How to Create a Secured and Locked Folder in Windows XPUPDATE: Since some people were having problems with this method of hiding a folder in XP (folder renamed, wrong, visible through command prompt, etc), I’m adding to the bottom another way to permanently hide a folder with a program called Free Hide Folder. Please scroll down to read about it.

If you have come across this page looking for a way to create a password-protected, secure, hidden or locked folder in Windows XP, for free, you have come to the right place. Unfortunately, Windows XP does not provide easy-to-use built-in tools for creating secure folders on multi-user computers. Of course, you can encrypt data on your hard drive, but that only helps if your computer is stolen.

In a previous post I wrote about how you can hide a folder in Windows XP via a rudimentary built-in feature. This method is useful when you want to hide a folder or file and you are pretty sure that anyone who uses the computer will have no idea how to un-hide the data. When dealing with someone a little more computer savvy, there is another way to get a secure locked folder room reservation without you having to buy any 3rd party software. This only works on Windows XP, not Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Basically, this involves using a script to morph the folder into something entirely different so that it is still visible, but nothing in the folder is accessible. To see the data you need to run another script to morph back. Whoever clicks on the folder will be brought to the control panel, and just think it’s a shortcut. The other nice thing about this little trick is that none of the files or folders in the hidden folder won’t show up when you do a search in Explorer.

Note: Before trying this on some really important sensitive data, you should make sure that you create a test folder with some fake test data to make sure you’re getting it working properly. Since we are messing with the internals of the folders, it could lead to data loss if not done properly.

Here are the steps to create the Protected Folders in Windows XP:

  • First, create a folder that you can use to store your confidential information. For example, I have a folder called Fontson the root of my D drive. Since the hidden folder bring you into the control panel, it’s best to get the name of the folder from the programs inside.
  • In the same place where you created the new folder and create a new file in Notepad, copy the following below into it, replace fonts with the name of the folder, and save it as bat.

ren fonts. {21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}

  • Save the file as a .bat file in Notepad, just put the whole thing in quotes, like “lock.bat” and then click save.
  • Now you should have a bat file named lock in the same directory as your Fonts folder not in the Fonts folder.
  • Create another editor file and type the following below and save it as bat.

Ren fonts. {21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D} Fonts

  • Now you have to lock.bat and key.bat along with your folder. Go ahead and double click on lock.bat and the folder again in Control Panel, and nothing inside can be viewed. Clicking on it will simply bring you to the control panel. You will notice that the icon should have changed too.
  • To view the data in your folder again, click on key.bat and the folder will go back to normal! Quite easy!

Of course, keeping the Key.bat file in the same folder will defeat the purpose of backing up the folder, so it is best to move the Key.bat file somewhere else, or better yet, put it on a USB -stick or CD that only you can access.

Most people will likely look at the folder and just ignore it since it has the control panel icon and it links right there. Of course, if anyone knows this trick too, you can create your own Key.bat file, etc and open it again on. However, when you’re dealing with someone who can do all of that, it’s best you check out more advanced 3rd party software for locking a folder.


If you are having problems with the above method (from what I can see from the comments, a good number of people) then here is another quick and free way to create a safe folder in Windows XP. There is a very nice program called Free Hide Folder from Cleanersoft, you can easily hide your private folders.

Your folders are completely hidden and you have to provide a password to open the program, hide the folder. The personal edition is free, just click the Skip Registration button unless you’re not using it for commercial purposes.

I’ve tried this program myself and I can’t access the hidden folders through Windows Explorer nor the command prompt. So if the above method doesn’t work, give this one a shot! You ask to leave a comment. Enjoy!



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