How-To Geek

How to Hide and Password Protect Applications You Want to Keep Private


If you open a lot of programs at one time in Windows, your desktop can get quite chaotic and messy. One of those many windows may be displaying private data, and it’s easy to lose track of it and accidentally leave it visible.

If you leave your workstation or need to show something to your boss or co-worker, wouldn’t it be helpful if you can protect and hide specific windows displaying private information? We will show you two free tools you can use to easily protect your private windows.

NOTE: The program displayed in the image above, LockNote, allows you to securely store private information in a text file and protect it with a password.


WinLock is a lightweight tool that’s designed to hide and password protect any focused window. The selected window is password protected and minimized to the system tray.

When you run WinLock, a small window displays asking you to enter a main password. This password is applied to each window you lock, including the WinLock window itself.

Once you enter the password, click the Hide WinLock To Taskbar Tray button.


To lock a window, click on the desired window to bring focus to it and then press the Ctrl + Space hotkey combination. The window is locked and minimized to the system tray. Double-click on the window’s icon in the system tray to access it again.

02_wl_access protected_window

Enter the password you specified when you first started WinLock and click OK.


Close WinLock by clicking the X button in the upper, right corner of the main window.


Window Hider

Window Hider is similar to WinLock in that it allows you to easily hide open windows. However, unlike WinLock, the window you are hiding does not have to have focus. Hidden windows are minimized, but do not display directly in the system tray. Therefore, these windows are not as obvious to anyone else using your computer. Also, a password is not required to hide a window.

Window Hider does not need to be installed. Simply run the .exe file you downloaded. It is immediately minimized to the system tray. Right-click on the Window Hider icon to access the menu. The Hide submenu displays all the windows currently open on your desktop, even if they are minimized. Select a window from the menu to hide it.


The Window Hider dialog box displays. By default, you are asked for a password to protect the window. If you don’t want to apply a password to the window, click the No Password check box. Otherwise, enter a password to protect the window and click Hide.


A warning dialog box displays telling you that forgetting your password will be catastrophic. Click OK.


The hidden window is moved from the Hide menu to the Show menu. Select it from the Show menu to show the menu again.


If you applied a password to the window, Window Hider will ask you for the password. Enter it and click Show.


To close Window Hider, right-click on the Window Hider icon in the system tray and select Exit from the popup menu.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 03/15/13

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