Encrypt Files


There are five secure encryption formats in PowerArchiver:

  • PAE/PAE2 encryption - special encryption container format and can be used for all different archives supported in PowerArchiver. PAE2 is latest encryption format from PowerArchiver.
  • ZIP AES encryption - secure ZIP encryption, usable with newest versions of most popular zip utilities (recommended for compatibility).
  • 7-Zip AES encryption - AES encryption when you use 7-Zip format for compression.
  • OpenPGP Encryption – Full support for OpenPGP format. From encrypting/decrypting files to creating/importing/exporting OpenPGP keys.

Introduction to .PAE/PAE2 encryption

PowerArchiver features secure encryption in the form of .pae and .pae2 files. By using PowerArchiver's encryption tool, you can secure any data on your computer with the most powerful encryption formats currently in use. This becomes especially convenient when you need to send important data via e-mail or FTP. Additionally, PowerArchiver is able to intelligently handle PAE/PAE2 files, so if you encrypt an archive (such as a zip or cab file, or any other supported format), PowerArchiver will handle the archive transparently the next time you open the .pae/pae2 file.

Using Encrypt tool

To start the tool, select "Encrypt" from the "Tools" menu/tab.

At the Encrypt dialog window, you will need to do several things:

  • Add Files - select the file/s that is/are going to be encrypted.
  • Add Folders - select the folder/s that is/are going to be encrypted. You can add one more more folders to the encryption tracklist.
  • Remove - Remove one, many or all files from encryption tracklist.
  • Encryption Options - Select format you want to to encrypt file/archive to.
  • ZIP Encryption Options - encrypt file/archive in ZIP format encryption including AES encryption. Encryption methods:
    • PK 2.04g - creates standard ZIP archives, with weak encryption but readable by all Zip utilities.
    • AES 128-bits - creates encrypted ZIP archives with AES 128-bit encryption, readable by newer Zip utilities (PowerArchiver 9.xx, PkZip 8.xx, WinZip 9.xx, etc).
    • AES 192-bits - creates encrypted ZIP archives with AES 192-bit encryption, readable by newer Zip utilities (PowerArchiver 9.xx, PkZip 8.xx, WinZip 9.xx, etc).
    • AES 256-bits - creates encrypted ZIP archives with AES 256-bit encryption, readable by newer Zip utilities (PowerArchiver 9.xx, PkZip 8.xx, WinZip 9.xx, etc).
  • 7-Zip - encrypt file/archive in 7-Zip AES 256-bits format.
    • Method - Choose between "Optimized", "LZMA", "LZMA2", "PPMd" and "Store" methods of compression.
    • Compression - Choose the strength of compression of your encrypted archive.
    • Create Solid Archive - This option will let you create a Solid archive. All the files in the Solid archives are treated as one big file, which lets you achieve much better compression. Solid archives can not been updated or changed in normal usage. However, by using transparent 7-Zip updating support in PowerArchiver, you will be able to update solid 7-Zip archives as well.
  • PAE/PAE2 - encrypt selected file/archive in PAE/PAE2 container with following Encryption Methods:
    • PAE/PAE2 has 5 different methods of encryption available with AES (default) being the most secure. We recommend using AES for encryption since it has been elected as a new Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
  • Compression Options - select strength and method of compression (ZIP and 7-Zip only).
  • Delete original file after encryption" - when checked, file that was encrypted (source file) will be deleted after encryption.
  • Encrypt filename - Encrypts the filename of encrypted file (PAE/PAE2 and 7-Zip only).
  • Group Into Single File - Groups all files/folders in tracklist into one encrypted archive.
  • Encrypt Individually - Encrypts all files/folders in tracklist into separate archives.
    • Append Suffix: - Adds a suffix to the filename of each encrypted archive. "_enc" is the default filename. To change it, place your cursor into the field and type in your own suffix.
  • Destination Folder
    • File's Current Folder - The encrypted archive or archives will be saved in the folder of the originating files that are being encrypted.
    • Custom Folder - Saves the encrypted archive or archives in the folder of your choice. To enter the custom folder to save to, either type in the folder location in the shown field or click the browse browse button to navigate to the desired folder of your choice.

After you have selected the options, click "Encrypt" to finish the process and encrypt the file. PowerArchiver will then ask you for a password and you will have to enter it two (2) times.

Please note that it is very IMPORTANT that you do not forget your password. You will NOT be able to use the file if you forget the password. There is no way you can recover a forgotten PAE/PAE2 password.

PAE Encryption Tips and Tricks

  • PowerArchiver is able to intelligently handle archives inside of PAE files. If you open a PAE file that contains an archive such as "example.zip", PowerArchiver will transparently open the archive and let you handle it as if it were a normal zip file. If you change or update an archive, PowerArchiver will ask you if you want to update the encrypted (.pae) file as well. Please remember that if you answer with "NO", your changes will not be saved. You can also turn off transparent encrypted archive handling in "Options> Configuration> Misc.".
  • PowerArchiver's Password Manager is able to remember passwords of encrypted files. This option is turned off by default but if you are working in secure environment and use PAE only to send files via the Internet, then you can enable it so you do not have to enter a password each time you want to access your encrypted files. You can do so in "Options> Configuration> Password Manager". Your passwords are saved using 256 bit AES encryption.
  • You can create PAE files at the same time you create an archive in every format. Simply check "Encrypt archive after compressing" in PowerArchiver's Add window, location under the Options tab. PowerArchiver will then load the encryption tool immediately after compression with predefined default options.
  • You can use Explorer Shell Extensions to encrypt files with one click of the mouse. To do this, you can either enable "Encrypt" shell extensions under "Configuration> Shell Extensions" or simply use Compress with Options and check the "Encrypt Archive" box.

Please Note:

PowerArchiver will be able to read and update files that were encrypted with any of these standards.