ.CPLAdd/Remove Hardware
INETCPL.CPLInternet settings, user accounts on Windows 95,98,Me
INFRARED.CPLInfrared
INTL.CPLRegional settings
JOY.CPLGame Controllers
MAIN.CPLFonts, Keyboard, Mouse, PC Card (PCMCIA), Printers
MMSYS.CPLSounds
MODEM.CPLModems
NCPA.CLPNetwork connections
NETCPL.CPLNetwork settings
NUSRMGR.CPLUser manager on Windows XP
ODBCCP32.CPLODBC Data Source Administrator
PASSWORD.CPLPasswords
POWERCFG.CPLPower Management
SYSDM.CPLSystem
TELEPHON.CPLTelephony
THEMES.CPLDesktop Themes
TIMEDATE.CPLDate/Time

(You may have other CPL files, or not all of the files listed above, depending on your version of Windows and other software installed on your computer).

How to use this list? Very simple:

Find the command of Control Panel in the table that you want to restrict with Folder Guard.

Determine the name of the .CPL file that is responsible for that command.

Run Folder Guard, switch to the Folders view, right-click on the folder tree, and choose Add file to folder tree from the menu:

Navigate to the C:\Windows\System32 folder and add the desired .CPL file(s) to the main window of Folder Guard.

Now assign the No access attribute to the .CPL file you want to protect:

Finally, apply the changes, and observe the effect: the command that you have restricted may still be visible in Control Panel, but when you attempt to use it, nothing should happen, the command should not work.

Please feel free to download the fully functional evaluation version and give it a try. If you don’t like it, use Windows Control Panel to uninstall it: no strings attached.

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Compare MySecretFolder and Folder Guard

Password-protect and hide personal files and folders with Folder Guard for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
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  • MySecretFolder has a simple and straightforward user interface, which you may find much easier to use than that of Folder Guard. On the other hand, Folder Guard offers more protection options, giving you more flexibility in protecting your computer resources.
  • MySecretFolder can protect only one folder at any given time, while Folder Guard lets you protect any number of files and folders at the same time.
  • MySecretFolder simply hides the secret folder, while Folder Guard lets you fine-tune the access rights to the folder (for example, make it read-only or prevent all access to it, make the folder itself hidden or only its contents, etc.)
  • MySecretFolder protects the folder in the same way for all users of your computer, while Folder Guard lets you set up the protection so that any particular folder may be protected from some users and accessible to others.
  • There are many other important features offered by Folder Guard but not supported by MySecretFolder, such as user permissions, trusted modules, file filters, and more.

More information about Folder Guard

More information about MySecretFolder

Please feel free to download the fully functional evaluation version and give it a try. If you don’t like it, use Windows Control Panel to uninstall it, no strings attached.

Hide folders with Folder Guard

Folder Guard makes it easy to protect folders with passwords. However, what if you want to hide a folder completely, to make it invisible for other users of your computer?

It’s just as easy to hide a folder with Folder Guard, too. One way is to use the Wizard: first, switch to the Restricted view of the Folder Guard program, and click the Restrict another file or folder link:

That should start the Wizard, and when its Visibility restrictions page is displayed, select the Hidden option:

Another method of hiding a folder is with the Folders view of Folder Guard window: select the folder you want to hide in the folder tree and assign the Hidden attribute to it using the right-click menu:

Now apply the changes and resume the protection, if necessary, and try to locate the folder with Explorer or another program: the folder should not be visible in the regular file listings! When you pause the protection the folder should become instantly visible. (You may need to press the F5 key within the Windows Explorer window, to make it refresh the list of folders it shows).

Password-protect and hide personal files and folders with Folder Guard for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
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Note that you do NOT need run the main program of Folder Guard to pause or resume the protection: you have several other tools available:

  • You can pause or resume the protection at any time by running Folder Guard using its Desktop shortcut or Windows Start menu.
  • You may want to set up a hot key to give yourself quick access to the Pause/Resume Protection command by pressing a key combination of your choice.
  • You can also enable the option to display a Folder Guard icon on Windows taskbar next to the clock, and click on that icon to get access to the Resume/Pause Protection command:

And more! Please feel free to download the fully functional evaluation version and give it a try. If you don’t like it, use Windows Control Panel to uninstall it: no strings attached.

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Lock folders and drives with passwords

Password-Protect Folders

If you want to protect folders with passwords without encrypting the files, then Folder Guard is the tool you need. The password protection is instantaneous, no matter how many files the folder contains or how large the files are. However, the password protection takes effect only on your computer, where Folder Guard is running: if you move the folder to another computer, it will not be protected, unless that computer has Folder Guard installed and configured, as well. Read more about Folder Guard...

Encrypt external USB drives

If you have an external drive that you want to protect with a password, then USBCrypt is the software you need. This software creates an encrypted area on the external drive that you can use to keep your sensitive files. You can use the encrypted drive with other computers, that don't have USBCrypt software installed. If you lose the encrypted drive, your files will be safely protected with the password you've chosen. Read more about USBCrypt...

How to password-protect a folder with Folder Guard

You can use Folder Guard software to protect folders with passwords.

To lock a folder with a password: run Folder Guard and drag and drop the folder you want to protect to its window, or click the Lock another folder with a password link:

Use Folder Guard to protect folders with passwords

Select the folder to protect, enter the desired password, adjust the password properties, as needed:

Properties for the folder password

You can specify that the password may be used only by the local users, or by the network users, or both. You can choose the password to unlock a full access to the folder, or give the user the read-only access. (You can create several different passwords for the same folder, giving different access types to the users.)

Now apply the changes and try to open the folder you have just protected. Navigate to the protected folder, and you should see an empty window with the Unlock button in the middle:

The Unlock button lets you unlock the password-protected folder

Click the Unlock button, and prompt for the password should appear:

To open a password protected folder you must enter your password first

If you have entered the correct password, the folder should become unprotected and you should be able to work with the files and subfolders it contains without restrictions, as usual. However, if you don't enter the correct password, the folder will remain protected.

(Note that in order to unlock the folder this way, you need to double-click on the folder in the right-hand panel of the Windows Explorer window. If you select the folder in the left-hand panel that shows the folder tree, the password prompt will not be shown and the Access denied message will be shown instead.)

Now, after you have unlocked the folder, try to close the Windows Explorer window, and you should see a prompt to lock the folder back:

You are prompted to lock the folder when closing the Windows Explorer window

Reply Yes, and the folder will be locked back with the password again, and will remain inaccessible until you enter the correct password again.

In addition to the basic password-protection described above, Folder Guard lets you customize the way it works to suit your specific requirements:

Encrypt and password-protect external drives with USBCrypt software for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
User rating: 4.7/5
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  • You can direct Folder Guard to add the Lock and Unlock commands to the Windows shortcut menu. You can use them to lock and unlock the password-protected folders by right-clicking on them, instead of (or in addition to) double-clicking on the folders as described above.
  • If you have locked many folders with passwords, you can make them all accessible at once by running Folder Guard and pausing the protection (you will need to enter your Master password, or course!) When you are done working with the protected folders, run Folder Guard and choose to resume the protection, to lock all folders at once with one click.
  • Instead of locking files and folders with passwords, your can completely hide them!

And more! Please feel free to download the fully functional evaluation version and give it a try. If you don't like it, use Windows Control Panel to uninstall it: no strings attached.

User's Guide | Download | Purchase

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Locking access to the external drives with Folder Guard

Password-protect and hide personal files and folders with Folder Guard for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
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Previously we’ve shown how easy it was to set up Folder Guard to prevent downloads of programs from the Internet. As a side effect, the filter that accomplished that task prevented running programs from the removable drives, as well. However, what if you want to stop users of your computer from using the external drives at all? For example, what if you don’t want them to copy documents and files from the computer to the removable drives they could bring with them? With Folder Guard, it’s easy to achieve that.

As before, let’s start by creating a file access filter that would restrict the use of the removable drives. Run Folder Guard, and choose View – Filters from the menu to switch to the window that shows the existing filters. If you use one of the latest version of Folder Guard, you should see a filter that we need already in the list, it’s called Lock external drives:

If you don’t see this filter in the list, it’s easy to create it: choose Filter – New from the menu, and then enter the properties of the filters as follows:

The most important part of this filter is the content of the Except folders box: it contains the mask C:*;\\*;*:\RECYCLE.BIN . Why it is there? Because we don’t want the restrictions that this filter would create to apply to the files located on the main drive of your computer (which is most probably the drive C:). We only want the restrictions to apply to other drives, which would have drive letters other than C:. The star character (*) in the mask means any set of characters, so the mask C:* would match any folder located on the C: drive. As a result, the filter would not apply to any file or folder on the C: drive, just what we want.

We also don’t want the filter to apply to the network files. Since the paths of such files usually start with the double-backslash, we use the mask \\* to specify such paths.

Finally, we’ve added the mask *:\RECYCLE.BIN to the Except forders box. It is necessary to prevent the filter from applying to the files located in the Recycle Bin folders. Without such a mask, Windows would be denied access to Recycle Bin, and it would cause it to display messages about it being corrupted.

Encrypt and password-protect external drives with USBCrypt software for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
User rating: 4.7/5
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Now, if your computer has other drives permanently attached and you want the users to be able to use such drives without restrictions, you should add the appropriate masks to the Except for folders box, too. (You can separate masks with comas, semicolons, or line breaks). For example, if your computer has a DVD drive that has the drive letter D: and you want the users to use the DVD drive without restrictions, modify the content of the Except folders box to read as follows: (Press the […] button to modify the content of the box.)

C:*;D:*;\\*;*:\RECYCLE.BIN

The rest of the filter properties can be left empty. An empty Apply to box means Apply to all and an empty Except for box means Except for none. We have entered a star character in the Apply to files box, to emphasize that it should apply to all files, but we could have left the box empty, it would produce the same result as the star character.

Now that we have created the filter that we need, it’s time to apply a restricting attribute to it. We basically have two choices: the No access attribute and the Read-only one. Which one to assign to the filter depends on how exactly you want the external devices to be restricted. If you want to completely lock access to the removable drives, assign the No access attribute to the filter:

The result of the No access attribute would be that the users would be prevented from both opening the files from the external devices, and saving the files to them. If you only want to stop users from saving files to the removable drives, but allow them to open or copy files from them, than the Read-only attribute would do the job:

What if at some point you do need to access a removable drive? Just pause the protection of Folder Guard, perform the task, then resume the protection back (no Windows restart required).

Happy computing!

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Folder Guard updated to version 8.3.1

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Personal license $49.95 $39.95
Business license $99.95 $79.95
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This is a minor update to Folder Guard that corrects an issue that could cause the mapped network drives not to be protected as expected on the Windows 7/Vista computers in some situations.

If you have not experienced a problem protecting the mapped network drives with Folder Guard, you may want to skip this update. Otherwise, download it from our web site and install over the previous version.

Happy folder-guarding!

Folder Guard 8.3 released

What’s new in Folder Guard version 8.3:

  • An option to enable protection in the safe mode of Windows. (Previously, this could only be enabled manually).
  • User-specific restrictions for the domain users.
  • Several new filters to allow you to lock all applications, or lock your MP3 collection, or restrict access to any removable drive someone might attach to your computer.
  • Several other minor improvements and corrections.

If this sounds like something you were waiting for, give the new version a try. (It’s free for the first 30 days!)

More information about Folder Guard…

How to make elevated programs recognize network drives

Take control of your files and folders with AB Commander file manager for Windows 10,8,7,Vista, and XP.
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One of the useful tools that Windows offers is the ability to assign drive letters to the network locations. You can use the Map Network Drive command of Windows Explorer or AB Commander to create the network drives. After a network drive has been created, you can use it just like any other drive: browse its contents, copy file to or from it, and so on.

A problem may occur, however, if you use Windows Vista or Windows 7 and need to access the network drive from an application that runs elevated (a.k.a. as administrator). For example, when you run AB Commander as usual, it runs as the standard user, and displays any network drive that you might have created, for example:

AB Commander shows a network drive in the Computer folder
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However, unlike Windows Explorer that always runs as a standard user, AB Commander offers you an option to run it as administrator. (You can do it by using the Restart as Administrator command on the Tools menu.) If you restart AB Commander as administrator, you might be surprised to see no network drive in its window:

Why is the network drive missing?
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(You can recognize that AB Commander is running as administrator by the presence of the Administrator label in its title bar).

To understand why the network drive is not visible to the programs running as administrator, we have to consider how Windows handles the standard and administrator user access internally. In simple terms, when UAC (User Account Control) is enabled, Windows creates a split personality for your user account: one with the standard user’s access rights to do the the regular tasks, and another one with the full administrative access to the system. When you log in to the computer, Windows tries hard to create the impression that these two personalities are the same: they share the login name and password, the desktop and documents, settings and preferences, and so on. However, when it comes to mapping the network drives, Windows prefers to treat them as separate accounts (for security reasons). That’s why the network drives created when you wear the hat of the standard user do not automatically become available when you put the administrator’s hat on. This Microsoft article explains it all in detail.

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Such behavior is rather counter-productive: after all, the administrator account is supposed have more access to the system, it’s supposed to be able to see and do all things that are available to the standard user, plus some more. Why can’t it see the network drive created by the standard user?

In any case, there is a way to force Windows to make the network drives available to both the standard and administrator accounts automatically. All you need to do is run Registry Editor (regedit.exe), locate the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Policies/System

and create a new DWORD entry with the name EnableLinkedConnections and value 1:

The value EnableLinkedConnections in the registry
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Caution: If you are not very experienced with Registry Editor, please be extra careful: it’s a powerful tool that can do a lot of damage to your system if used carelessly.

After you’ve added the EnableLinkedConnections value to the Registry, restart the computer, and after that the network drives you create should become available to the elevated applications, as well.

Happy networking!

Update for Windows 8

It appears that the EnableLinkedConnections setting is not always working correctly on Windows 8: if a standard user has created a mapped network drive pointing to a subfolder of a shared folder (for example, drive Z: connected to //server/share/subfolder), then the elevated user will see the drive Z:, but it will be pointing to the root share, //server/share/, not to the subfolder.

Take control of your files and folders with AB Commander file manager for Windows 10,8,7,Vista, and XP.
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If this error creates a problem for you, then it’s better not to use the EnableLinkedConnections registry fix at all. Instead, just create the mapped network drive twice: first time using a standard user’s account, and the second time using an administrator account. Sure, it’s twice the work, but it should work correctly in all situations.

Good luck!

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