PROS / It can encrypt and decrypt files quickly.
CONS / The software can be difficult to use with its complicated encryption process, and the manufacturer's website gives you almost no help with troubleshooting it.
VERDICT / Though it's fast encryption software and simple to install, the extra steps and lack of troubleshooting resources make File Encryption XP relatively difficult to use.
File Encryption XP from CP-Lab is pretty barebones encryption software. It's one of the fastest programs we reviewed, but it lacks some security features that most of the encryption software we reviewed includes. It also complicates the encryption process a bit with some added steps.
Installation is easy with this software. All you have to do is follow the instructions on the screen. Once installed, though, the program isn't as easy to use as the best encryption software in our ranking.
You can encrypt any type of file, including ones from Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, with this software. It also lets you create encrypted EXE files, so you can password-protect them, email them, or put them on flash drives, CDs, DVDs or external hard drives so you can securely send them to others. However, File Encryption XP requires you to take more steps to encrypt files than other encryption software. For instance, you can't encrypt a folder of files; you have to select all of the files at once to encrypt them.
In our tests of this software, out of 128MB of files, it successfully encrypted only one document, although the log showed that all of the files were encrypted. What actually happened was that, by choosing several files to encrypt, the program essentially created a single encrypted locker and placed all of the encrypted files within it. It didn't give us an option to encrypt the files individually. However, once we manually selected every file in the folder, the software proved quick at encryption. It encrypted 63 files totaling 128MB in just under 18 seconds, and deciphered those encrypted files in a little more than seven seconds.
The file shredder for permanently deleting data also only works on files, not on folders. You have to choose the individual files within a folder to make sure it works. Under the options, you can choose to have files overwritten as many times as you'd like to increase security.
This data encryption program creates a log file with all activity that occurs within the program. This can be helpful when you need to recall what you were doing before or to see if others have used the program.
File Encryption XP uses one encryption method – the 384-bit key known as Blowfish. This isn't the strongest or most secure encryption algorithm available; some encryption programs use 256-bit key AES, which is so strong and secure that the U.S. government uses it.
In addition to the file shredder, you get a password generator to come up with strong, random passwords for you, but not a password strength meter to show you how secure your chosen passwords are. The program also lacks a virtual keyboard to prevent keyloggers from seeing what passwords you enter and a stealth mode to hide your activity with the software. It doesn't have a password recovery function either, which further protects you from hackers but also means you're out of options if you forget your password.
As long as you use Windows XP or newer – Vista, 7, 8 or 10 – you'll have no problems running this software on your computer. This application integrates well with Windows, so you can easily encrypt or wipe files in seconds without having to open the program.
CP-Lab offers customer support, but it doesn't provide any online resources. You can't view the software manual online, and the company doesn't offer any tutorials or FAQs on its website. These resources can often answer your questions and help you troubleshoot little issues with the software.
File Encryption XP landed near the bottom of our encryption software ranking because of its relative lack of security features, ease of use and customer support options. This software has the ability to encrypt, decrypt and shred files, but you don't get the strongest and most secure encryption algorithm key available with it.