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How to Hide a Drive in Windows So that No One Will Know it’s There

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When you add a drive to your PC, by default it gets a drive letter, whether it is a removable drive or even a fixed hard drive inside of your PC. Lets take a look at how we can hide these drives.

Note: This will completely hide the drive, even from you. You’ll have to open up disk management to un-hide it.

To hide a drive you need to open a disk management snap-in, to do this right click on computer and select manage.

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When the computer management MMC opens, double click on the storage option.

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Now choose to open the disk management snap-in.

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When the disk management console opens, look for the drive that you want to hide in the bottom section of the  snap-in. Right click on it and choose the Change Drive Letter and Paths.. option from the context menu.

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When the dialog box pops up hit the remove button so that it does not have a drive letter.

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You will be prompted warning you that programs that use drive letters will no longer function, choose yes to continue.

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That’s all there is to it guys, now when you go to My Computer the drive will be gone.

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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 11/9/11

Comments (35)

  1. MNeMiC

    Worth noting here is that the drive also cannot be used.

    I thought this hack was to hide it from “my computer”, but still allow it to be accessed by manually entering the address to the drive in RUN for example.

  2. Chronno S. Trigger

    In that same window where you remove the drive letter, you can also mount it to an empty NTFS folder on another drive. Bury the empty folder in some sub folders, like System32, and the drive can still be used, but not easily found.

  3. Pete

    Seeing as the drive can no longer be used, it’s easier just to unplug it than go through all those steps.

    This a very very poor article.

  4. The Geek

    The whole point of this article is to show how it’s possible to completely hide a drive.

    No need to whine and complain.

  5. Mike

    This would not be the internet if there were not whiners and complainers

  6. Irish_IT

    ^Hit the nail right on the head buddy!

  7. Edwa

    Wow, this people lack the intelligence to figure out things like these, and on top of that they complaint because they don’t know what to do with it….some people just love to be spoon-fed.

  8. User

    Hum, just give it back a letter when you want to use it “on demand”… Then remove the drive letter… Total Stealth. Ninja style.

  9. Pat

    Speaking of stealth… there’s gotta be an AutoHotKey way to do this based on the drive’s hardware ID or something.

  10. Tom

    This would not be the internet without humanity.

    This would not be humanity without whiners.

  11. Techy1984

    *whiney tone* But I want to hide the drive AND find and use it easily…
    Sorry, couldn’t resist, ^_^. Great article I certainly did not know you could hide a drive and keep it on the system without some special encryption software or utility.

    My only input would be to include that it can be mounted in the Disk Management console if needed to bury files as ‘MNeMiC’ mentioned. Might eliminate confusion.

  12. Kenny

    Hidden yes, but that’s just a natural SIDE EFFECT of being disabled. You know, kinda like unplugging the drive and throwing it in the trash, then saying it’s hidden. Adding what Chronno S. Trigger said to your article would be GREAT.

  13. Seasider2

    This is where I believe the article originated
    http://www.7tutorials.com/how-hide-or-dismount-partition-windows 1st November 2011.
    At least Tiny Hacker had the courtesy to provide a link.

  14. Peter

    I think my only small complaint with this article is that it doesn’t live up to the normally high standards. I normally expect to see something like, “Now that you’ve made the config change, here’s how you use it ….” but that’s missing here.

    I can do my own experimentation but that would have saved some time. Thanks, author, for the idea anyway.

  15. Taylor Gibb

    hmmm. Well i can certainly tell you one place that it can be used, if you have ever plugged a wireless mouse dongle into your PC and have the option to view hidden folders turned on, the drive will still be shown in My Computer, like a USB but you cant open it, instead turning of hidden folders off you can just use the method described to remove the drive from My Computer. Also for all those people who wish to throw your drives away, firstly this can be done for internal drives? and secondly if you throw the drive away you can no longer view anything on the drive with this method you could always assign it a drive letter when you want to see whats on the drive. Just saying.

  16. Taylor Gibb

    in fact that whole wireless dongle thing is the example i used in the article

  17. The Geek

    @Seasider2

    We did not steal the article from anywhere. Taylor wanted to write about hiding his wireless dongle, and I made the article more broad without ever reading the 7Tutorials article.

    The reality is that two separate sites that both write about Windows 7 topics are going to have overlap in the topics that are covered. This was just an coincidence.

  18. sikas

    Hey guys, this is actually great, yet there is ONE drawback. The drive won’t be accessible … if there is a way to access the drive, please share it.

  19. Kerry Liles

    Looks like an interesting idea for people who might want to temporarily hide a disk drive before going through a border crossing inspection, *cough* *cough* lol

    That was the first thing that came to mind… sorry to say!

  20. Seasider2

    @The Geek. I am not accusing anyone of stealing anything.
    I am under the impression that Tiny Hacker and HTG are affiliated as it says at the bottom of the Tiny Hacker web page ” Copyright © 2011 How-To Geek”.
    Curious goings on.

  21. Ushindi

    Had to laugh – this is one where I enjoyed the comments more than the article…

  22. Oldtimer88

    I always look for every issue of HTG, great source of good and practical stuff. Today,,,, well, it was a “Monday” on Wednesday.
    Yes, it may be good to go hacking and see what happens, but, here? the historical record of this forum is its practicality that many have learned to expect and use to make their computing lives more interesting or easier.

    I suscribe to the solution part suggested by Pat: “,,,,Speaking of stealth… there’s gotta be an AutoHotKey way to do this based on the drive’s hardware ID or something.” So the question is, IS THERE SUCH A THING? or the possibility of it in the near future?

    thanks, Oldtimer88

  23. Mike

    Good start of an article. Not that I would do any better. That’s why I do what I do and leave the articles and blogs to others. That aside, for the stealth angle, yes it would do best to mount the drive to a folder and bury the folder, then set the hidden and or the system attribs to make it usable and very hidden. I have done this in vmware running a server setting up the addc and dns. Funny though. After some time passed, I had forgotten about it and was viewing the VM’s setting and saw 2 extra drives that I absolutely could not find till I set up another server and … let’s just say a light came on.

    One reason for hiding a drive for normal, above the table operation would be as in a dual boot situation. One OS couldn’t affect the other. Acronis will do this for you auto-like. I have had quicktime (I think) reside on two separate OS’s on the same machine. The quicktime on the second not-in-use installation could not be deleted because it was seen as in use in the current booted OS, though the quicktime in use was a totally different copy on a separate partition or drive.

    There is my 2 cents. More like 5 or 6 but who’s counting?

    Mike

  24. Roi

    Ooooh useful! Thanks The Geek, always helpful as ever! :)

  25. bleeprz

    Can anyone tell me why this would be useful for some people? I personally need to see all of my drives, whereas someone else would need their drives hidden for some reason.

  26. Philllip

    It’s been so many years that I no longer remember how to do this. However, under Windows 2000 you could do the following:

    1. Create a dual-boot setup. The default partition is, say, Windows 2000. The second partition has a name like Recovery Console or something.
    2. Modify the registry (I forget exactly how) to make the partitions point to the wrong location. You can’t do it on the active partition, you have to change it on the other. Do both. It’s in three steps (e.g., 1 to 3, 2 to 1, 3 to 2.)
    3. Boot into the partition. The alternate partition is no longer usable from the other partition, because the registry points to the “wrong” location. Disk management shows it as unformatted or something.
    4. Keep your sensitive data in the “recovery” partition. It’s not visible from the default boot partition.

    Sorry I can’t be more precise, but it’s been a while.

  27. Rob

    I have used this after putting a windows 7 installation on my USB Drive so that it doesn’t show up when I need the drive for everyday use.
    140GB – Files
    10GB – Win7 Installer

  28. tommy2rs

    All well and good but will it hide a drive from a linux live cd/usb drive? Or from prying eyes peeking at your bios/EFI/UEFI? Or just from your average windows user?

    Twisted minds want to know….lol. Sounds like a project for the next rainy weekend when I’m bored.

  29. SurfMan

    If you want to hide your pornstash just slap it on a WD Passport and keep it on you the whole day :D

  30. Frank Verano

    Although I can understand the reasons for hiding a whole drive, I found it necessary to hide a complete email account. So I did it. But why? It is conceivable that you positively do not want anybody else to see some of your emails but still have the computer available for others in your environment without the need to use passwords to make your computer inaccessible. The procedure is simple and effective. Anybody can know how to do it yet nobody can easily find out another’s ‘secret’ account.
    It is somewhat like the hidden hard drive. But if you know that physically there is a second hard drive, you can find it. But if you don’t know that there is a hidden email account, how can you find it?

  31. Abhay Mittal

    You should add one more title to it- ‘For Win XP’ or some thing like that. Because, this method also works on Win XP & Vista. But, you may have to post some new lines due to the only difference in menu options (right-click menu) o different Windows.
    Thank you

  32. scooter

    How do you reinstall it? How do you un hide it incase you ever forget it is there? Not that i have a need to hide one yet but doing the network at a Doctors Surgery i could use a mapped drive for all the pap smear patients, hide the drive but make sure i didn’t forget i hid it? I have a memory like a sieve. I do like your websites and the comments :) Keep up the good work and the cartoons.

  33. Dave

    One use of such an unlettered partition (referred to in this article as a hidden drive) is as a TrueCrypt volume. One can encrypt the whole partition in TrueCrypt by clicking “Create Volume”, then “Encrypt a non-system partition/drive”. After TrueCrypt creates the encrypted partiton it can be used by clicking “Select Device” and choosing the device where the partition was created, for example Hard Disk 0 Partition 2 (which is easily recognized as it has no drive letter and is the correct size). Before the partition is mounted (requires the password) a drive letter is chosen to mount to, and while it’s mounted that drive letter will show up on My Computer and be usable as an ordinary drive. When not mounted the partition will NOT show up in My Computer, though it will show up in Disk Management as a RAW, Healthy Primary Partition.

  34. James

    Thanks for this tip, I have two hardrives on my laptop and it is a pain to remove the 2nd one, (have to take the case apart) so this is very helpful

  35. Fe

    I was soooooo ready to kill @TaylorGibb when I realized there was no continuation on the portion of un-hiding the hidden. Till I read @Seasider2′s original comment and when to the link the provided, and found the reverse operation in detail. The only bad thing was that windows command doesn’t povide a way to copy text and I had to copy the whole thing wasting my precious seconds!.

    So taylor, better thank Seasider, coz he just deflected your bullet!

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