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Windows 7: How2 hide a folder without using the Windows "hidden" attribute and...

05 May 2015   #1
pintree3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64
 
 
How2 hide a folder without using the Windows "hidden" attribute and...

A search for how to hide a folder (and subfolders and content) shows 3d party software, or using the hidden attribute in Windows itself. Putting aside 3d party stuff for now what I came upon was this method:
From cmd. Type “CD C:abcd” (replace “abcd” with the name of the folder you want to hide.)2. Now type “attrib file +s +h” and replace “file” with the name of the actual file name you would like to hide.

I tried this method which seemed ideal to me and nothing happened at all I could still see my folder. I assumed using “attrib file +s +h" without the quotes but with spaces shown

Here's what's important: what happens to the hidden folder when i delete a visible folder above it in the folder tree? Will the hidden folder be backed up? Will it be scanned by my AV program? Can the files in the folder be recovered in an emergency such as a system crash?

Also: The hidden file attribute can not be used everything must be visible and accessible except for the hidden folder.
And here's something which I would like but which may not be possible. The folder in question (with other folders within it) is huge about 700GB. Assuming that on the drive where this 700GB folder sits are other folders totaling 50GB. In a 1TB drive this means there is now about 250GB free space. Would it be possible, once hidden, for the drive to show it actually has 950GB free space. In other words if the folder is hidden but one sees that there is only 250GB of free space left then this could raise suspicion.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 May 2015   #2
Pyprohly

Windows 10, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 7 Professional, OS X El Capitan
 
 

Hi,

Just to be clear, the attrib MyFile +s +h command will flag the file MyFile as a Hidden (+h) and System (+s) file.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pintree3 View Post
what happens to the hidden folder when i delete a visible folder above it in the folder tree?
A hidden folder will be treated like any other ordinary folder and will be deleted similarly. However, attempting to delete a System flagged file/folder will result in Explorer prompting confirmation before deletion of that file/folder.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pintree3 View Post
Will the hidden folder be backed up?
Usually that is the case. It depends on what backup software you use. I know SyncToy does backup hidden/system files and folders.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pintree3 View Post
Will it be scanned by my AV program?
Definitely. For obvious reasons.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pintree3 View Post
Can the files in the folder be recovered in an emergency such as a system crash?
If you can recover ordinary, non-hidden files/folders you sure can recover hidden/system files and folders.


Think of file attributes as indicators that Explorer uses to modify how it shows or treats items.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2015   #3
pintree3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64
 
 

Wow Pyprohly I'm impressed. Thank you. I love this forum. Overall people have been great (only 1 exception--a 1st for me whereby one question posed recently received 0 replies).

Now that I'm clear on everything then why has the command I wrote not work? The “attrib file +s +h”
I assumed, based on what I had, that folders are not set to hide while doing so, or else it defeats the purpose but this exact command did nothing as I had said. I place a folder on my D: drive. I named this folder ''00mm00'' just for fun. I placed in it some photos. Did another folder in it. placed more photos within this second folder and then went to my cmd and did this:
from the C: prompt which first shows up
D: enter
CD 00mm00 enter
attrib 00mm00 +s +h enter
and nothing. I could still see my folder
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07 May 2015   #4
Pyprohly

Windows 10, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 7 Professional, OS X El Capitan
 
 

Are you attempting to hide the folder D:\00mm00? It's important, Pintree, that when something isn't working, you should state the error messages you receive, if any.

Allow me to re-enact the Command Prompt session you describe:
Code:
C:\Windows\System32>D:

D:\>CD 00mm00

D:\00mm00>attrib 00mm00 +s +h
File not found - 00mm00
Referring to the last command, when you ran Attrib it was looking for a file/folder named "00mm00" in the directory of D:\00mm00. The Attrib command should have instead been executed when D:\ was the current directory.

A suggestion, rather than Cd-ing your way to the directory containing the item you want to hide, you may simply just specify the fullpath to Attrib.
E.g.
Code:
C:\Windows\System32>attrib "D:\00mm00" +s +h
Will hide 00mm00 regardless of what the current directory is. Do note that the use of double quotes around a path are only mandatory when there's a space in the path.


Here's a small tip, a shortcut from having to type paths out: you may drag and drop items into the Command Prompt as a substitute to typing the item's fullpath. Try typing the command attrib D:\00mm00 +s +h from left to right, drop a folder when the red is reached, and continue with the rest of the command.
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07 May 2015   #5
pintree3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64
 
 

Thanks again buddy. I feel like an idiot and you'll see why. I had misspelled my folder name. ''my'' and not 'mm'. Anyhow, I did it and the folder is now faded--which means, I would guess, that If I now go to the Windows Folder options and check "Hide sytem files and folders" or what-have-you this folder will disappear. But as you know this is not at all what I wanted. So I guess all the trouble in learning this command (well-explained btw, thanks) was to no avail. So what now?
Oh my command was:
D:\>attrib 00my00 +h +s
Exactly as seen above and after Enter
I saw
D:\>
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2015   #6
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 
Folder Options

Also take into account that if you have set your "Folder Options" the same way as in the picture below, you will still be able to see the folder.
How2 hide a folder without using the Windows "hidden" attribute and...-folder-options-show-hidden-system-files.png
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Pyprohly View Post
A suggestion, rather than Cd-ing your way to the directory containing the item you want to hide, you may simply just specify the fullpath to Attrib.
E.g.
Code:
C:\Windows\System32>attrib "D:\00mm00" +s +h
Will hide 00mm00 regardless of what the current directory is. Do note that the use of double quotes around a path are only mandatory when there's a space in the path.
You can also use "Shift + Right click" to enable the "Open command window here" option in the Context menu.
How2 hide a folder without using the Windows "hidden" attribute and...-context-menu-open-command-prompt-here.png
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Pyprohly View Post
Here's a small tip, a shortcut from having to type paths out: you may drag and drop items into the Command Prompt as a substitute to typing the item's fullpath. Try typing the command attrib D:\00mm00 +s +h from left to right, drop a folder when the red is reached, and continue with the rest of the command.
Nice.
I didn't know about that trick (or I'd forgotten it).

W10 has added standard "Copy and Paste" commands to the Command Prompt (i.e. "Ctrl + C" and "Ctrl + V").


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07 May 2015   #7
pintree3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64
 
 

Yes lehnerus2000 that is exactly how I have my folder options. I mentioned this in my initial question that this needs to stay as such. The command above, which I thought would hide my folder, does not hide a folder, it makes a folder hideable (under given circumstances), which is not the same thing. Most of what I have read relates to having such folder options, which to me is weird because, how on earth can this be enough? The purpose of hiding a folder is to hide it from anyone who shouldn't. This may include the one sitting next to you or the IT department from knowing it's there. Do you want the IT dept to know what emails your manager may have sent you. See photos your daughter sent you? Your payment details? etc. Password protecting such a folder is a given--but it can attract attention if this is all you do.
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08 May 2015   #8
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pintree3 View Post
The purpose of hiding a folder is to hide it from anyone who shouldn't. This may include the one sitting next to you or the IT department from knowing it's there.
This is a strong assumption on your part, but it's actually wrong. After reading all the thread I came to the conclusion that you've got the meaning of the "hidden" attribute wrong.

The hidden and system attributes are just ticks attached to each file for use by file managers and system utilities, such as the option in Explorer, for making it easier to the user to focus on its files and prevent messing with the system. It has been always that way, since the DOS days. Any program is free to ignore those at all and there is no enforcement that these attributes must do something in particular. All of those in the properties page of the file are just "eye candy" and should be treated as such.
They're by no means meant to provide any kind of security. They're NOT meant to conceal private data or to hide things from people, which is the reason that you cannot do what you want using them. Treat the as what they are: a way to shorten file listing in explorer, at the user choice. Just eye candy, no privacy or security at all.

Now on the real question............

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pintree3 View Post
Do you want the IT dept to know what emails your manager may have sent you. See photos your daughter sent you? Your payment details?
Certainly not, totally agree.
Windows provides means to do exactly that since long ago, and you should use those instead of the lame hidden attributes. Out of box Windows provides file permissions and separate user profiles which precisely do what you intent, to prevent unauthorized people from seeing what you don't want them to. By default your entire user profile folder is visible only to you (and administrators of course) and anyone else will only get a nice "access denied" when trying to see it.
Putting anything under there (like your desktop or documents folder) are specifically considered private by the system and the system itself will prevent anything, including other people and third party programs, to see those. But to get the system to do so, you must make proper use of user accounts. That means, set a strong password on your account and closing session when you're out. People trying to read your emails will have to know your password then and will obviously have no permissions to even see what's there.



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pintree3 View Post
Password protecting such a folder is a given--but it can attract attention if this is all you do.
What kind of "attraction"? The purpose of the user profile is precisely to contain your private data, everyone knows that. If I were to try to steal anything that's the very first place I would look for. But you don't protect folders, you protect the whole user account and everything under your profile. No one can even know what's in there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 May 2015   #9
pintree3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64
 
 

Sometimes it's good to be paranoid, to not take any chances at all. Especially when it comes to big brother. So now i'll risk it. though i have no criminal record whatsoever and never even hurt a fly (really) i will be heading to a country (u can guess which) whereby many things are restricted like movies and books, which the government may not consider suitable. I've tried as I may to find what could be considered not acceptable but no such list exists--Will X-men be considered too pro-american? Who knows? So yes, I would like to hide the folder where my movies and books are. Now you know (It's not the IT dpt nor the person sitting next to me that I was actually worried about). It's me arriving at the airport, being told to turn on my PC and then a simple search for 'mkv', 'avi', 'pdf'' etc. will show all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 May 2015   #10
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pintree3 View Post
This may include the one sitting next to you or the IT department from knowing it's there. Do you want the IT dept to know what emails your manager may have sent you. See photos your daughter sent you? Your payment details? etc. Password protecting such a folder is a given--but it can attract attention if this is all you do.
Why are you trying to hide folders from your IT department?

If your company's IT policy states they can read your emails, then hiding them is a breach of policy.
In fact, knowing who sent emails to whom and when they were sent is one of the jobs of the IT department.

It seems to be a de facto rule here, that members don't provide assistance to people trying to get around corporate IT policies.
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