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Password Protect a folder on OSX


I recently discovered (with the help of a few online resources) a way to actually password protect a folder on osx. Normally one might think you can’t do this, because osx only gives you the option to allow/dis-allow different accounts from accessing a folder.

But, with a pinch of wizardry (HA! You thought I forgot about that word!) you too can password protect a folder WITHOUT needing to make multiple accounts. Read on, dear reader, read on.

Okay, so the basic idea is that this is sort of a “pseudo” password protection, but it still protects with almost the same vigor. First, find the folder you want to protect, such as one containing naughty pictures sensitive financial documents.

Note: This is tested in OSX 10.5 Leopard. I’m not familiar with other versions of OSX, but I can’t imagine it would be that much different.

Next, right/control/two-finger click it so a menu pops up, and click “get info”. For example, say I want to password protect the folder of mine containing all my music lyrics. I’d click “get info” and this would pop up:

Anyways, you’re going to want to move down to the little padlock icon on the bottom-right. Click it and enter in your administrator password (this only works if you set up an admin password already). Now you can make changes to the list there.

Change everything to “write only (drop box)”, including your main account. Finally, click the checkbox titled “locked” and you should see the icon of the folder change to have a lock icon on the bottom left and a little “do not enter” looking sign on the bottom right. The settings should look like this:

And there you go. Now click the little padlock icon on the bottom right to re-lock the permissions settings so your password is needed in order to make changes. Then click the close button on that window and try to double click on the folder. OSX should give you a generic error message saying you don’t have enough privileges to open that folder. Now, if you want to get into it, what are you to do? You take a jackhammer and drill it open, of course!

But if you’d rather keep your computer’s monitor intact, there’s a much simpler way. Just click on “get info” again for that folder, uncheck “locked”, click the padlock icon, enter in your administrator password, and change the permission for your account (the one with your name) to “read and write”. Close out, do what you need to do in the folder, and redo the protecting process.

Again, it’s not “actual” password protection; that is, you aren’t able to just double click it, have a prompt come up where you can enter your password, and then open it. But you do still need to enter your password in order to access it; it just requires a few more steps.

Also note, that (according to my testing) you will still be able to open the files from a “recently opened” list in a program. For example, imagine you have word documents in a folder that you’ve recently opened. However, you can NOT access the folder through a program’s “open” menu (at least, not any programs I’ve tested it with) and therefore this issue can be solved by simply clearing the “recently opened” lists for programs that can open the kinds of files you’re protecting.

I hope this provides some use for you. Good luck protecting your…uh…completely innocent files that definitely aren’t dirty at all.

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Categories: Misc., OSX Tags: , , ,
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