There are many reasons that you might want to hide a folder from view. You might be keeping a personal diary, a secret shopping list, your bank statements or maybe even a list of your account passwords.
In this guide I’ll show you 2 very quick and easy ways to hide and unhide a folder in Windows 10 & 11.
How To Hide A Folder In Windows.
Virtually any file or folder can be hidden in Windows. You can do that using the file/folder properties.
Create a new folder and give it a name. Name it something innocuous. The hidden folder will be placed within this first folder. In this example I’ll name mine Shopping Lists. Can’t get much more boring than that.
Open the folder and then create another folder inside it. This is the one that’s going to be hidden from view.
Select the folder that your want to hide and then right click on it.
The context menu will appear.
On the context menu, left click Properties.
When the Properties box opens, make sure you’re on the General tab.
Then click in the box to select Hidden in the Attributes section.
Click the OK button and your folder will disappear.
To Unhide Your Folder.
After clicking the OK button to hide your folder, the next thing you’ll need to know is how can you view or open it.
In Windows 10, click the View button and then click in the Hidden Items box. Your folder will re-appear.
In Windows 11, Click the View button. On the menu that opens hover your mouse pointer on Show and then click Hidden Items.
Hide and Unhide Your Folder.
How To Hide A Folder On Your Desktop.
If you look at the 2 images of my desktop below, the first one has a hidden folder on it, but you can’t see it. It’s there, but it’s totally invisible. In the second image, you can see the normal highlight that appears around a folder when you mouse over it. But you still can’t see the folder itself.
If you double left click on that highlighted area, the folder would open, just as any normal folder would.
How Does That Work?
A folder that you can see is made up of 2 parts, the folder icon and the name. In order for this to work, you need to create a folder that doesn’t have a name. And then give it an icon that can’t be seen.
To get started, create a new folder on your desktop, just as you normally would. While the New Folder is highlighted, hold down the Alt key on your keyboard, and then type 255. Press Enter on you keyboard and you’ll be left with a folder that doesn’t have a name.
Change The Icon To Hide The Folder.
Next you need to change the folder icon to one that’s invisible. But before you do that, I’d suggest you move the folder to a part of your desktop that you want it to be. It’s easier to move move it while you can still see it.
When the folder is in place, right click it and then click Properties. In the Properties window, click the Customise tab and then click the Change Icon button.
The Change Icon window will open. Use the arrows at the bottom of the window to scroll through the icons. You’ll see lots of them. What you’re looking for is a gap in the icons. It will look like there are some missing. But if you click on the “gap” it’ll show a blue highlight square. That’s the invisible icon.
Click the OK button and then click OK again and your folder should disappear. If it doesn’t, you might need to click somewhere on your desktop.
Hiding a folder in this way means that it’s always there when you want it. But only you know exactly where it is on the desktop. To find it, you simply move your mouse pointer over the general area and you’ll see the highlight appear around it. Double left click in the highlight and the folder will open.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
When trying to hide a folder like this, sometimes, instead of the folder becoming invisible, it displays as a black square.
I’ve seen that happen and it seems to be some sort of a glitch. Not exactly sure what’s happening, but if it happens to you, then this is what to do.
Click the Start button and then type disk clean-up
When Disk Clean-up opens, deselect everything except for Thumbnails. Keep Thumbnails selected. Click the OK button and Disk Clean-up will clean out your computer thumbnails cache.
When Disk Clean-up has finished, you’ll need to change the folder icon again. Right click on the folder, left click Properties. Click the Customise tab and the Change Icon button.
Scroll along the icons and select a different “gap”. This time your folder will disappear. It will be hidden.
Generally, if we see a folder, we may be tempted to open it to see what’s inside it. Curiosity killed the cat apparently, and we humans are intensely curious.
Hiding folders in this way is quick and easy to do and will keep your personal and private files away from prying eyes. But you can’t rely on it to protect you from someone who is purposely searching your computer. The files and folders aren’t encrypted or protected in any way, other than the fact that you wouldn’t normally be able to see them.
If you’re looking for something more secure, then you’ll want to password protect your folders. For that you could use 7 Zip. It’s free and easy to use and you could always hide the folder that it creates as well. How To Use 7-Zip.