Folder Lock 7 – Review

very good
key review info
application features
  • Lock files from view
  • (5 more, see all...)

We live interesting times, when security breaches and leaks of sensitive information make the news headlines at least a few times a week. Whether we like it or not, protecting important data has become a requirement for the average user, too.

The tools for carrying out this sort of task are no longer reserved for the more knowledgeable, as their usability increased in the past years and even a beginner user can easily handle them.

Folder Lock is not new on the market and its purpose has always been to provide a simple and secure way to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive files.

The application is available for $39.95 / €29.95 and you can try it free of charge, although there are some usage limitations. However, apart from the time and restricted number of tries, functionality is not heavily crippled and you should be able to test properly.

Installation is fast but be prepared to restart the computer in order to complete the process.

The main application window is well-organized, with an easy to navigate menu running down on the left-hand side and access to some extra tools and the configuration available in the upper part of the screen.

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At the first launch of the program you are asked to set a master password of at least six characters that controls access to its entire functionality.

Although the most prominent function of the product is to lock files and folders and protect them from prying eyes, there are other features that recommend it, such as data storage in encrypted vaults, file backup in the cloud (subscription-based service), a wallet to store important personal or business data (bank accounts, credit card info, passport details, etc.) or create self-executable data safes that can be carried on removable storage devices.

Locking some files on the disk does not take long to complete. You can just drag and drop them in the interface and enable the “lock” function. In just moments, their status will be changed to “locked” and they will no longer be available for access on the disk.

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They vanish completely from sight and there is little chance of getting through to them without using Folder Lock, since finding invisible data is not that easy, regardless of the computer skills.

According to the developer, locking up the data relies on kernel-level filtering and it does not turn visible even when booting the system in Safe Mode, which we also noticed during our tests.

However, booting with another operating system (we used a Linux-based one) does reveal the entire lot, which is to be expected in such applications because they are subjected to the rules in Windows.

If making the files invisible is not satisfactory and more protection is required, Folder Lock supports creating encrypted vaults where data can be safely stored. It uses 256-bit AES encryption for the task, and the decryption is done in the memory for fast processing and to ensure that the data is not recoverable from the hard disk.

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A locker is just a secure file that holds the sensitive data inside, very much like an archive. As such, it can be deposited anywhere on the disk.

The containers are protected by a password which can be different from the main one and they can expand dynamically up to a user-defined size. Removing them from Folder Lock requires the password, but you can eliminate them without any hindrance using the delete function in the default file manager.

Making a vault self-extractable ensures that you can take the data with you on a removable storage device and access it without the need of Folder Locker.

The extra utilities bundled with the application allow secure deleting of sensitive details in order to dim the chances of recovering them through dedicate software solutions, and a junk file cleaner that targets temporary Windows files and the history for the Run menu, search, or recently used documents.

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As far as the configuration options are concerned, Folder Locker includes protective measures that can close the program or restart, log off, or shut down the system automatically after a specific time or if multiple unsuccessful password inputs are recorded.

Furthermore, the application can run in stealth mode, which covers its traces on the desktop and the start menu, Programs and Features section, or from Program Files folder.

Supplementary options include hiding the files it generates (lockers and wallets) to eliminate the temptation of a third party to delete them from disk. The feature works very well, as we could not find any traces except for the installation folder, which was empty when we checked inside.

Folder Lock is a cinch to work with. All the options are within easy reach and it does a great job at keeping the files away from prying eyes. There is extensive documentation for beginner users to rely on and learn the ropes in no time.

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The Good

The interface is well-organized and all the functions and options are intuitive enough for a beginner user to work with it with no trouble at all; the auto-protection options ensure the locking up of the program after a period of inactivity.

It comes with powerful protection for the files, both by hiding them from view as well as locking them in encrypted vaults. The option for making the lockers portable ensures access to the data even if the program is not installed on the system.

The Bad

The vaults containing the valuable information can be deleted from the hard disk just like any other regular file. Email attachment encryption results in creating a protected ZIP archive.

The Truth

Folder Lock does a great job at keeping your data safe. It works fast and it is versatile. However, there are free, very reliable solutions for some of the features it makes available, so the $39.95 / €29.95 price may make it less attractive for some users.
user interface 5
features 5
ease of use 5
pricing / value 3


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 

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