Summary: There are a lot of utilities over the web that can hide particular files or folders on the Windows. These utils offer an easy way for hiding files – by means of file system request filtering. But it does not mean 100% data security. Actually the hidden files and folders can be seen in other way. If you need a more effective security you should choose virtual encrypted disk tools.
How to hide folder or restrict access to it for other users
It’s reasonable that everyone wants to hide private documents, programs or other data from too curious persons, especially if your information is secret. You can use:
- Special programs for files\folders hiding. Such programs like Folder Lock, Hide Folders XP and others can hide folders and files or lock them by a password.
- Windows built-in features: Set folder\file attributes as hidden. Or use NTFS permissions. This feature is used to set up access rights to particular folders or files on NTFS volumes.
Folders and files with “hidden” attribute:
- Invisible in File Explorer to the other users, if the user has turned on the option “Do not show hidden files and folders”
- Visible through Total Commander or FAR file managerÂ that don’t use standard dialog to display folders and files.
It’s convenient to use this method because no additional efforts are needed to hide information. One mouse click is enough to make folder or file invisible.
How to hack hidden folders (reveal them)?
Not all the “Hide Folder” tools will securely hide your data.
A lot of such programs can hide files only for a current operating system. But what happens if two or more OS are installed on the computer? What if you need to hide a folder on USB flash drive or portable HDD ? Information will be hidden on your Windows, and visible in another one.
Simple hiding or changing access control can be broken in the following cases:
- Your computer was loaded in other operating system (OS) or the other OS was loaded with CD-ROM, e.g. Live CD with Windows or Linux. All the files and folders will be visible. In other Windows which will be linked up to your HDD disk, all the files will be visible because there will be no security and any limits.
- Windows startup in Safe Mode. All the files and folders are visible in Safe Mode, even those ones that were hidden by hiding programs. While loading in Safe Mode Windows is loading the drivers necessary for system work, and leave out the driver-filters in order to prevent all possible soft faults.
- If you use Portable HDD or USB flash drive
If you hide a folder on USB flash drive and connect it to other computer, you can see and open all the hidden files and folders. You may also see the folders the access to which was prohibited (in NTFS). There is the other way to see the files hidden by the hiding programs. You should have the Admin’s rights (an account with admin’s authorities). Thus, if you are a system administrator, you can uninstall (delete) the hiding programs, or to load the computer in safe mode. In that case all the hidden files will be visible.
Data Encryption for strong security
How to avoid the difficulties aforesaid (to hide a folder and protect it from unauthorized access)? Encryption is one of data security methods. You select the data and enter the password to access it. If you are the only password keeper, only you will access the information!
Data can be encrypted for robuster security. By means of special encryption algorithms the data is changed so that even if the file is open, it will be impossible to read it – it will look like a mess. In order to see the original data, it must be decoded by the same encryption algorithms.
Using disk encryption you can:
- Hide your sensitive files and folders
- Protect your information from unauthorized access
Rohos Disk: Encrypts and hides
If you use several methods of security, your information will be stored more securely. This method was used in Rohos Disk.
This is how Rohos Disk works:
- All the data is stored on the virtual encrypted disk created by Rohos. The data is being encrypted on the fly with an AES encryption algorithm.
- When you stop working with files from virtual encrypted disk, you just turn off the disk. The disk and all the data stored in it becomes inaccessible until you turn it on again. The disk is a file having the size of the same disk This file can be seen, but it can be encrypted, thus the data stored in it is inaccessible.
- You may have a USB token instead of a password in order to open virtual encrypted disk.
- Portable encryption allows to hide and protect a part of USB flash drive.