How To Quickly Hide Your Web Surfing From The Boss!

Ken Burkes 22-06-2008

How To Quickly Hide Your Web Surfing From The Boss! hide appsA few months back, Aibek wrote a great post on hiding all those ‘important folders’ 2 Ways to Hide "Important" Files and Folders in Windows Read More you might have lying around your desktop. His method is perfect if someone is snooping around your desktop looking for your things.


But what would you do if someone barges into your workspace when you are in the middle of doing ‘important things’? Would you just have to live with the embarrassment?

Luckily, I’ve discovered quite a few ways of getting yourself out of that nasty predicament.

1. Hide Window Hotkey

‘Hide Window Hotkey’ is a nifty little program that has the sole purpose of hiding those naughty important windows you have open. Just download and install the program and you’ll be all set. It has a very simple to follow User Interface and the program does exactly what it’s supposed to. Just check the box of the open program(s) you’d like to hide and you’re done.

In the Options menu (Ctrl+O) you can set the hotkey for hiding and un-hiding to be whatever you want it to be. The default is F8 to hide the selected windows, and Ctrl+F8 to unhide the windows.

How To Quickly Hide Your Web Surfing From The Boss! hide window hotkey


You’re also given the option to hide things with your mouse, which is what I usually do. Just click both the left and right mouse buttons and your window will be hidden. This is a very innovative tool and is completely free to use. However, if you do like the software, be sure to send some donations to Elongsoft for creating such an awesome program.

2. Workfriendly

How To Quickly Hide Your Web Surfing From The Boss! work friendly 1

Unlike the other methods mentioned here, Workfriendly doesn’t give you a way to hide your work quickly. Rather, it’s a website that will mask whatever you’re looking at inside a window that looks exactly like Microsoft Word 2003. This way, you can look at whatever website you want without your boss knowing because to them, it just looks like you’re typing something in Word. Although this seems like a great idea, there are some slight problems with it. The main thing I noticed was that it doesn’t display pictures or video so it’s not going to be useful when you’re watching YouTube videos or looking at Flickr. Another problem was that you can’t designate how large you want the Word window to be, so it’ll be perfect for those people at work who have small 800×600 screens.

How To Quickly Hide Your Web Surfing From The Boss! work friendly 2


Another great feature included is the little “˜Boss Key’ button at the top. Just hover your mouse over it and the page you’re on will be transformed into an article about procrastination. I doubt you’ll be using it much because websites are only displayed in words anyways. Workfriendly is a great website, especially for those addicted to reading blogs. Now you can read Make Use Of at work without being detected by your boss.

3. Virtual Desktop Managers (VirtuaWin)

This is my favorite way of hiding things from others, and the great thing is that Virtual Desktop Managers can also be used to actually get some work done. Virtual Desktop Managers are programs that allow you to have multiple desktops within your own desktop, making it easier to work on separate projects.

For example, you could have games on one desktop, blogs on another, and whatever you’re working on on the third desktop. It’s really a handy way of organizing your desktop. The best thing about it is that you can use most Virtual Desktop Managers to hide your active windows from those prying eyes.

How To Quickly Hide Your Web Surfing From The Boss! virtuawin


You can use any Virtual Desktop Manager you want, but it’s best if you choose one that supports shortcuts. My personal favorite is VirtuaWin although you can use whichever you want. For those that are using VirtuaWin, just download and install the program. Next, you’ll want to go into ‘Setup’ and click on the ‘Mouse’ tab. Then check the box that says ‘Enable Mouse Desktop Changing’ and hit ‘OK’.

Then, you can have all work-related things on one desktop and everything else on a separate desktop. Whenever someone barges into your room, you just need to move the mouse to the edge of the screen and the desktop will change. No more jumping and scrambling to press certain hotkeys. You can now browse whatever you want without being worried about getting caught.

4. Make use of what you have.

Excluding Workfriendly, the methods of hiding active windows I’ve discussed all require you to download and install some programs. Unluckily for most of us in a workplace, you’re not given the rights to download and install programs. Of course, we could still use Workfriendly, but I’d still want to watch people on YouTube hurt themselves and make myself feel better when I’m working. So, I thought it would be useful to develop a set of directions for being about to hide your windows without needing to download other tools.

    • (1) First off, set up your desktop the way it would be when you’re actually working on something. Take a screenshot of the screen using the “˜PrtScn’ button located at the top right of most keyboards.

(2) Open up MS Paint and paste the screenshot. Then save it to the desktop or somewhere easy to access.


(3) Right click on the image and set it as the background.

(4) Hide your desktop icons by right clicking anywhere on the desktop and un-checking ‘Show Desktop Icons’.

(5) Hide the taskbar by right clicking on it and hitting the ‘Properties’ button. Then check the box that says ‘Auto Hide the Taskbar’.

After doing all that, you should be able to look at whatever you want. If someone decides to be snobby and peeks at your screen, quickly hit ‘Window Key + D’ to minimize everything. As long as the person doesn’t examine your screen closely, it’ll just look like you’re working.

Hopefully, these methods can help you avoid the embarrassment of being caught looking at odd things at work. Do you know a great way of hiding your work? Talk about it in the comments!

(By) Ken Burkes is an active web surfer who diggs, stumbles, and blogs in his free time. Being too lazy to get a blog of his own, you should stay up to date with Make Use Of to find more of his articles.

Related topics: Online Privacy, Procrastination.

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  1. Syahid A.
    June 24, 2008 at 7:58 am

    You forget one more -> Magic Boss Key! Uber cool software to hide from boss from hell. :D

    • Ken Burkes
      June 24, 2008 at 11:10 am

      Oh, I use Magic Boss Key all the time. As much as I love it, I find it a bit 'too' simple. As of right now, there is no option to hide certain windows with your hotkey. You either hide all of them, or none of them. However, it is still extremely easy to use and also quite a small download.

  2. Aibek
    June 24, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Great tips Ken !!!

  3. Nurilized
    June 24, 2008 at 12:45 am

    I have used Anti Boss Style in the past. It's a cool program too...
    Check it out at:

  4. Kasi viswanath
    June 22, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    I have successfully used the 4th one, a few years ago and trust me, it works wonders! Good luck!

  5. Andrew
    June 22, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    I use a very small freeware program called Mr. Hyde. It is invisible to the naked eye and utilizes a hotkey to hide what you want.

  6. Lee Mathews
    June 22, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Important to remember folks....Most large companies are probably running an rackmounted firewall or server of some sort that's also logging your web activity - and you have no control over that, unless you're the IT guy. Even if you remove the evidence from your own PC, chances are good that your corporate environment has records of it elsewhere!

    • Ken Burkes
      June 22, 2008 at 9:01 pm

      I completely agree. Unless it's an emergency, you shouldn't be looking at things you're not supposed to be looking at when you're working. Those scary IT guys usually keep track of what you're doing, although smaller companies don't really bother.

      You can still use these methods at home to hide sensitive things from your family or girlfriend/wife. Use your imagination.

      • dude
        June 26, 2008 at 7:16 am

        Yes...this is what is more valuable. Is there any way to disguise our internet browsing from the server?

        I didn't think so...but it's worth asking!

  7. Ken Burkes
    June 22, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks for the comments you guys.

    @Andrew: I've actually tried Mr. Hyde out, and although it works great, I have to say it seems more complicated than the Hide Window Hotkey. Nevertheless, those who are interested should try it out. You can read about it here (

    @Kasi: Glad to know you use it as well. The 4th method might not seem like it'll work, but if you have fast reactions and your boss isn't the snoopy kind, you can safely hide any windows. Got to love 'Windows Key + D'.