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Make a Super Hidden Folder in Windows Without any Extra Software

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Almost anyone knows how to make a “hidden” folder in Windows, but then again almost anyone knows how to make explorer show hidden folders. Let’s take a look at how to make a folder so hidden, only you will know its there.

Anyone that has used Windows for a while knows that they can right-click on a file or folder and edit its properties, more so its attributes to make it a so called “hidden” file or folder. The problem is that just as many people know you can show files and folders that have the “hidden” attribute by simply changing a radio button under the folder view options. The easiest way to make a real hidden file or folder is to mark it as an important operating system file, that way Windows wont display it even if explorer is set to display hidden files and folders.

To do this we need to launch a command prompt, so press the Win + R key combination and type cmd then hit the enter button.

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Now we are going to use the attrib command, so go ahead and type:

attrib +s +h “C:\Users\Taylor Gibb\Desktop\Top Secret”

You will need to replace the stuff in the inverted comma’s to an absolute path of a folder or file on your system  that you want to make hidden.

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Now if I go look for the Top Secret folder on my Desktop it is gone, even with explorer set to show hidden files and folders.

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To unhide the file or folder you can run the same command, except this time use “-“ instead of the “+” signs.

attrib -s -h “C:\Users\Taylor Gibb\Desktop\Top Secret”

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Like magic, my folder appeared again.

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Warning

While this method will catch 99% of people, if I knew for a fact that there was a hidden folder on a system that I was looking for there are many ways that will expose the folder. The easiest would be to make explorer show operating system files, which can be done through the same interface as showing hidden files.

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Although any ordinary user who unchecks the box will most probably be scared off by the warning message that appears.

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Hope this was informative, now go hide all your things Smile

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 02/13/12

Comments (51)

  1. Amir

    i know this trick. anybody know a good free software i can use on a pc and on a flash drive to lock a directory with a password?

  2. Fab

    If you want a hidden protected folder that cannot be found or even proved to exist, TrueCrypt offers a beautiful option.

    The software is free to use and encrypts the entire data. With no information on what to look for, no correlation between your hidden data and the bits on the harddrive can be found and hence the “data” looks to be unformatted disk space.

    http://www.truecrypt.org

    Enjoy ;)

  3. Johnny

    I doesn’t work in Windows XP Pro. I can still see the folder that suppose to be invisible for me.

  4. Paulo Vitor Airaghi

    Hi @Taylor Gibb. Nice trick! Thank you!

    @Amir. I don’t know if it’s what you need, but you can encrypt a portion of your HDD with True Crypt and create directories within….
    This app is portable as well, and can be downloaded at the manufacturer’s website at
    http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads
    Hope this help!

  5. ideabug

    that was informative.. liked the little tweak

  6. Aaron

    @Amir. Folder / File encryption might be what you are looking for. I use TrueCrypt. http://www.truecrypt.org

  7. TerribleTech

    T r u e C r y p t
    Free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux
    Create Encrypted folders or drives of any size.

    http://www.truecrypt.org/

  8. Rahul Sharma

    can anyone know how to use this technique for a file or folder with a name consisting more than one words???

  9. Jim

    Nice, HTG does it again!

  10. Paul

    I use Winrar to encrypt any private files. The encryption is very strong. Only problem is that it can be deleted easily.

  11. John

    Try AxCrypt (portable) for password protected encryption of folders, files on that USB Stick. x86 or x64 supported freeware.

    http://www.axantum.com/AxCrypt/Downloads.html

  12. Geraldgiap

    For Amir:

    KaKa Folder Protector, free and available from CNET.

  13. Bron

    I just keep a 32GB ironkey flash drive in my fanny pack at all times – no one knows it’s there and if they find it – only truth serum will reveal how to access it – but I would sooner crack the cyanide capsule in my left molar before disclosing that information.

  14. Taylor Gibb

    @Bron HA! that wouldnt happen to be the IronKey Drives that you can buy from ThinkGeek would it?

  15. kbiel

    So, you marked the folder (or file) as “system”. Anyone can see those just as easily as hidden files. Just like hidden files, you can tell explorer to show system files. That option is even shown in your screen grab above. Both can be listed at a command prompt by typing “dir /ah /as”.

  16. Diederik Pretorius

    FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!

  17. Gerard

    If I make a “Top Secret” folder on a USB stick, hiding it as shown above, can I plug it into another PC and expect the folder to remain hidden???

  18. caswm42

    A more secure way to prevent a user (except for an administrator) from changing the attribute options under Folder Options is to restrict access alltogether to this panel. I did it one time in the registry for XP Pro, but I cannot figure out how to do it in Win 7.

  19. kbiel

    Gerard,

    No. As I indicated, all another user has to do us turn off the “Hide System Files” option in explorer or type “dir /as” at the CMD prompt.

  20. Bob

    first thing I do after installing Windoze (XP, Vista or 7) is to go into Folder Options / View and make all file extensions visible, all hidden files visible and all operating system files visible. Not much remains hidden after that.

  21. Peter

    Security by obscurity is not real security.
    If your information is that sensitive, you need to encrypt it.
    As others have said, TrueCrypt is awesome for that task.

  22. Hannibal

    “SUPER HIDDEN FOLDER”??? Rubbish. It only takes a Win Explorer command to reveal ALL “system files”, among which is your “secret” one. Child’s play. It’s not worth wasting this website public’s time with a silly and useless trick like this.

  23. Mason

    The contents and folder name still come up in a search, so someone can stumble upon the contents and open the contents. I have tested this.
    Its still very Cool and I will use it. Thanks HTG

  24. Matt

    I didn’t see any inverted commas in your command line, only quotation marks.

  25. Al

    As already mentioned, this will not always work. The S attribute is a system file, therefore, a person can simply uncheck the box saying “Hide Protected Operating System Files(Recommended)” and it will show. Immediately upon reading this i thought that would happen, and since my computer is set up to show OS files, i confirmed that this is the case. So, it might not be as hidden as you think.

  26. Al

    Wait, was the article just updated? It seemed more appeared after i hit submit about the OS files.

  27. sanket jain

    @ Amir – I use USB Safeguard. It s a super simple free tool which lets you password protect a USB.

    Sophos also offers a free software that lets you encrypt any file/ folder.

    http://usbsafeguard.altervista.org/
    http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-free-encryption.aspx

  28. Aitch

    I found I had to use an elevated command prompt to make this work.

  29. Teiji

    I use “My Lockbox” to hide my NSFW folder. It’s working flawlessly and fast and can’t be open, search, etc. once the folder is locked.

    http://fspro.net/my-lockbox/

  30. Phil

    Free File Camouflage works well. With this application, a file can be hidden within another e.g. hiding a text document inside an image file. The only clue to its presence is the slightly increased file size of the containing file – which you wouldn’t be aware of unless you knew the original file size.

  31. Xavier

    You can also access the folder by just typing the folder’s address on the address bar. No need to remove the attributes to show.

  32. kishore

    !!!!! Nice trick !!!!!

  33. Amir

    @ everyone who replied to me. you guys are awesome! thanks.

  34. Amir

    @Phil. yeah, changing extension for sensitive files is a neat trick. i use it all the time too.

  35. d3

    Or even try MEO Encryption…..courtesy of NCH software! =P

    its small and convenient software! =P

  36. Paul

    To all the TrueCrypt lovers: yeah, using TrueCrypt to hide and show a 100 GB folder is going to be really convenient and fast. NOT. Think about what you’re recommending!

  37. Paul

    To all the TrueCrypt lovers: encrypting and decrypting a 50 GB folder is neither fast nor convenient, so why recommend it? It’s not a good solution.

  38. Paul

    Sorry for the double post, the first one didn’t show up at first.

  39. Paul

    And the only reason this “tip” works is because OS files have been marked hidden.

  40. badger_fruit

    Rahul asked: “can anyone know how to use this technique for a file or folder with a name consisting more than one words???”

    If I may suggest that you read the article as the example shown uses more than one word …
    Also, for those saying that this isn’t the best way to hide a folder, sure, it’s probably not but come on guys, a little credit, I’d bet there are thousands of users who didn’t know how to do this and for them it’s a neat little trick which doesn’t need extra or 3rd party software to be able to do.

  41. Jay

    I have to echo what people are saying about TrueCrypt. I have used it for some time to encrypt full external USB drives. Done properly, the drive will appear to be a brand-new unformatted drive.

  42. GeekinTexas

    “inverted comma’s”

    I don’t even know where to start…

  43. Tailer

    @Amir
    I use Safehouse Explorer to encrypt. It’s easier to figure out than Truecrypt.

  44. Raees

    How to mark a folder or file as an important operating system file?

  45. John M. Carden

    Just tried this trick on my laptop, with the folder located on the Desktop. It just shows the folder as hidden, just like any other hidden folder. I’m on a Lat. D830 running Vista Business Service Pack 1.

  46. Ankur

    Wow , This is really cool tip for hiding folders.

    Would certainly use it as there is no need to install anything else.

  47. abhinav

    it just made my folder transluscent!! i can see it!!.. its just become a lil tranparent! can somebody help!

  48. WhytteDragun

    @Paul Why would you decrypt it at all? Truecrypt offers the option to mount your encrypted volumes. Windows reads it as another drive which you can read from and write to in real time. When you’re ready for it to be hidden again, simply dismount the drive. It is neither slow nor inconvenient. You just have to type your password to mount and 2 clicks to dismount. Check your facts before criticizing someone’s recommendations.

  49. 3li

    good
    i’m downloading trucrypted and i will use it

  50. KnightFall1183

    If I need to encrypt a single file or a couple of files, I use 7zip to add the files to a .7z archive and just add the password protection with it. 7zip uses 256 AES encryption so I feel they are fairly secure.

    My sister had her laptop stolen and was forced to use her daughters laptop to do her computing. The bad thing about that is that her daughter’s father bought her the laptop and insists that she bring it with her when she comes to visit. He is somewhat computer savy so she knows he’s trying to snoop. So my took the laptop and created a Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) for her. He then installed iTunes and her iTunes library onto the Virtual Hard Drive. After it was created, he stripped all of the permissions off of it and made it so that only my sister was able to access it. Another good thing about the having the Virtual Hard Drive is that they have to be manually mounted after each reboot and can be manually unmounted when you’re done using it. So not only will he probably not know that the Virtual Hard Drive is there, but he wont be able to access it unless he knows my sister’s password. Also, the Virtual Hard Drive is stored as a file so that file can be encrypted as well. I use this method for a few reasons as well and I found a registry entry that put “mount” and “unmount” on the right-click context menu.

    Basically, I use the VHD for any personal documents I want safe. And since it shows up as a file, I can easily back up all the information with one file copy.

  51. 123e

    i want to hide only files in the folder but not the entire folder as i have did it previous it successfully works out but i have forgotten that method can u plz send me how to do it ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    thank u

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