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How to Password Protect a File or Folder in Mac OS X Leopard

Password protected files are a great way to keep secure information nearby, without worrying about the prying eyes of others who casually use your computer. This can be anything from secure financial information to your secret list of christmas presents that you want to get for each family member. If you look online, you will find a number of programs that you can purchase to get some kind of password protection. However, there is already a free option that comes standard on Mac OS systems. This is part of an app or program called Disk Utility. Here is how to use it:

1. Go to Applications. Scroll to Utilities. Find and click on File. Touch the arrow next to New, and open “Disk Image from Folder.” (Make certain you have already saved the document you want password protected, so that you are able to browse for it in the next step.)

2. This will open a browsing menu, which will allow you to find the file you are looking for. When you find it, highlight it and click the “Image” button.

3. A box with your formatting options will come up. Choose the location where you want to keep the password protected folder, and the name you would like to call it at the top. Below this, choose “Read/Write” and below that, 128 bit AES encryption.

4. A new box will pop up once you save these settings that will allow you to put in a password. Try for a strong password. These have a mixture of letters, numbers, and characters in both lowercase and uppercase. If you want a way to create a password that is easy for you to remember but hard to guess, choose a favorite saying or passage from literature, and translate it into your own shorthand. For example, if you get the song “It’s Hip to be Square” stuck in your head, you can take the first letters of that title and turn it into Ih2Bs. This is not a long password. If you think in numbers, you can even stretch the word “square” into a square number, and make a mathematical equation to represent the squaring of a number. So, now it might read Ih2Bx^2. If the caret symbol is not acceptable, you can try other permutations like Ih2B2x2. The trick is finding something that is easy for you to remember, but virtually impossible for someone who is given all the data on your life to guess. When you’re done, don’t click “remember my password” or it won’t ask for it in order to open the file.

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