What's the biggest threat to your data? Is it snooping, or device theft, or hacking, or simple carelessness? How about all of the above? Suppose you could lock down your files, folders, drives, and devices with password protection; encrypt critically important data on the fly; store it on your smartphone or thumbdrive; and back it all up to a secure online storage locker that automatically syncs data and lets you access it on mobile devices? We'll tell you now that we're referring to one utility, Folder Lock, before we continue enumerating its features, which also include stealth mode, hack protection and logging (including forced shutdown); wallets for personal information like credit card numbers, file shredding, application-level passwords; and more. The latest release, Folder Lock 7, adds enhanced drag-and-drop capability, easier unlocking, and automatic backups of encrypted data to your online storage share. Folder Lock is free to try, with a 30-use limit.
Folder Lock installed smoothly in both our 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 systems. On first run, you're prompted to create a master password and enter it twice, consecutively: it's important to get it right. Folder Lock's colorful, wizardlike interface resembles a lot of premium tools, especially backup utilities. The left sidebar accesses its main features -- Lock Files, Encrypt Files, Secure Backup, Protect USB/CD, and Make Wallets -- which are all pretty much self-explanatory, except Make Wallets (which are nothing like you made at summer camp). All these features are easy to set up, and Folder Lock's interface walked us through each step. Clicking Learn More opened the User Guide, an excellent Help file that explains everything about using Folder Lock. An Xtras menu offers a file shredder and history cleaner; both pull their weight.
Folder Lock 7's security tools make it worth paying for over a collection of similar freeware tools, if it's possible to assemble one. But the online storage and sync makes the crucial difference. It not only stores and syncs data but also creates fully portable, secure, encrypted Lockers. You can even convert Lockers into encrypted executable files you can distribute to clients with help from the Protect USB/CD feature.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Folder lock 7.1.1.