How to make files and folders private in Windows XP so that only you have access to them

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Article ID: 930987 - View products that this article applies to.
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Summary

This article contains a step-by-step method that you can use to make files and folders private. You might want to make files and folders private if more than one person uses this computer. After you make a folder private, you can still share files whenever you want to. To do this, you would use the Shared Documents folder or another folder.

This article is intended for a beginning to intermediate computer user.

Steps to make a folder private so that only you have access to it

To make a folder private, follow these steps.

Step 1: Log on to Windows

Log on to Windows by using your user account.

Note To use private folders, each user must log on to Windows with a different user account. If all users log on by using the same user account, all users can see your private folders. Therefore, if each user does not already have a personal user account, you should first create and configure personal user accounts for each user. For more information about how to create and configure user accounts, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
279783 How to create and configure user accounts in Windows XP

Step 2: Open the Folder Properties

Right-click the folder, and then click Properties.

Note If you see a Security tab in the folder's Properties dialog box, you cannot use this method. Instead, you must use permissions to make files and folders private.

Step 3: Make the folder private

Click the Sharing tab, and then click to select the Make this folder private so that only I have access to it check box.

Note If this check box is unavailable, you may have to move the folder or convert the hard disk drive to the NTFS file system. For more information about this issue, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307286 You Cannot Select the "Make This Folder Private" Option

Steps to verify that the folder is private

To verify that the folder is private, follow these steps.

Step 1: Have another user log on to the computer

Ask another user to log on to the computer or log on yourself by using a different user account.

Step 2: Try to open the folder

If the folder is private, you receive the following error message:

My Documents is not accessible. Access is denied.

Similar Problems and Solutions

For more information about how to prevent unauthorized access to your computer or to your files, visit the following Microsoft Web sites:
Protect your computer
Strong passwords: How to create and use them
For more information about sharing files and documents with other users, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
304040 How to configure file sharing in Windows XP
For more information about how to convert the hard disk drive to NTFS, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
314097 How to Use Convert.exe to Convert a Partition to the NTFS File System

Properties

Article ID: 930987 - Last Review: March 6, 2013 - Revision: 1.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
kbceip kbnomt kbexpertisebeginner kbhowto KB930987

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