How to Hide Files and Folders in Windows 10.
There are always some files to keep out of prying eyes. It could be confidential information from work or even something as simple as a school essay. While online privacy is vital, you also need to hide your local files and folders on Windows 10.
Windows gives you a few basic ways to hide files and folders. They may not interfere with the knowledgeable observer, but methods can interfere with them temporarily.
Hide Windows 10 Folders with File Explorer
This is an easy way to hide files and folders in Windows 10. It will only work if the people around you are not tech-savvy enough to know how to display file properties.
- Select the files or folders you want to hide.
- Right-click them and select Properties from the context menu.
- On the General tab of the Properties dialog box, select the Hidden check box in the Attributes section.
- These files and folders may still appear in Windows Search. To prevent this, select “Advanced”.
- Clear the check boxes under the Archive and Index attributes of the Advanced Attributes dialog box. Click “OK” to exit.
Windows hides many files by default to prevent unintentional deletion. But if you have disabled this option in File Explorer, hidden files will be displayed. To keep hidden files hidden:
- In Explorer, go to the View> Options> Change Folder and Search Options tab.
- Select the View tab. Go to Advanced settings and Hidden files and folders. Select “Don’t show hidden files, folders or drives.”
Hide Files and Folders with the Command Line
Get familiar with the command line in Windows and you can tweak a lot of things under the hood. One of them is the ability to hide and show files and folders at will. The attrib command changes the attributes of a file.
The attrib command is more efficient than the first method because even unchecking the Hidden Items option in Explorer will not open the hidden file or folder. We’ve already covered the command line utility for hiding files and folders, but let’s do another quick step-by-step tutorial.
Open Command Prompt by pressing Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog box. Then enter cmd in the Open box and click OK. At the command prompt, enter the following command. Replace the path and file name with the path and name of the file you want to hide.
attrib C: Users saika OneDrive Desktop SampleFolder SampleFile.txt + s + h
General format: [Drive:] [Path] File name + s + h.
- + s: This option sets the file attribute as a system file.
- + h: This option sets the file attribute to be hidden and invisible to the user.
Parameters are not case sensitive.
To display a file or folder, use the attrib command again, but just replace the + with – in front of the s and h attributes.
You can also hide the entire folder with the attrib command. Just replace the path and folder name with your own.
attrib C: Users saika OneDrive Desktop SampleFolder + s + h
Hide Windows 10 Files with Free Software
There are several free apps that help you hide files, folders, photos and videos with the click of a button. They are slightly more robust than the native methods we explored above.
FileFriend is a free application and is only 285KB in size. This uncomplicated app gives you several different tools to work with. Use the JPK tab to hide the file. First select the host JPG file. Then select the directory or file that you want to hide in it.
Please note that the JPG file does not have to be in the same directory that you want to hide.
The main features of FileFriend:
- Encrypt or decrypt files and directories.
- Runs as a standalone executable without installation.
- Hide text in JPEG file, or extract text hidden in JPEG file.
My Lockbox is a simple program that hides your files and folders on your local drive. This lightweight software is only 6.9MB in size and is available in two flavors. The free version allows you to hide one item. During installation, you can skip the option to install the Hide Folders extension, which protects files on external drives.
Once installed, enter your password and recovery email in case you lose your password. Select the file or folder you want to hide and lock it. There is no folder size limit. My Lockbox has several additional features that you can access from the My Lockbox dashboard.
Key features of Hide Folders:
- Toggle blocking using hotkeys.
- Allow trusted applications to access protected data.
- An auto-lock feature that locks a folder at a specified interval or when the laptop lid is closed.
- Hide the folder when the “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” option is enabled for the folder in the folder options.
- Use the program with different skins.
Wise Folder has two levels of file and folder protection that enhances the security of your information. Set the first application-level password when starting the program. Then set a different password for each file or folder you want to hide.
You can also set up encrypted hard disk space to safely store sensitive files. Removing the program will prevent anyone from bypassing the protection as they have to enter a password to remove the software from Windows. Wise Folder also works with USB sticks.
Wise Folder has free and paid versions. The Pro version gives you unlimited space to create encrypted hard drive space.
Key features of Wise Folder:
- Drag and drop files and folders to hide them.
- Hide individual files and folders with different passwords.
- Create encrypted lockers to protect files and folders (only 50 MB in the free version).
Make Important Files Less Obvious to Snoopers
These tools and techniques are basic and can be your first line of defense. They just help make important files less visible. Security attacks can come from several directions. Start with simple security habits such as managing your passwords correctly, setting file and folder permissions if you’re online, and encrypting your online and offline data.