For Your eyes Only
Hide files on your computer
SUPPOSE: YOU ARE PLANNING A SURPRISE PARTY FOR YOUR DEAREST. YOU MAKE LISTS WITH GUESTS, MAYBE MAKE A SENTIMENTAL MOVIE, COLLECT PHOTOS FOR A COLLAGE AND EXCHANGE IDEAS WITH FRIENDS. AND TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PARTY STAYS A SURPRISE, NATURALLY YOU MAKE SURE YOUR PARTNER DOES NOT FIND YOUR PLANS. HOW DO YOU HIDE YOUR FILES THE BEST?
The most important tip for those who like a bit of privacy is of course creating multiple accounts on your computer. One for you, one for your partner and possibly one or more for the children. That's how everyone keeps his favorite settings and you never have to delete your browsing history. This workshop assumes that you have not been so clever and that you do not want to start with it now. Even if you've created another account, this workshop can help you hide the files better. I use multiple layers of security here, but keep in mind that no file is uncrackable. Does your friend work for the Computer Crime Unit and you go to behave suspiciously, then you will sooner or later be screwed..
STEP 1 / THE RIGHT ENCRYPTION
Step one in each handbook for secret agents or wannabe spies is locking or encrypting your files. For that, I use the 7-Zip file manager. This is one of the many compression programs for files, and convenient on 7-Zip is that the software has a decent encryption onboard.
Although a program like My Lockbox (and similar) might be easier to use, 7-Zip has the additional advantage that it is a rather innocent-looking program. So there is not all the suddenly a obvious looking encryption program on your computer. You can find 7-Zip at www.7-zip.org. The program is free, and installation is pretty obvious.
As mentioned, the program is free. So download it from the original website only because other websites are often unsafe and/or install unnecessary junk.
STEP 2 / LOCKED AWAY
The installation of 7-Zip File Manager also provides your system of contextual menus as well. For a file or set of files to encrypt, you can therefore right click on it and choose 7-ZIP, ADD TO ARCHIVE.
Choose (or create) a ZIP file and change the encryption method to AES-256. Now you can also enter a password, and you're done. Your files are now in an encrypted archive and without password you can not open it. The contents of that file will not even show up in searches on your computer. What (still) pops up is the zip file itself. so give it immediately a subtle name, and maybe is best not to use a name like "my locked-secret plans.zip’.
STEP 3 / A SIMPLE DISGUISE
The disadvantage of the 7-Zip method is that you need to unpack your files whenever you want to work on it and lock them back afterwards. This can take quite some time. If you work with text files, then you have another alternative. Create your text document with Notepad, the basic word processor in any Windows. For example, type your super-secret guest list, and choose SAVE AS.
By default, Notepad wants to create a .txt file, but I use a disguise. Manually enter an image extension. For example, 'nothingtoseehere.jpg'. In the drop down menu below, select ALL FILES. Double-click after saving on the file, Windows will unsuccessfully try to use an image program and cant open the file. If you want to continue working on your text, right click on the .jpg and choose 'open with'. In the list, click on NOTEPAD and you can continue typing without any problems. If NOTEPAD is not listed in the list of programs, you can first launch NOTEPAD and then open your file within the program itself. Do not forget to select ALL FILES in the drop-down menu first because notepad normally hides .jpg files.
STEP 4 / HIDE YOUR DIRECTORY
An additional layer of security allows you to hide the entire folder, filled with disguised and/or locked files immediately. For this reason, Windows has a fairly simple function, which uses the operating system itself to keep system folders away from ignorant eyes.
To hide files yourself, right-click on it. Choose PROPERTIES and go to the GENERAL tab. Now you have to tick the box for HIDDEN. Choose OK and your file has disappeared. To see hidden files, navigate to VIEW in Explorer and select OPTIONS. In the OPTIONS tab you can choose whether or not to display hidden files, folders, and drives. In newer windows versions click on VIEW in explorer and you can immediately check the hidden files option.
STEP 5 / THE TRICK WITH THE BORING DIRECTORIES
Someone who knows that something is going on at home, can still see hidden folders with the right computer knowledge, open suspicious image files, and even crack your password. The most important and also most immediately obvious trick is then to put your files somewhere where no one will ever look. Good locations: Program Files, Windows folder or folder of a video game. For example, the Windows folder is filled with folders called 'ADFS', 'PLA' and other acronyms. Only a Microsoft engineer knows that "SSP" does not belong there, and stands for Super Secret Party. Also in the data folder from just about any video game you can subtly hide an extra folder with or without hidden files. Moreover, the probability that a roommate delete your files by accident at these locations is very small. You just have to remember where you have put them.