Can You Keep a Secret (Folder)?


Q: I created a hidden folder on my desktop to prevent others from seeing it when using my computer or accessing my computer across the network. I did this by right-clicking on the folder and selecting Properties then, under the General tab, checking Hidden. While this did hide my folder, now I can’t find it. Can you tell me how to get my folder back? Also, is it possible to create an invisible folder on my desktop that I can actually access and use?


A: To find the hidden folder on your desktop, open Windows Explorer by clicking the Start button, then select Programs (or All Programs), Accessories,Windows Explorer. In the Explorer window, browse to your Desktop and open the Folder Options dialog box as follows:


  • Windows 7 and Vista—from the Organize dropdown menu, select Folder and Search Options.
  • Windows XP—from the Tools menu, select Folder Options.


Next, on the View tab, under the Hidden files and folders option, select the radio button labeled Show hidden files and folders (or Show hidden files, folders and drives) and click OK. Your hidden folder will now be transparently visible, which will enable you to open it. Right-click on the folder and select Properties, then uncheck the Hidden box to make the folder visible.


To create a hidden folder (in Windows 7, Vista and XP) that is hidden but still accessible, right-click on the desktop folder you want to hide and select Properties, Customize, Change Icon. In the Change Icon for Folder dialog box, browse to and select one of the hidden icon options, three of which are pictured in the screenshot below. Click OK.



Next, right-click on the folder and select Rename. In the Name box, hold down the Alt key and press 255 on your number pad (this does not work with the keyboard numbers), then press the Enter key to hide the folder’s name. Thereafter, the folder will be invisible, as shown below.


Once the folder is invisible, you can find it by hovering over it with your mouse in Windows 7 or Vista, or by pressing Ctrl+A in all editions of Windows, which selects all folders and places a selection frame around each one, including those that are hidden.



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