Have you ever wanted to hide a folder or file that had some “delicate” content in it from other users that share your computer? There is a simple method to do this in windows xp and windows vista which is not too secure but it usually works since the odds are, the people who use your computer are not to tech savvy. For those users who wish to completely lock,password protect or encrypt a folder/file, I have a few freeware applications that will help you achieve this.
Windows has a featured called “hidden attribute” which was made to hide system folders that are sensible and the user might accidentally delete or modify them.In this guide I’ll show you how to make any folder/file hidden using the this attribute.
I’ll use an example to make it easier, go to My Documents and created a new folder called “Test”, put some useless files and folders into it.Right click on the folder, select Properties then the General Tab and check the Hidden box.
The folder should disappear from My Documents. If it doesn’t then you have Windows Explorer configured to display hidden files.
To change this, select Tools > Folder Options > View then check the “Do not show hidden files and folders.” box. Now the “Test” folder should disappear.
Whenever you want to make the folder re-appear, do the same as above but instead of selecting “Do not show hidden files and folders.” select the “Show hidden files and folders.” option.
If you don’t want to have to do that all the time I’ll show you an easier way to view your hidden folders, make the “Test” folder visible and open it. Select all files inside it by clicking File > Select All or by pressing CTRL + A. Right click anywhere and select Properties > General and uncheck the Hidden attribute. Now your folder is hidden but the files are not.
Go back to My Documents and hide the folder by changing the folder settings like I showed you, once the “Test” folder has disappeared we can use the quicker way to make it re appear.See the url box above where it says “C:/Documents and Settings/USER/My Documents” ? just add a forward slash plus the name of the hidden folder: “C:/Documents and Settings/USER/My Documents/Test“. Viola! the hidden folder should instantly appear.
TIP: When naming the folder try to make it something that sounds like a systems folder name example: Sy$tem. That way if for some reason another user changes the folder options he wont think too much of the folder when they see it and wont check it.
NOTE: If you find the above method a bit overwhelming you should use one of the applications below, two mouse clicks and the folder becomes invisible :).
In Windows Vista it’s a bit more simple, create a folder called “Test” in your Documents and put some unimportant files into it.Right click on the folder and select Properties, then go to the Security tab.
Click on the Edit button and select the user you want to hide the files from, then tick all the Deny boxes under Permissions for USERSNAME . Click Apply, OK and OK on the Properties window.
TIP: If you have a suspicion the other users log into your user account, go to the Control Panel > Users and create a password for your user account.
NOTE: If all of you share the same user account or you simply want an easier way to hide your folders, check the section below.
APPLICATIONS TO HELP YOU HIDE THE FOLDERS/FILES
» Free Hide Folder – Free Hide Folder is ideal for this kind of problem, it works on all windows versions and is totally free, its quite simple to use aswell. Select a master password so nobody can open the program but you, then select the folder you wish to hide and viola! it’s gone. When ever you want to access the folder simply open this program up and un hide the it.
» TrueCrypt – TrueCrypt wont exactly help you hide the files but it will encrypt and password protect them so people will be able to see them but won’t be able to open them or scan them to see whats inside.
» AxCrypt – AxCrypt is basically the same as TrrueCrypt but with a few other cool options you might enjoy.