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How to hide folders on Windows

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How to hide folders on Windows: Do you have friends and relatives who, as soon as they have the opportunity, stick their noses in the folders of your PC to discover all the documents, photos and videos that you have saved in them? It is a classic: alas, we all have slightly clumsy friends and relatives, but luckily there is a remedy for this too. What am I referring to? Well, simple, when creating hidden folders accessible only to those who know exactly the location and / or password to access it.

By taking advantage of some Windows features or by contacting third party software, all strictly free, you can manage hide folders on Windows and keep your data away from prying eyes in a very simple way. You just have to take five minutes of free time and put into practice the tips I am about to give you.

Whether you have a brand new PC equipped with Windows 10 or a slightly older computer on which the old Windows 7 still “runs”, I assure you that by following the instructions below you will be able to control and effectively hide all your files most important. Happy reading and enjoy!

Standard procedure for hiding folders on Windows

Although fairly bland, as it is easily circumvented, Windows provides a function for hide folders which does not require the use of external software. To take advantage of it, locate the folder to hide, right click on it and select the item Property from the menu that appears.

How to hide folders on Windows

In the window that opens, select the tab General, put the check mark next to the item Hidden away and click on the button first apply and then on OK to save the changes.

How to hide folders on Windows

From now on, the folder should be invisible in the Windows File Explorer. If not, it means that the display of hidden files in the program settings is active.

To solve the problem and disable the display of hidden files in the Windows File Explorer, open the latter (the yellow folder located at the bottom left of the taskbar), select the tab View located at the top and remove the tick from the entry Hidden elements.

How to hide folders on Windows

Alternatively, click on the button File placed at the top left and select the item Change folder and search options from the menu that opens (or, if you use a version of Windows prior to 8.x, go to the menu Tools> Folder Options located at the top).

In the window that opens, select the tab viewing, put the check mark next to the item Do not display hidden folders, files and drives and click on first apply and then on OK to save the changes.

How to hide folders on Windows

Subsequently, to access the hidden folder, activate the display of hidden files in the File Explorer (the folder icon will appear as transparent). To make the folder visible again, however, right-click on it, select the item Property from the menu that appears and remove the check from the option Hidden away in the window that opens. Easier than that ?!

Alternative method

As we have just seen together, assigning the “Hidden” property to a folder on Windows is very simple. However, it is also very easy to remove it and work around the obstacle by changing the display settings of the File Explorer.

To make life more difficult for snoopers, you need to resort to third-party solutions or, alternatively, take advantage of the Command prompt to “deceive” Windows and make it believe that the folders to be hidden are important system files: by doing this, Windows will attribute the advanced properties to the folders in question and prevent them from being displayed even when the hidden files.

To access the Command Prompt and take advantage of this “trick”, click on the button Start (the flag icon located in the lower left corner of the screen), type cmd in the menu that appears and come on Submit. In the window that opens, type the command attrib + s + h followed by one space, drag the folder you want to hide in the Prompt (so that the full path is pasted) and give it again Submit.

How to hide folders on Windows

Mission accomplished! Now you have a folder really hidden, accessible only by typing its exact path (the one copied previously in the Prompt) in the address bar of the File Explorer.

In case of second thoughts, to make the folder visible again, open the Prompt and give the command attrib -s -h [cartella da mostrare].

How to hide folders on Windows

Please note: in some cases, hidden folders with the “trick” above can be made visible by going to the menu File> Change Folder Options and Search (or Tools> Folder Options) of the File Explorer and removing the check from the option Hide protected system files in the card View.

Programs to hide folders on Windows

If the solutions for hide folders on Windows proposals so far have not convinced you, as they are too bland, I advise you to turn to software suitable for the purpose, such as those listed below.

Free Hide Folder

Free Hide Folder is a small free application that allows you to hide folders on Windows and keep them hidden even if the display of hidden files is active in the File Explorer. It is very simple to use and requires a password when logging in, so it is protected from accidental changes to its settings.

To download Free Hide Folder, connect to official program website and click on the item Downlooad Now. Once the download is complete, double click on the installation file of Free Hide Folder (FHFSetup.exe). In the window that opens, press on Yup, always click the button Next and then on the button Finish to start the program.

Free Hide Folder

In the window that opens, type in the text fields New Password is Confirm Password the password you will have to type to open the software and make hidden folders appear and click on the button OK. In the window that opens, click on the button skip to use the program without asking for an activation code (optional).

Free Hide Folder

To select a folder to hide, in the main window of Free Hide Folder, click on the button Add, select the folder you want to hide and click twice on the button OK. The folder is automatically hidden.

Free Hide Folder

To show a hidden folder, after selecting it in the folder list of Free Hide Folder, click on the button unhide. After using it, use the button Hide to hide it again.

veracrypt

veracrypt it is not a simple program to hide folders: it is a free and open source software (born from the ashes of the now obsolete TrueCrypt) that allows you to create encrypted volumes, protected by passwords, in which to store all types. It is quite simple to use and its encrypted volumes can be read by Windows, macOS and Linux (as the program is available for all three of these operating systems).

To download VeraCrypt on your PC, connect to hers official website and click on the link VeraCrypt Setup xx.exe. Then double click on it to open the VeraCrypt installation file and click on the button Yup. Then affix the check mark next to the item I accept the license terms (to accept the terms of use of the software) and click on first Next twice in a row and then on install, OK, Finish is No to finish the setup.

veracrypt

At this point, start VeraCrypt and, if the program interface is in English, set the Italian language by going to the menu Settings> Language and selecting the item Italian from the window that opens. To save the changes, click on the button OK.

veracrypt

You are now ready to take action. Then click on the button Create a volume present in the opening window of VeraCrypt, affix the check mark next to the item Create an encrypted container file and presses on Forward.

veracrypt

Now you have to choose whether to create a standard VeraCrypt volume, therefore a file visible to all but whose access is password protected, or a hidden VeraCrypt volume, which in addition to being password protected is also invisible in the Windows File Explorer.

veracrypt

Then click on the button Forward twice in a row (make sure there is a check mark next to the entry Normal way), presses the button Select file … and choose the folder in which to save your encrypted volume (ie the “hidden folder”).

veracrypt

Now go forward twice in a row and choose a coding algorithm it’s a confusion algorithm to encrypt the contents of the volume to be created: if you don’t know what to choose, leave the default settings active (AES is SHA-512) and click on the button Forward.

veracrypt

Once you have adjusted the encoding settings, you have to choose them maximum dimensions to assign to your encrypted volume, then the maximum number of KB, MB, GB or TB that this must occupy on the disk. Then type the desired value in the field Size of the external volume and click on the button Forward.

veracrypt

Now you have to choose the password to use to protect your volume, then the “hidden folder” to be created. To do this, type the desired keyword in the fields Password is Confirmation and go forward.

veracrypt

Then choose the file system to be used for formatting the volume between exFAT (if you plan to store files larger than 4GB inside the volume) e FAT (if you are not going to store files larger than 4GB inside the volume), leave the option default in the field Cluster, move the mouse until the bottom bar becomes green and click on Format.

veracrypt

At the end of the format, presses the button Open the external volume and copy in the volume you have just created some “owl” files, to be displayed to any hiccups without revealing what will then be the real hidden files hosted in the folder.

veracrypt

Once the files have been copied, go back to VeraCrypt and click on Forward, Yup it’s still Forward to create the real hidden volume in which to host your data (what you have created now is a container volume for the hidden volume). Then choose thecoding algorithm and theconfusion algorithm to use for the hidden volume and click on Forward.

Then choose the dimensions that the volume must have on the saying (in KB, MB, GB or TB), click on the buttons Forward is Yup and set the password release for the latter (which must be DIFFERENT from the one previously set).

veracrypt

Finally, go forward, choose the file system to format the volume and click on first Format and then on OK and Go out to complete the procedure for creating the hidden volume.

veracrypt

Mission accomplished! Now you have an encrypted volume in which to host all the files to hide from clumsy friends and relatives.

Now, to access the contents of the “public” part of the file (the one where you copied the “owl” files during the initial configuration of VeraCrypt), open veracrypt, select one of the drive letters available and click on the button Select file to choose the volume you created earlier.

Then click on the button Monta or on the button Automatic assembly (to mount the volume automatically for subsequent times), type in first unlock password that you chose during the volume creation process and give Submit.

veracrypt

Within a few seconds you should be able to access the “public” part of the volume by simply selecting the drive letter you have chosen in VeraCrypt within theFile Explorer.

To access the hidden part of the volume, instead, repeat the whole procedure and type the second password you have chosen in VeraCrypt. The correct activation of the hidden volume will be signaled to you by the appearance of the wording Hidden away in the column Guy by VeraCrypt.

veracrypt

When you are done copying and / or modifying the files inside the hidden volume, unmount it by opening VeraCrypt, selecting theunit in which it is mounted and pressing on the button Dismount located at the bottom left.

Volumes created with VeraCrypt, as already mentioned above, can be used on all operating systems for which the program is available: Windows, macOS and Linux (as long as they have been formatted in a file system compatible with them).