Hide, lock or protect folders and files in Windows using Secure Folders

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 16, 2014
Updated • Aug 11, 2019
Software, Windows software

Secure Folders is a free program for Windows that is available as a portable version and installer. It can be used to hide or lock folders, set them to read-only or block the execution of files.

If you share your computer at times, for instance in your family or when friends or colleagues ask you whether they can access it, then you may want an option to protect certain files or folders from accidental exposure.

Maybe you don't want someone else to spot your Justin Bieber wallpaper collection, financial documents or video files that you have downloaded from the Internet. Whatever it is, Windows does not really provide options to protect data from others if the same account is being used.

Note: it is best obviously to use different accounts, for instance a guest account for occasional users and accounts for colleagues or family members who work with the PC regularly.

Encryption is a solution but only if you keep the data encrypted while the computer is being used. It won't help you if the encrypted drive that you store all your secrets on is mounted at the time someone else accesses your PC.

Secure Folders

Secure Folders is a free program for windows that offers basic protection. It is compatible with all supported versions of the operating system and supports four core modes of operation:

  1. Hide folders - This hides the selected folder and all of its files in Windows Explorer, other file managers and on the system in general.
  2. Lock folders - The folder is still visible but it cannot be accessed while the protection is active.
  3. Read-only - The folder and the files it contains can be accessed but they cannot be changed, modified or deleted. It is furthermore not possible to create or copy files into the folder.
  4. No execution - Prevents the execution of files in the folder.

Simply drag and drop files or folders into the interface or use the add button to open a file browser to use it. The program displays a dialog when you do that you use to select the protection type you want to assign to the file or folders.

Wildcards are supported by the program as well which provide interesting functionality. You can change the file or folder path using the keyboard to add wildcards to protect certain file types or files with a certain name in the folder, or even system wide.

This enables you to hide all jpg images on the system for example, block the execution of bat files, or lock document file types.

A whitelist is provided as well to allow the execution of selected applications regardless of the protection settings.

You can password protect the Secure Folders interface, assign keyboard shortcuts for fast access, and enable or disable protection with a simple switch in the interface or shortcut. In addition to all that, it can also be run from the command line.

Update: The developer website is no longer available. We have uploaded the last version of Secure Folders to our own download server for archiving purposes. Please note that we don't support the application in any form. You can download the program with a click on the following link: (Download Removed)

Closing Words

While I cannot say if the protection will withstand experienced users it is certainly sufficient to keep less tech-savvy users from doing so.

It is interesting to note that it is not enough to terminate the process of the application in Windows to disable the protection.

So, if you are looking for a simple to use program that is offering quite an interesting assortment of protection options, then you may want to give this one a try to see if it fits the bill for you.

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  1. dookeeleelay said on August 11, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Thanks Martin for this great find! The only other good alternatives I could find cost $.

    This still works in 2019. I use it in Windows 10 Pro x64 with no issues. I use is to block our R rated movies folder from the kid.

    Very handy for simple folder protection without the fuss of encryption.

    I don’t even bother with a password. Without a password a user would have to find and launch the software, which I’m not worried about in our family setting.. As it is, when a user tries to access a secured folder, a plain looking system window opens that just says “Access Denied”, giving no clue as to why.. If and when the kid can figure out how to get past that, then I guess he’s old enough to watch some R rated movies. But if I catch him, I will likely still bust him, just for fun, ha.

    The site for it looks dead, but it’s still available here:


    TIP: Don’t lock anything you don’t have backed up elsewhere, as this thing may stop working in a future Windows update or whatever.

    Also note, there’s an install option for a portable version as well.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 11, 2019 at 9:27 am

      Hi, thank you for letting me know about the broken link. I have uploaded the last version to our own download server so that it can be downloaded directly from this site.

  2. Jhonny said on January 8, 2017 at 5:55 am

    That is a good software, but actually I don’t remember the password and ther is no way to recover it. Some of you can help me please!

  3. PhoneyVirus said on December 22, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Secure Folders reminds me of Microsoft’s Private Folder for some reason, I love it, but there’s just one thing that bugs me the most, when you on there website all seems fine, every link you click on is clean expect for Watch Video http://Secure-folders.fine.mysoft.xxx Web of Trust Pops up alerting me. Don’t know if it’s because of the website offering such software that could be leading to a false warning like NirSoft so you been Warned!

    Thanks for Tutorial Martin and Batman for Easy file Locker

  4. batman said on December 18, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    I prefer “Easy file Locker” from the same guy who wrote Shadow Defender.

    1. jimbo said on December 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      Is backing up affected?

  5. brightspark said on December 17, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Is it not possible in Windows to create a password protected zipped folder containing files not for general viewing?

    I like the versatility provided by Secure Folders, plus that there is a portable version available.

    Good one Martin!

    1. Tom Hawack said on December 18, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Anyway as far as I know zip encryption is very far from true security standards. Unless this has improved over the years.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on December 17, 2014 at 11:36 pm

      Without third-party software?

      1. brightspark said on December 18, 2014 at 12:22 pm

        You are correct of course Martin. Sorry, my bad, I was thinking back to the XP days when this feature was available. For some unfathomable reason MS dropped support for password protecting zipped folders in subsequent OSs, yet another ordinary decision.

  6. Tom Hawack said on December 17, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Are files/folders which have been hidden/locked/execution forbidden (cases 1,2,4 above) “backupable”? If not, then it’s worth remembering to disable their protection before backing up when they are in the backup scope of course.

    1. jimbo said on December 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      there is the whitelist for permitting access

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on December 17, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Good question. I cannot say as I have not tried it out.

  7. Jake said on December 16, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    “someone else to spot your Justin Bieber wallpaper collection” Guard it like nothing else, Martin. I knew you were a fan.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 17, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Yeah it is embarrassing ;)

  8. Sylvio Haas said on December 16, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Hello, Martin! I clicked on the link you indicated to access the site but Norton blocked the page advising it is not secure!!! Would there be another link? Thank you.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 17, 2014 at 8:57 am
      1. Sylvio Haas said on December 17, 2014 at 11:45 am

        Thank you!!

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