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How to hide a folder on the PC

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How to hide a folder on the PC: Whenever your friends come to visit you at home, they poke their noses into your PC’s folders and access files you would rather keep private. Sorry, but why don’t you make a nice, jerk -proof secret folder ? How do you say? Not a computer expert and you don’t know how to proceed? And who told you that you have to have special skills to create secure folders inaccessible for snoopers?

If you spend five minutes of your time (maybe even less), I can explain how to hide a folder on your PC using the functions included “standard” in Windows and macOS or, better yet, using third-party programs that allow you to hide folders securely and create encrypted volumes accessible only by typing the right password.

I assure you that these are extremely simple operations to complete and the benefits in terms of privacy are immense. Courage, don’t waste any more time. Give yourself some time to read the instructions I’m about to give you, put them into practice and you will see that you will no longer have to worry about nosy friends, relatives or colleagues, because they will no longer be able to find the folders where you will keep your most important files!

Hide a folder on Windows

If you use a PC equipped with Windows, you can hide the folders on the disk using the system functions or, better still, third-party applications that allow you to create real encrypted volumes (password protected): read on for learn more.

Standard procedure

Windows includes a feature that allows you to hide a folder on your PC without resorting to third party programs. It’s easy to get around (I’ll explain how soon) but it’s still worth knowing.

If you want to hide a folder using the functions included “standard” in Windows, right-click on the  folder to be hidden and select the Properties item   from the menu that appears. In the window that opens, affix the check mark next to the Hidden item  located at the bottom and save the changes by clicking first on the Apply button   and then on  OK .

How to hide a folder on the PC

Mission accomplished! Now if you open the File Explorer and open the path where the folder you have hidden is contained, it should be invisible. I say “should”, because in reality there is a function of the file explorer that allows you to easily get around this limit and to view all hidden files and folders without any problem.

If you don’t believe it, select the View tab   of the File Explorer (above) and put the check mark next to the item  Hidden elements which is located at the top right. The hidden folder should be freely viewable and accessible, although marked by a semi-transparent icon.

How to hide a folder on the PC

The same result can also be obtained by going to the File menu > Change folder and search options  or  Tools> Folder options (on older versions of Windows) of the File Explorer, selecting the View tab  in the window that opens and putting the check mark next to the  Do not show hidden folders, files and drives item .

How to hide a folder on the PC

If you want to remedy the problem, at least in part, you can resort to a “trick”: make Windows believe that the folder you have hidden is an important system file. In this way, even if you activate the display of hidden files in the File Explorer, the folder should be invisible (unless you disable the Hide protected system files function in the File menu > Change folder and search options  or  Tools> Folder options of the ‘File Explorer).

To “fool” Windows into believing that your folder is a system file, you must act through the Command Prompt . Then click on the Start button   (the flag icon located in the lower left corner of the screen), type  cmd  in the menu that appears and press the Enter key  on the PC keyboard.

In the window that opens, type the command  attrib + s + h , put a  space and drag the folder you want to hide in the Prompt: in this way, you will copy the complete path of the latter in the Prompt without having to type it manually. Finally,  enter and the game should be done.

How to hide a folder on the PC

In case of second thoughts, you can remove the system file attribute from the folder by opening the Command Prompt and giving the command attrib -s -h [folder path] .

Programs to hide folders on Windows

Do you think it is too easy to get around the limitations of the File Explorer and therefore you want to create a secret folder through programs designed specifically? Here you are satisfied. Below you will find a solution that should be right for you.

veracrypt

If you want to create a truly secret folder, the solution you have to rely on is VeraCrypt : it is an excellent free and open source program (evolution of the now obsolete TrueCrypt) through which you can create password-protected folders, or better, of the encrypted volumes , and insert inside them all the data to be kept safe.

The volumes in question are not completely invisible (the files that contain them are visible in the File Explorer), but to use them and then to access the data they hold, you must first “mount” them in VeraCrypt (as if they were ISO files ) and then type in an unlock password : a procedure that can knock out any snooper! Another very important thing to underline is that VeraCrypt is multi-platform: it works, that is, in the same way on Windows , macOS and Linux and this allows you to create “secret folders” that can be used on each of these systems without distinction (as long as you format the volume with a file system that can be used on all operating systems, such asFAT or exFAT ).

To download VeraCrypt on your PC, connected to its  official website  and click on the item  VeraCrypt Setup xx.exe . When the download is complete, start the exe package you just got and proceed by clicking on the Yes button  in the window that opens. Then put a check mark next to  I accept the license terms  and successfully complete the setup by first clicking on the button  Next  twice in a row and then  InstallOKFinish  and  No .

veracrypt

Now you just have to start VeraCrypt and set its interface on the Italian language: to do this, go to the Settings> Language menu  , select the Italian item   from the window that opens and press  OK .

veracrypt

Once the VeraCrypt interface has been translated into Italian, you are ready to create your encrypted volume (therefore your “secret folder”). Then click on the Create a volume button  , select the Create an encrypted container file option  , go  Next and choose whether to create a  standard VeraCrypt volume or a  hidden VeraCrypt volume .

The difference between the two types of volume is that the first has only one password and, once mounted by typing the right keyword, allows you to access all the files inside it. The hidden volume, on the other hand, has a double password: the first shows a “fictitious” volume with some sample files to be inserted to deceive nosy people (think of extreme situations, where attackers ask to forcefully access the volume; in this way you can fool them), the second one instead allows you to access the real files in the volume (the “important” files to hide). For your needs, the standard volume should be fine, so put the check mark next to the appropriate option and go next .

veracrypt

Now, click on the Select file button , choose the path in which to save your “secret folder” (hence the volume of VeraCrypt), set a name for the latter and click on the Next button .

veracrypt

Then choose the encoding algorithm  and the confusion algorithm to  be used to encrypt the files contained in the volume. Personally I recommend you leave the default settings active:  AES  and  SHA-512 and go  on .

veracrypt

Now, since the volume to be created cannot be “infinite”, you must set the maximum number of KB , MB , GB or TB that the latter must occupy on the disk: beyond this limit it will not be able to go, so choose well based on the file size you want to host in it.

veracrypt

After passing this step too, click Next , type the password you want to use to access your “folder” by typing it in the Password and Confirm fields and go ahead .

veracrypt

Now, choose the  file system  to use to format the volume: I recommend  exFAT  if you intend to archive files larger than 4GB without losing compatibility with macOS and Linux or  FAT , if you do not intend to archive files larger than 4GB. Then move the mouse cursor until the bottom bar turns  green  and click on the Format button first  and then on OK and Exit to complete the volume creation procedure.

veracrypt

At this point, to mount your encrypted volume, access the data contained in it and add new ones, open VeraCrypt , select the letter of the drive where you want to mount the volume and click on the Select file button to select the file you have created just now.

Then click on the Mount button or on the Automatic mounting button (if you want to mount the volume automatically at every startup), type the volume unlock password and click OK to access your “secret folder” through the Windows File Explorer .

veracrypt

When you are finished using the encrypted volume, you can unmount it by simply selecting it in VeraCrypt and clicking on the Unmount button located at the bottom left.

Hide a folder on Mac

Are you using a Mac and couldn’t figure out how to hide a folder on it? Don’t worry: just give a simple command from Terminal or use a small application suitable for the purpose. Find all the details below.

Standard procedure

If you want to hide a folder on Mac without resorting to third-party applications, you must rely on the Terminal. Then open the macOS Terminal (you can find it in the Other folder of the Launchpad) or find it through the search for Spotlight .

Then type the chflags hidden command , enter a space and copy the folder to be hidden in the Terminal window, so that the path is automatically written. Finally, enter and the folder will become invisible in the Finder.

How to hide a folder on the Mac

Next, to reach the folder you have hidden, you will have to go to the menu Go to> Go to the folder of the Finder (at the top), type the exact path of the folder and give Enter . Alternatively, you can also call the “Go to folder” menu by right-clicking on the Finder icon in the Dock bar.

If typing the exact path of a folder in “Go to folder” gives you an error message, try placing a period ( . ) Before the name of the folder.

Go to the folder

In case of second thoughts, you can return the visible folder in the Finder simply by opening the terminal and giving the command chflags nohidden [folder path] .

If, on the other hand, you want to keep the folder hidden but temporarily enable its display in the Finder (the folder will appear transparent), open the Terminal and give the following commands: defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE (to activate the display of hidden files) and killall Finder (to restart the Finder and make the changes take effect).

Show Mac hidden folders

To deactivate the display of hidden files in the Finder again, open the Terminal and from the following commands: defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE (to deactivate the display of hidden files) and killall Finder (to restart the Finder and make the changes).

Programs to hide folders on macOS

If the standard procedure for hiding folders on Mac seems a little too complex, you can turn to third-party applications that allow you to simplify the process.

Hide Folders

Hide Folders is a free application that allows you to hide up to 10 folders on the Mac – and show them again – in a matter of clicks. There is also a Pro version (24.99 euros), thanks to which you can hide an unlimited number of folders and add a password protection to the software settings, but for your purposes the free version should be more than good.

To download the free version of Hide Folders on your computer, therefore connected to the official website of the program and click on the Download button . When the download is complete, open the dmg package containing the application, drag the application to the macOS Applications folder , launch it and click on the Cancel button .

Hide Folders

At this point, click on the gear icon located at the top left, choose the item Add items … from the menu that appears and select the folders you want to hide.

Once this is done, select the folders to be hidden in the main Hide Folders window, click on the Hide button located at the top right and you’re done.

Hide Folders

In case of second thoughts, you can make hidden folders visible again with Hide Folders by opening the program, selecting them from the main window and pressing the Show button located at the top right.

Note: hidden folders with Hide Folders are visible in the Finder if you activate the display of hidden files inside the latter (using the command I provided earlier).

veracrypt

"veracrypt

VeraCrypt , the program to create encrypted volumes that I told you about in the tutorial chapter dedicated to Windows, is also available for macOS and works identically. The only difference is in the software installation process, which I am going to illustrate now.

To download VeraCrypt on your Mac, connected to the official website of the program and click on the item VeraCrypt_xx.dmg . When the operation is complete, you must download and install  FUSE for macOS : another free software without which it is impossible to run VeraCrypt on macOS. Therefore  , connect to the FUSE for macOS website  and click on the  FUSE for macOS xxx item  located in the right sidebar to download the software.

When the download is complete, open the  FUSE for macOS pkg file  and click in sequence on the Continue , Continue , ContinueAcceptContinue  and  Install buttons . Then type the password of your user account on macOS (the one you use to access the system) and click first on the Install software button   and then on  OK   and  Open Security & Privacy System Preferences .

Finally, when you open System Preferences , click on the Allow button   located at the bottom of the window and finish the setup of FUSE for macOS by pressing first on  Close  and then on  Move .

FUSE for macOS

Now you can move on to installing VeraCrypt. So open the  dmg file  that contains the program, start the executable  VeraCrypt_lnstaller.pkg  contained within it and click in sequence on the Continue , ContinueAccept  and  Install buttons  . Then type the password of your user account on macOS and click on  Install software ,   Close  and  Move to finish the setup.

Now you can use VeraCrypt to create encrypted volumes just as seen on Windows (with the only difference that the program interface is in English and not in Italian).