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I'm not talking about using the Hidden or System flags, these are too easy to circumvent.

It looks like Wise Folder Hider (WFH) has a working method: hidden folders aren't visible in Windows Explorer even when hidden and system files are visible.
But some programs still see a folder hidden by WFH. For instance SyncBackSE lists these folders and even seems to backup them:

enter image description here

This is a problem because WFH isn't aware of the backup, and there doesn't seem to be a way to make it visible again. (While I can't see the backup, even with WFH, I suspect it's there because of the space it occupies.)

So, is it possible to hide files or folders completely?

edit (after comments)
It would be nice to have the folders hidden, even when I'm logged on, and show them only after I enter the right password, like WFH does it.

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  • Hide files and folders from whom? An administrator on a machine has an unlimited toolset to find the files and folders. The best way to hide a file or folder for other people, is to make sure that only you have access to an Administrator account, and then encrypt the HDD so it cannot be mounted on another machine. – Ramhound Jan 26 '16 at 13:16
  • @Ramhound Thanks for your reply. I am logged on as administrator, and except for the SyncBackSE example I gave at least a number of programs can't see the folder hidden by WFH, even as administrator. WFH's method doesn't seem to be perfect however, and I wonder if it's possible at all. – Joris Groosman Jan 26 '16 at 13:23
  • I just basically told you how to do it. If nobody can access your account, and nobody has access to an Administrator account, and nobody can mount your hDD to machine where they have Administrator account then simply setting the desired ACL settings on the files is enough to hide them. – Ramhound Jan 26 '16 at 13:27
  • @Ramhound: Preventing other people accessing your files using ACLs and hiding files from applications run as administrator are completely different things. What you told him to do has nothing to do with the question. – qasdfdsaq Jan 26 '16 at 13:29
  • @qasdfdsaq - I appreciate your thoughts and will in the future take them into consideration. I look forward to all productive comments from you in the future and encourage you to fully explore your talents in this area. – Ramhound Jan 26 '16 at 13:32
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No, you cannot truly hide a file or folder on a standard file system. By definition if it is on a filesystem, it can be accessed via that filesystem.

Wise Folder Hider doesn't really hide anything. It just renames folders to something incomprehensible. The folders are still there, and can still be read by any application that doesn't baulk at the sight of invalid filenames.

In reality the closest you can get to hiding data on NTFS is by hiding data within metadata structures in the filesystem. However, even that can still be read by, e.g. data recovery applications or backup applications if they are configured to do so.

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It would be nice to have the folders hidden, even when I'm logged on, and show them only after I enter the right password, like WFH does it.

Sounds like what you are actually looking for is an encryption software - so use actual encryption. TrueCrypt used to be quite famous until its developer ceased development due to some allegedly unfixable security holes that seem unfounded founded. Anyway, there is a successor based on its source, VeraCrypt, which thanks to a recent audit seems pretty reliable to me. You can also find some other alternatives in lists such as this or that, which is especially important if you also want to access your files outside of Windows, in which case e.g. LibreCrypt, which is compatible with Linux' dm-crypt, might be a better choice (though VeraCrypt also is available for Linux, and apps such as EDS claim to be able to open these containers on Android as well.

The basic principle of those tools always is a container file in which the files are stored encrypted, and only after opening it with the correct password its contents will be accessible, usually as a virtual drive (though you can also use things such as symlinks, created automatically or via some script of your own manually upon decryption).

As an alternative, Cryptomator looks promising as well, since it provides a per-file encryption. However, it is pretty new, so for now EncFS sounds like a better idea to me.

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