How to Hide Files You Don't Want Others Seeing and or Reading.


Introduction: How to Hide Files You Don't Want Others Seeing and or Reading.

This Instructable shows you how to change the format of a file to make it useless unless you know what type of file it was originally. For example changing a mpeg (movie file) into a txt/doc (text/document) so you cant play it let alone see the information.

Step 1: Having a File to Change.

First of all, You need a file to configure. If your are just trying to learn how to do it for feature uses then I would suggest making a copy of just a picture or something and using it to test.

Step 2: Relocating

Once you have the Image/video or other type of file, Create a new folder on the desktop and put that image/video in that folder.

Step 3: Changing Folder Options

After moving the file into the new folder on the desktop open the folder so you are viewing its contents. Then go into the "Tools" and select Folder Options.

Step 4: Changing Folder Options Part 2

Once the Folder Options screen pops up, Select the "View" tab. Now scroll all the way to the bottom and uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types" After you do that, Hit "OK"

Step 5: Changing the Files Extension

Once you have done that you should see the extension. Right click on the file and select "Rename" go to the extension and replace it with something else. If your replacing a picture or a video then replace it with a "txt" extension. If your changing a text file or document file change it into a jpg.

(For example. The file I am using as an example for this instructable is called "Me and my Officers.jpg" and I am changing the extension to txt so it should look like this "Me and my Officers.txt")

Once you have done this a window will pop up saying "If you change the extension, the file may become unusable. Are you sure you want to change it?" Select Yes

Step 6: Resetting the Settings

Once that is done you can no longer use the file properly. Text it and make sure just encase, and if it still works try a different extension. Now just go back into the fold options and change it back to the way it was hit OK and move the file to wherever you want to store it and boom a useless file that only you know how to use.

Step 7: A Few Tips...

Seeing as you have changed the extension you might wanna change the name itself to make it look less conspicuous. A very important detail is not forgetting the actual extension of the original file otherwise the information is really useless.

In other note;

Its very good for hiding videos you shouldn't have and would be rather embarrassing for others to stumble a pone or go looking. But for the same token you might need a tune up for your computer take it in some where and they delete the files because they don't work... or maybe some one Else is just on your computer and they delete them because they don't work. But in the end its better then some one opening them and seeing them after all. Right?

Not responsible for misuse



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    20 Discussions

    Well, if you share your computer with your children, then the possibility of your file to get deleted may increase :-)
    I think another way is to use 3rd party software, such as File Protector .

    Well, at least, hiding and unhiding file will be easier :-)

    Distraction may help here, as seeing the header or garbage in a .txt or other file may make the person want to try opening it with other programs. Try this: Zip the files, and then get an innocuous jpg or gif file you like (g-rated). From the Dos prompt, type copy /b Carebears.jpg You MUST have the /b, and note the space after .zip. Double-clicking on carebears.jpg will show innocuous.jpg, but you can use any unzipper (7-zip, winzip) to open the file. This works because zip headers are at the end, while jpg and gif headers are at the beginning.

    2 replies

    doesn't work with me :( when i try to open it with 7zip it wil just open the 7zip file manager with the folder where my secret.jpg is double clicking on it will just reveal the image

    I love your Idea, But im not entirely sure how to do what your changing... Perhaps you should go more in depth about rewriting the code.

    I like to take this one step further. Let's say I have a bunch of files I want to disguise. First, I'd put them all in a compressed file such as a .zip or .rar, and then change the file extension. It's a quick and easy way to hide lots of stuff at one time.

    1 reply

    I like Liganics comments to :Encrypt the files you want to be hidden using GPG, TrueCrypt or some other good tool (Steganos...). There are also some good freeware tools that provide a virtual encrypted drive so you can use it like a safe inside your MS explorer. BUT: How would I retrieve these files after hiding them?

    1 reply

    Once you have changed the Extension, all you have to do to use it again is put the extension back to what it was be for you changed it. But if your talking about using an actual encrypting tool, then I have no Idea.


    11 years ago

    Neat little trick to keep siblings out of my stuff. Thanks. And I love your background.

    1 reply

    11 years ago

    It can still be opened, whatever the extension is. For example if I change a WMV to txt or even blank, if I open it in Windows Media Player, it will still play perfectly normal.

    2 replies

    Correct, However, My point is if you where just to double click the file and try to run it off the extension instead of what the file is actually written as it will not run properly.

    Security by obscurity just doesn't work, think of the Linux "file" command which identifies files depending on their content and not by their extension, some tools under windows do the same... Encrypt the files you want to be hidden using GPG, TrueCrypt or some other good tool (Steganos...). There are also some good freeware tools that provide a virtual encrypted drive so you can use it like a safe inside your MS explorer. Anyhow good documented ;)

    3 replies

    Correct, but however, most people will just double click the file. Every time I've tried that by changing the extension and double click it the file never ran correctly. I mostly do this on my Mac anyway. Its easier and I don't have to work with all the folder options and stuff.

    Just wondering, how does "GPG" differ from "PGP"?

    I didn't think about that. However, for the common man/woman to walk up to your computer and try and use it they wont really understand whats going on so they would most likely drop it. But if your getting some computer genius on the case, then you're kinda screwed anyway. But thanks for the tip!! I will remeber it.

    I agree with Liganic... Perhaps to prevent a less savvy generation from viewing... but if the file is there (regardless of extension), the information is still accessible. Open with Vim and you're likely to find something to identify the file (exif data or a program tag) if not the information you were trying to protect :/ But, it's a good tutorial to show how to make extensions viewable :P