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I would like to know whether it is possible to do the following via CLI.

I have a Folder F which contains several sub folders and some files. I want to compress folder F into .zip file with the "password-only-extract".

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up vote 23 down vote accepted

Go to the relevant folder using the cd command like this:

cd /path/to/folder/

(If your folder F is in your Home folder, you can just do cd ~.)

Then, type in your terminal:

zip -er F

This will prompt you for a password. Give it, and that will create a password-protected zip file from that folder.

  • -e enables encryption for your zip file. This is what makes it ask for the password.
  • -r makes the command recursive, meaning that all the files inside the folder will be added to the zip file.
  • is the name of the output file.
  • F is the folder you want to zip.

There is an option called -P that will allow you to pass the password in the command itself, but that is not good because there is always the threat of over-the-shoulder peeking. Also other users can see the password by using ps -ef command if you use -P switch. With that -P switch, the command will look like this:

zip -P password -r F
  • Visit man zip for more information.
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-e means encrypt – dedunumax Sep 8 '13 at 12:11
Hey I just edited your question to include a little bit of context. But can you edit it to include your -e means encrypt comment, as well as the meaning of the -r option. Thanks! – Alaa Ali Sep 8 '13 at 12:16
thanks Alaa that was a nice edit. I'll edit it again. – dedunumax Sep 8 '13 at 12:18
Tx Dedunu for your input.Just one more clarification needed.What if I need to automate this ...What I mean is if instead of prompting for a password can I set a password in the command itself ? – UnderDog Sep 8 '13 at 12:19
But it is higly unrecommended to use because your history will be recorded. otherwise other users can see your password with "ps aux" – dedunumax Sep 8 '13 at 12:28

The encryption of zip files is weak and can be broken very easily. Instead use 7zip.

7z a -p -r Fdirectory.7z /path/to/F
  • a command tells 7zip to add files.
  • -p You can either, leave it blank so it asks you interactively or type your password here.
  • -r means recursive.
  • Fdirectory.7z is the name of the to-be-created archive.
  • /path/to/F is the path of your directory. It can be relative or full path.

Is recommendable not typing the password in the shell since it's visible to anyone with access to the /proc directory.

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It seems if you pass -p only to 7z and omit the password, it asks for it interactively - even a second time for confirmation. – ssc May 14 '15 at 17:48
@ssc that is the most useful option, yet it isn't in the manual pages.. – Braiam May 14 '15 at 19:48

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