You may already know about hidden files and folders in Windows 10, but invisible folders are completely different. You can’t just change the view options to view all files and folders, including hidden folders. An invisible folder is a trick that uses the folder’s properties to hide it from view, even in plain sight.
Why Create Invisible Folders
Have you ever wanted to add a quick access folder on your desktop yet keep it from prying eyes? You could use the built-in encryption feature in Windows 10 to password protect a folder. But, it’s still technically visible. This creates curiosity that you may not want.
What if no one could see the folder even exists? With invisible folders, unless you know where to click or you highlight everything on the desktop, it appears as if nothing is there.
This isn’t a security feature. If anyone stumbles upon the folder, they can still open it and view its contents. Technically, you can use the encryption feature with an invisible folder for even more security.
Create an Invisible Folder
For this tutorial, I’m creating the folder on the desktop because if you create an invisible folder inside another folder, there will be an obvious blank space and/or file properties listed beside the invisible icon.
Start by right-clicking on your desktop where you want to create an invisible folder. Choose “New -> Folder.” Leave the name as New Folder.
The next step is to ensure the name of the folder isn’t visible. Instead of an actual name, you’ll enter an ASCII code which isn’t visible in folder names. Right-click the new folder and choose “Rename.”
Press and hold the Alt key as you type “255” (without the quote) on a numerical keypad. This only works with a keypad and not the number row above the letter keys.
Obviously, the folder is still visible, so it’s time to hide that, too. Right-click the folder and choose Properties. Select the Customize tab.
Click the “Change Icon” button. The folder icon is just the default for folders, but you can change an icon to any other icon image by changing its properties. Choose one of the three invisible icons.
Press OK and then Apply to apply the changes. Now your folder is invisible.
There is a glitch that occurs where the folder may appear as a black box instead of being invisible. In fact, this actually happened when I tried creating invisible folders the first time.
Obviously, that’s not too invisible. Deleting the folder, restarting your computer, and creating the folder again usually works but not always.
Another issue is that someone can still find it if they know how to look. Highlighting everything on the desktop will show an outline around the invisible folder.
Also, if you use File Explorer and select Desktop, a blank spot with file properties will appear. This is why this is only a temporary solution for hiding things on your desktop. For instance, you may have a few notes for holiday shopping. A proper solution is to password-protect your folders.
The only way to create truly invisible or hidden files and folders is to store them on a USB drive that only you have access to. You can even encrypt the USB drive, if you want. Unless someone has the USB drive, they won’t accidentally stumble upon your files. For the most part, this is a novelty trick, so don’t use it as a security feature.