There are several reasons why one would want to hide a file or folder. May be, you want to stop others from reading that important file, or perhaps you don’t want others accessing your PC to open up a folder containing pictures or videos that you don’t want to share with others.
While Windows 10, like all earlier versions of Windows operating system, does not offer a way to password protect a file or folder but it does allow you to quickly hide a file or folder.
When you hide a file or folder and when Don’t show hidden files, folders and drives option is enabled in Folder Options, the file or folder doesn’t appear in the File Explorer (Windows Explorer).
In this guide, we will see how you can hide a file or folder in Windows 10.
Hide a file or folder in Windows 10
Step 1: Right-click on the file or folder that you would like to hide. Click Properties to open file/folder properties dialog.
Step 2: Under the General tab, under Attributes section, check the box labelled Hidden. Finally, click Apply button to hide the selected file or folder.
Make File Explorer hide hidden files and folders
The file or folder should disappear from File Explorer when you hide it. And if the file is still showing in File Explorer and file/folder icon is faded out, it’s because the File Explorer is configured to show hidden files and folders. Here is how to change that.
Step 1: Open Folder Options. There are six ways to open Folder Options in Windows 10. The easiest way is to click the File menu in File Explorer and then click Change folder and search options ( or only Options).
Step 2: Switch to the View tab of Folder Options or File Explorer Options. Check Don’t show hidden files, folders and drives option. Click Apply button.
To view hidden files and folders again
Step 1: Open Folder Options. Under the View tab, select the radio button labelled Show hidden files, folders and drives option. Click Apply button.
Step 2: The hidden file or folder should now appear in its original location but the icon will be faded out. Right-click on the file or folder, click Properties, and then uncheck the Hidden checkbox and finally, click Apply button to see the file.
Using third-party tools to hide and password protect files and folders
While the built-in option to hide files and folders is quite good, it doesn’t offer a secure way to hide files and folders yet. Therefore, anyone who gains access to your Windows 10 PC can easily access your hidden files and folders by making appropriate changes to Folder Options.
So, it’s a good idea to use third-party tools like Secret Folder (probably the best in its class) to password protect crucial files and folders in Windows 10.
When it comes to password protecting files and folders, there are quite a few good free software to choose from. You can refer to our top 4 free folder locker software for Windows 10 guide to download the best file and folder locker for Windows 10.