Best Free Folder Hiding Utility

 
Introduction

Folder-hiding utilities help you hide folders you don't want to see, or don't want other people to see.

Most folder-hiding utilities provide a minimal level of secrecy, because your information is hidden but not necessarily encrypted. It's often relatively easy to locate a file in a hidden folder simply by using the Window's "Search" feature. Then again, to do this, you must know what you are searching for.

Other than keeping folders away from prying eyes, you can also use these utilities to hide some system folders that clutter your directories, even if you have Windows set to show hidden files and folders.

 
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Discussion

One recommended utility is My Lockbox from FSPro Labs. It creates a hidden password-protected folder. What makes this utility better than many others is that this folder is not only hidden from view, but it's also hidden from the system and applications as well, and will remain hidden even if the computer is started in safe mode.

Be aware that My Lockbox does not secure your files through encryption, nor is it fool-proof; two users have indicated that they were able to access their folders without using their passwords. With these reservations it still works well to hide a casual folder, but for really important data use a encryption program like TrueCrypt. Please note that as of version 2.9.8, My Lockbox uses the controversial OpenCandy wrapped installer.

 

Another good utility is Free Hide Folder. Usage is simple; just nominate the folders to hide, and they immediately disappear from view. Un-hiding requires the use of a password.

Don't depend on it to hide anything of real importance, because the files in the hidden folder are not hidden from the system and can be found and accessed using the Windows "Search" feature. But if you want to simply hide a folder from user view and still be able to use applications to access the files in that folder without jumping through hoops, it may be just what you're looking for.

Be aware that each time you use the program, it will nag you for a donation.

 

Another alternative, although technically not a folder-hiding utility, is TrueCrypt. TrueCrypt works by creating a completely secure encrypted volume that can be mounted and used just like any other drive.

It uses on-the-fly encryption, which means that your files are decrypted and encrypted as they are opened and saved. Decrypted data is loaded into memory only and is never written to disk, so your files always remain secure.

Use this solution instead of the above utilities if you require the highest level of security for your files.

 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

My Lockbox
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Folder is not only hidden from view, but also from the system and applications, and will remain hidden even if the computer is started in safe mode.
Does not secure your files through encryption, nor is it fool-proof. Uses the OpenCandy wrapped installer (see link in review text for details).
http://fspro.net/my-lockbox/
2.99
3.46 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP/Vista/2003/2008/7

v2.99 released 6 July, 2013
View release notes here

Free Hide Folder
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Usage is simple, just nominate the folders to hide, and they immediately disappear from view.
Files in the hidden folder are not hidden from the system and can be found and accessed using the Windows "Search" feature.
3.0
875 KB
32 bit only
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003
TrueCrypt
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Files are decrypted and encrypted as they are opened and saved, files always remain secure.
http://www.truecrypt.org/
7.1a
3.3 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux

Run this program in portable mode: http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/?s=version-history
v7.1a released 7 February, 2012

 
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Tags

hide holder software, free hide folder software, free folder hiding tool, best free folder hiding utility, top folder hiding software.

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Comments

by dynamite00401 on 10. July 2013 - 3:37  (109090)

I feel the need to add the following. The Author of this article at one point states the following "files always remain secure."
In truth, no data can be truly hidden on a drive. The drives MFT, various FAT's and slack space usage reports can all indicate that there is more data on the disk than the OS reports. In the hands of a HD expert, this information will lead to the discovery of the data. and all but the best data encryption methods can usually be beaten.

by 1idjac on 24. April 2013 - 19:49  (107315)

I just tried to update mylockbox, and the update came with OpenCandy.

by George.J on 10. May 2013 - 7:50  (107627)

Yes it does. Checked it now..

by MidnightCowboy on 10. May 2013 - 8:22  (107630)

Thanks guys. Now included in the product description. MC - Site Manager.

by Mada on 13. April 2013 - 5:04  (107038)

I don't know if it's any good, but have you consider Wise Folder Hider? Also, can't you use these in conjunction with TrueCrypt? For instance, placing the TrueCrypt volume inside of a folder and then hiding it?

by David FB (not verified) on 16. October 2012 - 9:37  (100835)

Free Hide Folder is kinda lame. You have to select the program in the menu, approve it in Windows, enter the password, say Skip to donate. THEN you can hide and unhide.

Too many steps.

by David FB (not verified) on 16. October 2012 - 20:27  (100862)

That said - if you need something VERY light and know the names of the files inside the hidden folder, a quick Search will call them up, skipping all the steps above.

Certainly not secure but easy for casual eyes

by George.J on 17. October 2012 - 3:00  (100879)

Allright what's your favourite? :D

by David FB (not verified) on 17. October 2012 - 5:30  (100882)

Can't say I found one. Tried several suggested in the review and comments. Some sucked, some brought up site safety warnings, etc.

MyLockbox is good, esp. with the shortcut feature but with a limitation of only one in the free version, not that useful.

Didn't like WinMends, worse when it left a hidden mess behind.

TruCrypt's folder got corrupted on me prior so I pulled that one.

Zipping with a password prevents opening the files but you can still see the file list unless you double zip it. Hardly efficient unless it's something you rarely open.

In the end, I left Free Hide Folder (#2 above) on the system for very light hiding. While it's too many steps to open it for routine use, knowing that files are searchable (the folder is hidden but not the files in it) means I don't have to use the program to quick open files. (I DON'T have the location indexed)

I'll be watching for a better option.

by George.J on 10. May 2013 - 8:05  (107628)

Try Wise Folder Hider. It seems to be really good..

by George.J on 3. November 2011 - 2:41  (82632)

WinMend Folder Hidden: http://www.winmend.com/folder-hidden/

My my, the list goes on. Plenty of options available :-).......

by David FB (not verified) on 16. October 2012 - 8:57  (100830)

Winmend does not uninstall properly, leaving both some files in it's install directory and hidden files on every drive.

by George.J on 2. November 2011 - 17:13  (82603)

Free Folder Hider: http://www.freefolderhider.com/
Softnesia Directory Security: http://www.sofonesia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49...
[Second link removed - bad WOT rating]

by irwanwr on 19. August 2012 - 19:39  (97974)

do those other utilities apps got reviewed too yet?
thank you.

by George.J on 2. November 2011 - 16:58  (82601)

TrueCrypt is my choice :-)

by David FB (not verified) on 16. October 2012 - 7:20  (100824)

TrueCrypt used to be mine also, until one day, it wouldn't open, said it was corrupt. As it was encrypted, it wasn't backed up. (some backup programs can't back up encrypted folders)

After trying several times, it opened one day and I emptied it. Then I uninstalled it.

by Jens (not verified) on 15. July 2011 - 18:56  (75563)

The latest version of Axcrypt allows you to batch-encrypt and -decrypt all files in a folder. It will not change the file name.

http://www.axantum.com/axcrypt/

by Concerned User on 10. September 2010 - 8:40  (57568)

Hello,

Microsoft Private Folder does not seem to be so bad:

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Security/Lockdown/Microsoft-Private-Folder....

It validates your system to check if you're running "Genuine Windows" and you cannot specify the path for your hidden folder (default location would be: C:\Documents and Settings\user name\My Private Folder)and it runs only in Windows XP.

Other than these "downsides", it seems to be a neat program. If this has already been reviewed, please excuse.

by Anonymous on 2. April 2010 - 5:59  (46736)

Now WinMend Folder Hidden 1.4.0 was released. Which supports multi-language such as English, French, German, Hungarian, Spanish, Dutch, Arabic, Greek, Korean, Italian, Slovak, Vietnames. You can download it from its official site:

by Anonymous on 14. June 2010 - 20:55  (52113)

I now use WinMend Folder Hidden and find it more stable and reliable than Free Hide Folder, and very easy to use.

by George.J on 27. September 2012 - 20:15  (99871)

Yup, I use WinMend too and it's really awesome utility

by Ritho on 2. April 2010 - 7:42  (46743)

Thanks for your suggestion.

by Anonymous on 10. January 2010 - 21:36  (40800)

Take a look at
Hide Folders 2.2
http://www.hidefolders.org/

by Ahmad on 17. September 2009 - 10:31  (32791)

Why the husle!!!
Just zip your folder with WINZIP or WINRAR and asiggn a pswd to it.

by David FB (not verified) on 16. October 2012 - 9:26  (100833)

Zipping prevents opening them but doesn't prevent the file list from being seen, according to a review of the technique.

by Anonymous on 23. August 2009 - 20:10  (31388)

I use Free Hide Folder for casual security with noncritical folders. It works well on this level. One caution: if you have it set to automatically hide folders on exit, but then you reboot or crash without exiting the program cleanly, your folders won't be hidden when Windows reboots.

by Anonymous on 23. July 2009 - 11:01  (25635)

What about WinMend Folder Hidden?

by Anonymous on 2. May 2009 - 17:07  (20951)

Shouldn't Free Hide Folder be categorised as nagware/shareware instead of freeware?

by Anonymous on 21. February 2009 - 8:08  (16480)

How do you hide folders on a Removable drive, for example a external Hard-disk ?

by equinox747 (not verified) on 26. November 2011 - 22:11  (83947)

I've used Free Hide Folders , this will hide a folder on an external drive, and will not be sen even when searched for, i think this is something to do with vista search indexing? but it does work, however, if you hide a folder in 'C' drive, the contents can still be searched for and accessed. if you know what your looking for. hope this helps somebody:-)

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