How to hide folders and files: Your colleagues are real snoopers: as soon as you leave your PC, they start browsing through your folders and personal files. Since this has been going on for months, you can’t take it anymore and would like to find a way to hide folders and files. If you’ve come to this tutorial, however, I understand that you don’t have clear ideas on how to proceed. So let me help you out!
In the next paragraphs, I will show you in detail how you can hide the folders on both Windows and macOS, using the functions “standard” in the Microsoft and Apple operating systems and the very useful third-party solutions. And if you need to hide files on your mobile devices, you will find the information regarding Android and iOS devices in the last part of the tutorial very useful.
Tell me, are you ready to start? Yup? Fantastic! Make yourself comfortable and take the time to focus on reading the next few paragraphs. You will see, if you follow my “tips” step-by-step, you will have no problem concealing confidential files and documents, thus keeping them away from prying eyes. I wish you happy reading!
Hide folders and files on Windows
If you want to know how to hide folders and files on Windows, know that you can use both system functions integrated into the operating system and some third-party tools, thanks to which it is possible to create encrypted volumes to “mount” and “disassemble” if necessary. Let’s find out more about both solutions.
Hide file function
If you want to hide folders without resorting to third party software, you can use the function to hide files present “standard” on Windows which, however, it is good to clarify immediately, can be easily circumvented by anyone with access to the PC.
Opening theFile Explorerby selecting the tab View (located at the top) and placing the check mark next to the item Hidden elements (located at the top right), in fact, hidden folders and files with the native Windows function are displayed and accessible without any problem (even if their icons are transparent).
Another way to view a hidden folder or file is to go to the menu File> Change Folder Options and Search or Tools> Folder Options of the File Explorer (on older versions of Windows), select the tab viewing and tick the item View hidden folders, files and drives. In short, nothing complicated. If despite this, you are still intending to take advantage of the function to hide files included as standard in Windows, follow the instructions below.
Right click on the icon folder or file you want to make invisible, select the item Property from the menu that opens, affix the check mark next to the item Hidden away located at the bottom (in the window that opens) and save the changes by clicking on the buttons apply is OK.
If you want to try to remedy the limitations of the “Hide file” function of Windows, know that you can resort to Command prompt in order to transform (at least technically) the folder or file to be hidden into a system file.
To call up the Command prompt, open the Start menu , type cmd in the search bar and press the button Submit on the keyboard. In the window that opens, type the command attrib + s + h, enter one space and then the path to the folder or file you want to hide. If you do not want to manually type the path of the folder or file, drag the latter to the Command Prompt (after the command attrib + s + h), then press the button Submit on the keyboard and you’re done.
If you decide to retrace your steps, you can remove the system file attribute from the folder by giving the command attrib -s -h “[percorso cartella o file]” in the Command Prompt. I warn you that this system can also be bypassed quite easily, by accessing the settings of the File Explorer and removing the check from the option Hide protected system files.
To hide folders and files on Windows without risking that they are easily viewed by some nosy, you will have understood that it is better to turn to third-party solutions. One of the best solutions you can adopt is veracrypt, a free and open source program (also available for macOS and Linux) thanks to which you can create encrypted volumes in which to insert all the data that you want to hide and keep safe.
To download VeraCrypt, connect to his official website and then click on the link VeraCrypt Setup x.xx.exe placed next to the icon of Windows. When the download is complete, start the file .exe you have obtained and complete the installation procedure by following the instructions on the screen: click, then, on the button Yup, put the check on the item I accept the license terms, click the button Next twice in a row and then press up install, OK, Finish is No.
After installing and starting VeraCrypt, click on the item Language … from the menu Settings, select the option Italian and click on the button OK to translate the program interface into Italian. Now you can proceed with the creation of the encrypted volume in which you can hide the folders and files you want to keep safe. Then click on the button Create a volume …, put the check on the item Create an encrypted container file, click on the button Forward, then select the item Standard VeraCrypt volume and click on the button again Forward.
Now, click on the button Select file …, choose the folder where you want to save your volume, type its name in the appropriate text box and press the buttons Save is Forward to continue. Then select the coding and confusion algorithms to be used for volume protection (or, if you don’t know what to choose, leave the default settings), click on the button Forward, choose the maximum capacity you want to assign to your volume by indicating the amount of memory in the appropriate text field and selecting the unit of measurement (e.g. KB, MB, GB or TB) and click on the button Forward to continue.
After choosing the volume size, create the secure password with which to protect it and enter it in the fields Password is Confirmation. Then click on the button Forward and choose the file system to use for your volume by selecting one of the options in the menu File system (Eg. FAT or exFAT, if you want to use the volume on both Windows and macOS or NTFS, if you want to keep using the volume only on Windows. Please note that the FAT file system does not support single files larger than 4GB). After choosing the file system that best suits your needs, click on the button Format and then on the buttons OK and Go out to complete the creation of the encrypted volume.
To access the encrypted volume you just created, select one of the drive letters from those present in the main VeraCrypt window (e.g. TO:, G:, THE:, Q:, etc.), click on the button Select file … located at the bottom right and select the encrypted volume that you created just now. Then click on the button Monta, enter the password you set when creating the volume in the text field Password and presses the button OK.
If you have correctly performed the procedures I indicated in the previous paragraphs and if you have entered the correct password, you should see the icon of the unit created with VeraCrypt in the section This PC, Computer or Computer resources (based on Windows version installed on your computer). Double clicking on the drive letter which represents your volume, you can manage the folders and files inside it exactly as you would with a pendrive or an external hard disk.
When you have finished working on the files in the encrypted volume, “unmount” it so as not to make it visible to the eyes of snoopers: select the drive letter corresponding to your volume and then click on the button Dismount. Easy, right?
Hide folders and files on macOS
Also on MacOS it’s possible hide files and folders giving simple Terminal commands or resorting to VeraCrypt (which I already told you about in the previous chapter). Let’s see everything in more detail.
To hide files and folders on macOS via the Terminal, start the latter by going to Launchpad, then open the folder Other and click on its icon. Once the Terminal starts, enter the command chflags hidden, enter one space, copy the folder or file you want to hide in the Terminal window (so as to enter the path without typing it manually) and press the button again Submit keyboard. As for “magic”, the folder or file whose path you entered will become invisible.
If you want to reach the folder or file you just hidden, select the item Go to folder … from the menu Go to Finder, type the exact path of the hidden folder or file in the appropriate text field and press the button Submit on the keyboard. To make the folder or file visible again in the Finder, instead, use the command chflags nohidden [percorso cartella o file].
If you keep the folder or file hidden and want to view it only temporarily, open the Terminal and type the commands defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE (to activate the display of hidden files) e killall Finder (to make the changes effective by restarting the Finder). As a result, the hidden folder or file will be temporarily visible and its icon will appear transparent. To turn off the display of hidden files in the Finder, then use the commands defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE is killall Finder.
Also on Mac you can resort to veracrypt to hide files and folders since, as I said a few lines above, the program is also available for macOS. Before proceeding with its installation, however, you must download FUSE, a component necessary for the proper functioning of VeraCrypt on macOS.
To download FUSE, connect to his download page by clicking on the link I just provided and click on the icon FUSE for macOS x.x.x located at the top right. When the download is complete, open the file you just obtained, double click on the icon FUSE for macOS, click on the button Go on three times in a row and then up accept, Go on is Install.
When asked to enter the Mac password, enter it in the appropriate text field, click on the button Install software and then on the buttons OK, Open Security & Privacy System Preferences, Allow, Close is Move.
Now, to download VeraCrypt, connect to his download page, click on the link VeraCrypt_x.xx.dmg and, once the download is complete, open the file you just downloaded, double click on the icon VeraCrypt_Installer.pkg, click twice on the button Go on and then on accept is Install. Then enter the Mac password as soon as you are asked to do so and, finally, press the buttons Install software, Close is Move.
Now you can finally use VeraCrypt to create encrypted volumes by following the same steps that I illustrated to you in the chapter dedicated to the Windows version of the program (consider, however, that on macOS the VeraCrypt interface is available only in English).
Hide folders and files on Android
You want to keep folders and files safe on Android? You can count on the numerous file manager available for the mobile operating system developed by Google and use the encryption functions offered by the latter.
One of the best file managers you can use for this is Solid Explorer, an application that can be downloaded and used free of charge for 14 days. Once the trial period ends, you need to make an in-app purchase of 1.99 euros to continue protecting your files.
After installing and starting Solid Explorer on your device, tap the button Following to scroll through the illustrative cards that describe the app’s features, put the check mark on the item I accept the license agreement and finally press on the item Done.
At this point, you just have to make a long tap on the folder in which the content you want to protect is present, press the button (⋮) located at the top right and then select the item Hide from the menu that opens. By selecting the item Cryptinstead, you can protect the folder with a password (which I advise you to do, if you want to have more guarantees that the content is not intercepted in any way).
If you want to deepen the topic and want more information on how how to protect files and folders on Android come on how to hide photos and videos on Android, also consult the tutorial I dedicated to the topic.
Hide folders and files on iOS
If you have a iPhone or a iPad, unfortunately you cannot directly hide the folders or files present on the memory of your device. Up File, the file manager introduced with iOS 11, there is no function that allows you to do so.
The only solution available to you is to install apps of the caliber of Private Photo Vault, thanks to which it is possible to hide photos and videos inside “virtual safes”. Also you can hide the photos on the camera roll using the function Hide photos present on iOS (to call up this function, just select the photos you want to hide, tap the button Share, press on the voices Hide is Hide N Photos and you’re done) which is somewhat limited since the photos are easily accessible by opening the “Hide” folder.
In any case, if you want to deepen the topic I invite you to take a look at the tutorials in which I explain in more detail how to hide photos on iOS is how to hide apps on iOS.