Hide Your Personal Windows Files In a Few Easy Steps

If you want to keep your private Windows files hidden, we’ll show you several methods (and a few useful apps) that make sure your data is for your eyes only.
We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

There are various reasons why you might want to know how to hide a file on Windows. Some people live with nosy roommates, while others share a family device. Important work information may also need an extra layer of security.

Check out the four methods below for hiding files on your computer to find out which one works best for you. We’ll also share the best password managers to keep your files secure.

In this article
How to hide files manually
How to hide files using the command prompt
How to hide files using PowerShell
Use third-party apps to hide files
Use password managers to store files in the cloud
Why should I hide files on my PC?
How to hide a file on Windows FAQs
Bottom line

How to hide files manually

Manually hiding a file isn’t the most sophisticated method, but it allows you to remove it from prying eyes. This method works for both Windows 10 and 11.

  1. Right-click on the file.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click General, then check Hidden, then click OK.
  4. Confirm changes.

If you want to completely hide your file, you’ll need to take further steps. For Windows 10, click View in File Explorer and uncheck Hidden Items. For Windows 11, click View, Show, and then uncheck Hidden Items.

How to hide files using the command prompt

Another way to hide your files is by using the command prompt on your PC. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt
  2. Type the following command and press Enter: attrib +h "Files"
  3. In the command, replace "Files" with the name of your folder or file.

To unhide the file, follow these same steps but replace the + with a - sign.

How to hide files using PowerShell

If you’re a little more technical, using the built-in PowerShell feature could provide more protection. The steps are:

  1. Open PowerShell from Search
  2. Run this command: $FILE=Get-Item ”pathway\name.extension” -Force
  3. Replace “pathway” with the actual pathway and “name.extension” with the file’s name
  4. Run this command: $FILE.attributes='Hidden'
  5. To hide subfolders, run this command, too: Get-ChildItem -path “pathway” -Recurse -Force | foreach {$_.attributes = "Hidden"}

If you’re going to use PowerShell, make sure you understand how to retrieve your files. This is a more technical way of hiding files and could cause you a lot of headaches if you aren’t sure how to undo it.

Use third-party apps to hide files

A third-party app can also hide your files for you. Services like Wise Folder Hider offer free and paid tiers, while Parallels Toolbox lets you trial it for free but requires a subscription. If you aren’t comfortable hiding files on your own, either on your hard drive or on your desktop, then using a third-party tool can give you some peace of mind.

Use password managers to store files in the cloud

If you’re looking for a secure alternative to hiding files on your PC, consider using a password manager. Many robust password manager applications allow you to store files within your lockbox. Below are some of our favorites:

  • NordPass: For file protection, include NordPass in your Nord family of security. You can keep encrypted files in your dashboard that can be accessed from anywhere with your NordPass login credentials.

    Get NordPass | Read NordPass Review
  • Keeper: Encryption and zero-knowledge security are built into Keeper’s DNA. Store files securely and also share them with anyone, even if they aren’t a Keeper subscriber.

    Get Keeper | Read Keeper Review

Why should I hide files on my PC?

There are plenty of reasons you might want to hide the files on your PC.

If you live with a roommate who loves to snoop, use a co-working space, have kids who may access the family computer, or even share a device with a parent, you may want to mask your files. Maybe you just want additional security for sensitive documents like medical records or court filings. Anything you deem private should be kept private.

If you want to install security software and make it more difficult for a hacker to access and uninstall it, hiding the file paths acts as an extra layer of security. You may also want to protect key PC functions from accidental deletion.

In addition to Windows’ proprietary features, you can also use:

  • Password managers with file storage
  • Cloud vaults
  • Antivirus for additional security
  • Removable hard drives
  • Flash drives and other removable storage

Best antivirus software for protecting files

If you’re going to go to all the trouble of hiding your files, make sure you have antivirus software to protect your overall system. Modern antivirus software protects against viruses and ransomware but can also include so much more. If you’re looking for included VPNs, identity theft protection, or simple ad and tracker blockers, try one of our favorites:

  • Norton 360: Norton 360 has a plan for you. No matter if you want simple protection or a full security suite with parental controls and identity theft protection, this software has you covered.

    Get Norton 360 | Read Norton 360 Review
  • TotalAV: TotalAV’s award-winning software provides real-time protection against viruses, Trojans, and malware. You can purchase it separately or bundle it with other products in the company’s security suite, including a VPN, ad blocker, password manager, and more.

    Get TotalAV | Read TotalAV Review
  • AVG: AVG’s free version comes with malware protection, but the real star is the low-cost AVG Ultimate, which includes features like tracker blockers and device enhancement. Upgrading to the premium tier gives you comprehensive protection without breaking the bank.

    Get AVG | Read AVG Review

How to hide a file on Windows FAQs


How do I make hidden files visible?

Depending on how you hid them, you’ll either need to reenter a command, enter your password, or reaccess the hidden section of your PC to access the file. It’s important that you completely understand what you’re doing when you hide the file so you can open it again later. Hiding files is different from password-protecting files or PDFs, so make sure you know the difference before you enable changes.


How do I hide desktop icons?

You can hide desktop icons with a few simple steps.

  1. Right-click on the file
  2. Click View
  3. Uncheck Show desktop icons

To retrieve the icons, follow the same steps to recheck the settings.


Can I hide entire drives on Windows?

Yes, there are several methods for hiding an entire drive. You can remove the drive letter, mount the drive as a folder, use disk management, or use the registry editor. Be sure that you are familiar with the removal and retrieval methods so you don’t lose your drive completely.

Bottom line

Manually hiding or using the command prompt is an easy way for beginners to hide files. PowerShell may take a little more technical prowess, and third-party apps offer additional security from an outsider’s perspective.

If you add the secure storage of a password manager coupled with the protection of antivirus software, you’ll have a truly secure place for all your most sensitive information.

Editorial Rating
Learn More
On DeleteMe's website
Privacy Protection
Use code PARTNER20 for 20% off
  • Removes your data from the web to avoid scams, spam and stalkers
  • 100+ million successful opt-out removals
  • Provides continued removals every three months
  • No 24/7 customer support

Author Details
Mary is a seasoned cybersecurity writer with over seven years of experience. With a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Clarion University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Point Park University, she educates audiences on scams, antivirus software, and more. Her passion lies in educating audiences on helpful ways to protect their data.