One way that you can protect your files, along with settings permissions, is through encryption. Vista, like previous versions of Windows, includes the Encrypting File System (EFS) that protects your files against unauthorized access.

Getting started with EFS is as easy as a few mouse clicks for a simple configuration. Open Windows Explorer and browse to the file that you would like to encrypt. Right-click the file and choose Properties from the context menu. On the General tab, click the Advanced button. The Advanced Attributes window will appear.

On the Advanced Attributes screen, select the box marked Encrypt Contents To Secure Data, and click OK. When you’re done, the file name will appear in green within Windows Explorer. This indicates that it has been encrypted.

Once you encrypt a file, only you will have access to it. To verify who has access to an encrypted file, you can view the file’s encryption details by right-clicking it, choosing Properties. From the General tab, click the Advanced button and click Details on the Advanced Attributes window.

In Vista, multiple users can be granted rights to read and modify encrypted files. Right click the encrypted file that you want to share and click Properties. From the General tab, click the Advanced button. From the Advanced Attributes dialog box, click the Details button. Click the Add button. Select the user to whom you want to grant access to the encrypted file. Click OK. Once the appropriate user has been granted permission, they will be able to open the file.

[tags]windows, vista, efs[/tags]