Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm sharing a windows 7 machine with someone. I plan to install programs as well as copy files there that I do not want her to have access to.

In the ideal case, what I need to be hidden is completely invisible, and there is no way for her to know that such files/apps exist on the machine.

We're not going to use separate users (don't ask...), even though that's the use case that that feature was created for.

In my imaginary world, when she opens the computer, my programs and files cannot be found. Then when I use it, I can enter something into cmd and bring back access. Another command to hide again. :)

Edit: I should mention that it doesn't have to work this way, anything that gets me what I basically need is welcomed.


share|improve this question
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Use TrueCrypt to create an encrypted volume. It will appear as just one file on the main disk (which itself can be marked hidden) and it can contain as any folders and files in it as you may need. Needless to say, your significant other won't be able to crack the encryption :)

share|improve this answer
While this will encrypt his files, it doesn't necessarily address the issue of hiding the presence of installed programs. Short of using only portable versions of software (of which there are relatively few), there will almost always be Windows droppings to contend with (recently-opened lists in apps, the registry, temp files, recycle bin, etc.). Depending on how smart the other person is, TrueCrypt alone (an excellent product for its intended purpose) may not be adequate. – Geoff Fritz Nov 30 '09 at 3:13
Thanks Geoff for pointing this out, you're completely right. – Ben Nov 30 '09 at 4:08

Rather than hiding them, I'd suggest storing your files onto an encrypted volume using TrueCrypt. Most software that "hides" folders and files only make them invisible when browsing through explorer. You can easily use Windows' search feature which will find things in these "hidden" folders.

I'd just install TrueCrypt, install all your programs to that volume and place all your documents in there as well. Place it under C:\ or something and all you will see is 1 big file. Rename it whatever you want, I highly doubt this person will notice anything out of the ordinary. It's not like they will crack the encryption if they do find it, although they could delete it. That's also why I'd suggest keeping a second copy of the volume elsewhere.

share|improve this answer

Can you not implement a local machine policy using poladm (Policy Administration) or equivalent for Win 7. Since I do not have Win 7, is there an equivalent where you can set the permissions on your folders that you do not want a person to look at? in Windows 2000 and XP Professional, right click on a folder, select properties, a dialog will appear, and there is a Security tab page, assign the owner and uncheck the permission to read/write to the said folder. Does that exist in win 7 or is in a specific win 7 edition? IF it does, then go ahead and create a user account for that said person. If the said person was to click on the folder, a popup message will appear 'Access Denied'. Would that help?

Hope this helps, Best regards, Tom.

share|improve this answer
I think the issue here is that both users are using the same user profile. I quote, "We're not going to use separate users (don't ask...)[...]" – Chris_K Nov 30 '09 at 5:32

true crypt can be run in portable mode from a USB key as well. the instructions are in the documentation.

You would have the true crypt program on a USB key, and your file container on your hard drive. you can name the file container anything you like (mine is cabinet.bak). There is also a feature to keep the file container hidden.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .