How to Hide Files, Folders, and Drives in Windows 10
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If you share your computer with others, you may want to hide some files and folders so people don’t go nosing into your files. We’ve talked about password protecting files and folders on Windows How to Password Protect a Folder in Windows How to Password Protect a Folder in Windows Need to keep a folder private? Here are a few different methods how you can password protect your files on a Windows 10 PC. Read More . But if that’s overkill for your purposes, you can simply hide your files and folders.

We’ve previously covered how to hide files and folders on a Mac Hide & Find Any File On Mac OS X Hide & Find Any File On Mac OS X There's no straightforward way to quickly hide or reveal hidden files on Mac OS X as there is on Windows – but it is possible. Read More . Here are several ways to hide files and folders on Windows.

1. Hide Individual Files/Folders Using the Command Line

A simple way to hide a file or folder is to change its attributes using the attrib command on the command line How to Master the Command Prompt in Windows 10 How to Master the Command Prompt in Windows 10 This article makes the Windows 10 Command Prompt approachable and way more useful. Learn how to run multiple commands, get help on any command, and more. Read More .

Let’s say we want to hide the Sample.mp4 file in the ToHide folder as shown below.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

Open the Command Prompt by pressing Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Then, type cmd.exe in the Open box and click OK.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

At the prompt, type the following command. Replace the path and file name with the path and file name for the file you want to hide.

attrib C:\Users\Lori\Documents\ToHide\Sample.mp4 +s +h

The +s and +h are the attributes you’re setting for the file. The +s attribute is the System file attribute and indicates the file is for use by the operating system and is not normally displayed in a directory listing. The +h is the Hidden file attribute and indicates the file will not be displayed in a directory listing by default.

The attributes in the command are not case sensitive, so you can use either lowercase or uppercase.

When you open the folder in File Explorer that contains the hidden file or folder, it will not be visible. Even going to View > Show/hide and checking the Hidden items box will not show the hidden file or folder.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

You can also hide a folder using the attrib command in the following way. Again, replace the path and the folder name with your own.

attrib C:\Users\Lori\Documents\ToHide\AnotherFolder +s +h

To unhide a file or folder, use the same attrib command, replacing the “+” with “” in front of the “s” and “h” attributes.

attrib C:\Users\Lori\Documents\ToHide\Sample.mp4 -s -h

To learn more about the attrib command, type attrib /? at the command prompt and press Enter.

2. Hide Folders Using File Explorer

Using File Explorer The 10 Best Windows File Explorer Tricks and Tweaks The 10 Best Windows File Explorer Tricks and Tweaks We'll show you how to get more out of the Windows File Explorer with our favorite tricks and tweaks. You'll discover hidden features, customize menus, and lots more. Read More to hide a folder is like using the attrib command described in the previous section, but it’s less secure. Anyone who knows about showing and hiding hidden files in File Explorer can access your files. But if you’re trying to hide data from other family members who are not as tech-savvy as you are, this can work just fine.

We will set the Hidden attribute for the selected files or folder in File Explorer How to Hide & Protect Your Data in Windows How to Hide & Protect Your Data in Windows Nothing is private, unless you make it so. You can just hide your data from plain view, or you can apply passwords or encryption techniques for more serious protection. Let us show you how. Read More . But, first, we need to make sure files and folders with the Hidden attribute do not show in File Explorer. To do this, go to View tab > Options and select Change folder and search options.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

On the View tab, select Don’t show hidden files, folders, or drives under Advanced settings and click OK.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

To hide one or more files or folders, select the files or folders, right-click on them, and select Properties.

On the General tab on the Properties dialog box, check the Hidden box in the Attributes section. To prevent the files or folders from appearing in Windows search results, click Advanced.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

Then, uncheck the boxes in the File attributes section of the Advanced Attributes dialog box and click OK.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

To unhide the files or folder, go back to the Properties dialog box for the files or folders in question, and uncheck the Hidden box in the Attributes section.

3. Hide Entire Drives Using the Registry Editor

This method hides an entire drive instead of just selected files or folders on the drive.

Note: This procedure involves changing the registry. Before you begin, we suggest you back up your registry Why Does Windows Automatically Save the Registry? Why Does Windows Automatically Save the Registry? Not sure what the Windows Registry does? Wonder how to save, restore, or back it up? Read this article to find out. It's simpler than you might think. Read More . We’ve also provided tips for not accidentally messing up the Windows registry How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry Working with the Windows registry? Take note of these tips, and you'll be much less likely to do lasting damage to your PC. Read More .

If you’re not comfortable using the Windows registry What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] The Windows registry can be scary at first glance. It’s a place where power users can change a wide variety of settings that aren’t exposed elsewhere. If you’re searching for how to change something in... Read More , we discuss another method of hiding an entire drive in the Hide Entire Drives Using the Disk Management Utility section below.

To begin, open the Registry Editor by pressing Windows key+R to open the Run dialog box. Then, type regedit in the Open box and click OK.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

Navigate to the following key in the left pane.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

Right-click on the Explorer key and go to New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

Name the new value NoDrives and then double-click on it.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

On the Edit DWORD (32-bit) Value dialog box, select Decimal as the Base. Then, enter a number that corresponds to the drive or drives, you want to hide. To find out which number to use, see the table below the following image.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

Find the letter for the drive you want to hide in the table below. Enter the number associated with that drive letter in the Value data box for the NoDrives value in the registry. In our example, we entered 64 to hide our G: drive.

If you want to hide more than one drive, add the numbers for all the drive letters you want to hide and enter the total in the Value data box.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

After you restart your computer, you will not see the drive in File Explorer.

To show the drive again, go back into the Registry Editor and delete the NoDrives value under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer key and restart your computer again.

4. Hide Entire Drives Using the Disk Management Utility

If you’d rather not edit the registry, you can hide an entire drive using the Disk Management utility. This utility shows you all the internal and external drives connected to your computer.

Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Then, type diskmgmt.msc in the Open box and click OK.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

Right-click the drive you want to hide (in the top or bottom section) and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

On the Change Drive Letter and Paths dialog box, select the drive letter, click Remove, and then click OK.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

A warning dialog box displays telling you that some programs rely on drive letters and may not work if you remove the drive letter. If you’re sure you want to hide the drive, click Yes to remove the drive letter.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

The letter is removed from the drive in the Disk Management Utility.

Once you close and reopen File Explorer, the drive will not be visible and will not be included in Windows search results.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

To make the drive visible again, go back into the Disk Management utility and open the Change Drive Letter and Paths dialog box for the hidden drive. Then, click Add.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

Make sure Assign the following drive letter is selected (it should be by default). Select the drive letter you want to assign to it from the dropdown list, and click OK.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

You must close and reopen File Explorer to see the drive again.

5. Hide Folders Using Third-Party Software

All the methods mentioned above are not as secure as hiding AND password protecting files and folders. We’ve already covered built-in ways to password protect a folder on Windows.

Here are some third-party software options we tested.

FileFriend

In FileFriend, use the JPK tab to hide files or folders in a JPEG image and add a password to protect the hidden files. FileFriend also allows you to enter text that you want to hide in the image directly in the program, without having to create a text file to hide in the image (using the JTX tab).

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

Other features of FileFriend include splitting or joining files and encrypting files and folders.

Secret Disk

Secret Disk allows you to create a virtual drive, or repository, that’s invisible and password protected. Another layer of security is added with a PIN that’s required to open the Secret Disk program.

When the repository is visible, it displays with a drive letter in File Explorer. You can copy files and folders to it, and work with it in any programs, just like any other drive. Then, you can hide the repository again and it becomes invisible.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

Secret Disk does not need to format your hard drive or make any other changes to your system. It also does not encrypt any files or folders. It just limits access to them by hiding, and password-protecting, the repository.

The Basic version of Secret Disk is free. The PRO version will set you back $14.95 for its added features, including the ability to have more than one repository and choosing the drive letter for each repository. The repository password and the PIN for opening the program are optional in the PRO version, although these are good features to leave enabled. To upgrade, click the handy PRO version button in the program.

Easy File Locker

Easy File Locker is an easy to use freeware utility that allows you to hide and lock files and folders from other people and from programs. The locked files and folders are protected from opening, modifying, deleting, moving, renaming, or copying. All files and subfolders in a locked folder are protected.

Set a password to open the program by going to System > Set Password. You don’t have to set a password, but, if you don’t, anyone will be able to open the program, turn off the protection for your files and folders, and have access to them.

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

Use the Add File and Add Folder buttons to add files and folders to Easy File Locker. Double-click on a file or folder in the list to change its permissions (Accessible, Writable, Deletable, Visible). Protect the selected files and folders using the Start Protection button. Make the files and folder visible again by clicking the Stop Protection button.

My Lockbox

My Lockbox allows you to hide and password protect almost any folder on your computer.

While you’re installing My Lockbox, you’ll be asked for the location of the folder you want to hide and protect. When the installation is finished, that folder is automatically hidden and locked.

Two icons are added to your desktop. The My Lockbox icon allows you to quickly unlock and open your protected folder. For more options, use the My Lockbox Control Panel icon. Once you enter your password, the following window displays:

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

Use Set folder to change the folder you want to protect and Remove to permanently unlock the protected folder and remove it from the program. The Open button automatically unlocks and opens the protected folder. Lock and Unlock the folder using the buttons on the left. Click Advanced for more options and other settings.

The freeware version of My Lockbox allows you to hide and protect one folder with an unlimited number of subfolders. You can upgrade to the Professional edition if you need to protect more than one folder. However, you can put all the files and folders you want to hide and protect into one folder and use the free version if you don’t mind looking at the bright orange ad for My Lockbox PRO.

Methods We Couldn’t Get to Work

In addition to the methods covered above, we also tried the two methods below and failed to get them to work. For the sake of completeness, we decided to include them here. Please leave us a comment in case you had more luck than we did!

Hide Files/Folders in a JPEG Image

We tested the method of hiding files in a JPEG image using the command line 2 Ways to Hide "Important" Files and Folders in Windows 2 Ways to Hide "Important" Files and Folders in Windows Read More .

We were successful in adding a RAR file to a JPEG image using the following command.

copy /b C:\Path\To\File\OriginalImage.jpg + FilesToHide.rar C:\Path\To\File\NewImageWithHiddenFiles.jpg

how to hide files folders drives in windows 10

However, we could not extract the files once they were added to the JPEG image file. We tested file extraction programs, like 7-Zip, WinRAR, and PeaZip, but could not open the resulting JPEG file.

Hiding a file or folder in a JPEG image is possible using a free tool we found called FileFriend, which we discussed in the Hide a Folder on Windows Using Third-Party Software section above.

Hide Folders by Redirecting to the Control Panel

Furthermore, we found a method of hiding a folder by redirecting it to the Control Panel. You basically create two batch files, one that locks the folder and one that unlocks it. When the folder is locked, opening it takes you to the Control Panel.

We tested this on Windows 7, 8, and 10 and could not get it to work. The lock batch file successfully renamed the folder, but we could open it and view the contents anyway.

If you want to test it yourself, create a folder called Users or Fonts (or something else related to the Control Panel) and put the files you want to hide into it. Then, create a new text file and copy and paste the following line into it.

Replace Users with the name of your folder. Save this file as lock.bat.

ren Users Users.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}

Then, create another new text file and copy and paste the following line into it. Again, replace Users with the name of your folder. Save this file as key.bat.

ren Users.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D} Users

Both batch files should be in the same folder as the folder you’re hiding (not in the folder). Double-click the lock.bat file to redirect the folder to the Control Panel, hiding the contents of the folder. To unlock the folder, double-click the key.bat file. You should not leave the key.bat file with the folder you’re hiding. Only copy it there to unlock the folder. Then, remove it.

Please let us know if this works for you in the comments below.

A False Sense of Security

Hiding files and folders How to Hide Anything in Windows How to Hide Anything in Windows Windows allows you to tweak and customize almost anything. We show you how to make use of these superpowers to let things disappear. Read More with no password protection should not lull you into a false sense of security. You should not use these methods (except the third-party tools with password protection) to protect very private and sensitive files and folders.

These methods are ways to make your information not obvious to anyone looking over your shoulder or briefly using your computer while you watch.

What other methods do you use to hide files, folders, and drives? Share your ideas and experiences with us in the comments below.

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  1. ReadandShare
    November 10, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Do these methods hide files (like our backup data files) from ransomware as well? Or do we still need to keep our backup's disconnected / offline to remain safe?