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How to Hide Files on Windows 10 Securely

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How to Hide Files on Windows 10 Securely

Keeping the important files secure and learning how to hide files on Windows 10 can come in handy when the computer is used amongst several people. Here’s a complete on how to do that.

Computers have become an intangible part of our very existence, taking over the workforce and personal lives entirely. The modern working space would not exist without computers to send out emails, manage finances, and communicate with clients all around the world. A large part of the computer revolution can be accredited to Microsoft Windows, and the latest version, Windows 10, is spearheading the effort with a promise towards security and safety.

IN some cases, shared computers can seem like public domain, and when it comes to the files stored on computers, your privacy might be at stake. We’ve all got sensitive materials or personal files that we’d rather keep away from prying eyes. However, at first look, there is no apparent way to hide files on Windows 10 operating system. So we went ahead and crafted a guide to help you not only keep those private files tucked away, but also encrypt files as an added security measure.

How to Hide Files on Windows 10 – Official Method

Although it isn’t an openly advertised feature of Windows 10, there is a natively available way to hide files. The ability to hide a file or an entire folder is just a few clicks away, but you need to know where to find it, and here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Hide files and folders on Windows

  1. In the Windows Start menu click and type the File Explorer Options
  2. On the new window, click on View and scroll down to find the Hidden files and folders option in the menu.

  1. Press the radio button next to Don’t show hidden files, folders, and drives and press the Apply button.
  2. Now head over to the file or folder you wish to hide and right-click on it.
  3. Select Properties from the drop-down menu and look for the Attributes section under the General tab.
  4. Select the radio button next to Hidden and press Apply to confirm your action.
  5. A confirmation message will appear, so press OK to confirm and hide the folder along with all the subfolders and files within it.

Step 2: Unhide the files

  1. In the Windows Start menu click and type the File Explorer Options
  2. On the new window, click on View and scroll down to find the Hidden files and folders option in the menu.
  3. Press the radio button next to Show hidden files, folders, and drives and press the Apply
  4. Now head back to the directory location where you’ve hidden the file or folder.
  5. The hidden folder will be visible but shaded transparent to note that it’s marked as hidden.
  6. Right-click on the folder and select Properties from the drop-down menu.
  7. Under the General tab, uncheck the box next to Hidden and press Apply to confirm your action.

Following the steps above, you can hide not just files, but folders and entire disk drives in minutes. However, the same method can be used by any tech-savvy user to figure out how to unhide your personal files. Hence, we recommend that you also take a look at some of the third-party solutions to hide files on Windows 10 PC.

Hide Content on Windows 10 using Operating System Files

Apart from the native solution for hiding files and folders listed above, Windows also has a secret passage for hidden system files. With some ingenuity and the Command Prompt app, you can turn any specific file or folder into system files and hide them from plain sight.

Step 1: Hide content as system files

  1. Open the Run program and type in CMD to run the command prompt app.
  2. In the command prompt menu, type the code attrib +s +h and then add the directory path of the file you want to hide. For instance, we wanted to hide the iCloud Photos folder, so the command line would be:
    attrib +s +h “C:\Users\husai\Pictures\iCloud Photos”

  3. Hit the Enter button and head over to the folder location to confirm that it is now no longer accessible.

Once you have used the steps above to hide a file or folder as a system file, they won’t be visible even if the hidden files menu is disabled from the File Explorer Options.

Step 2: View the hidden files

  1. Open the Run program and type in CMD to run the command prompt app.
  2. This time around, type the code attrib -s -h and then add the directory path of the file you want to unhide. For instance, we wanted to unhide the iCloud Photos folder, so the command line would be:
    attrib -s -h “C:\Users\husai\Pictures\iCloud Photos”
  3. Hit the Enter button and head over to the folder location to confirm that the previously hidden folder is now once again visible.

Encrypt a File or Folder on Windows 10

If you share your computer with nosy siblings who are smart enough to figure out how to unhide your private files and folders, you’re going to need to try harder. The best way to safeguard your content is by encrypting it, and Windows 10 natively offers this ability.

  1. Navigate to the folder or file you wish to encrypt and right-click on it.
  2. Head to Properties where you can find the Advanced button in the General button.
  3. Under the Compress or Encrypt attributes, check the box next to Encrypt contents to secure data and press OK to confirm.
  4. The encrypted file or folder will then appear highlighted in green.

The only downside of this quick and easy encryption feature is that it links the encryption to your Windows user account. While anyone using the same computer with a different profile may not be able to access the encrypted files, if they have access to your Windows account, they will have access to the encrypted files by default.

Hide and encrypt files using Anvi Folder Locker

After discovering the native options to hide and encrypt files on Windows 10, if you’re left desiring more, there are a bunch of robust third-party apps that fit the need. After sieving through some premium file encryption apps for Windows 10, we stumbled across the Anvi Folder Locker, which is a free alternative that seemed to do the job well.

Step 1: Download and install the Anvi Folder Locker app on your computer (Download Link).

Step 2: Launch the app and begin by setting the master password for the encryption app. The software also asks you for your email address to retrieve the password if you ever forget it.

Step 3: Head to the file or folder you want to hide or encrypt and right-click on it to select Lock with Anvi Folder Locker from the drop-down menu.

Step 4: The specific file will be added to the Anvi Folder Locker app, which you can then choose to Hide and Lock or just Lock using the password you previously confirmed.

Step 5: Using Anvi Folder Locker, you can press the Add button and directly encrypt and hide files and folders on the computer.

Step 6: If you choose to keep the file visible, but encrypted, a message box stating that “This file is locked! Please unlock this file with Anvi Folder Locker firstly” will appear.

The reason we especially liked the Anvi Folder Locker app for hiding and encrypting files is the fact that it is free to use and does not bring along any adware either.

Wrapping Up

Even if you have nothing to hide, having some form of privacy and security when it comes to a shared computer is necessary. From personal pictures to sensitive documents, there are all kinds of files you would want to keep out of reach from others. Even if the native features built into Windows 10 do not offer you the peace of mind you desire in hiding files and folders, the third-party solution from Anvi Folder Locker should work swimmingly.

Were you finally able to keep those private files and folders out of reach from others using the same computer? Be sure to share which of the above solutions you prefer the most in the comments section.

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Sharing a love-hate relationship with Biotechnology in Uni, Husain moved on to his true calling of becoming a tech geek. While briefly being persuaded by the Apple clan, he made it back to Team Android, and has been a loyal comrade since, with a keen interest in IoT, Entertainment Tech, and Gaming.

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