Microsoft Private Folder

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Microsoft Private Folder
Private Folder notification area icon
Developer(s) Microsoft
Stable release
1.0 / July 2006
Operating system Windows XP
Type Encryption
License Proprietary
Private Folder password prompt

Microsoft Private Folder was a product (withdrawn and discontinued shortly after its first release) created by a Microsoft employee and available as part of their "Windows Genuine Advantage" program. It allowed users to protect private data in a password protected folder called 'My Private Folder' in the user's account.[1]

The software runs only on Windows XP and is blocked due to "compatibility reasons" under Windows Vista and later.


Microsoft Private Folder created a single folder on the user's desktop which, when opened for the first time, prompted the user to assign it a password. Every subsequent time the folder was opened, the user had to re-enter the same password to gain access. While the core implementation details of this service are not public, it is assumed[citation needed] that Private Folder used strong encryption with a key based solely on this password to secure the data contained in the folder. This is in contrast to Microsoft's Encrypting File System, where encryption is tied to a keypair which can be made accessible to IT staff.

Private Folder used a system service called prfldrsvc (display name: Private Folder Service), the function of which is not yet publicly known.


  1. ^ "Genuine Microsoft Software". Microsoft. Retrieved 2006-07-15.