- 1Navigate to C: or plug in an empty and unused USB flash drive and navigate to that drive.
- 7Change the icon to one of the empty spaces. You may need to scroll to the right in the pop-up window.
- 8Click "OK" in the icons pop-up, then "OK" again in the Properties pop-up.
- 12Open your archive/compress software and drop all the files you want to protect on it.
- 13Look for the security options. Set a password and use the strongest encryption possible. Set the option to obscure the file names as well.
- 16Rename this to something cryptic like WIN32DIR.ZIP and move it to your Windows or Windows\System folder.
- Your password can be broken, but it will take a supercomputer a week or longer of devoting all of its resources to cracking it.
- Don't forget your password. For a good reason, consult the previous tip.
- Use a good password. A good password is at least 8 characters long, has both upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. A good password has no names or words that can be found in popular culture or any reference material. A good password must be a completely random string of characters.
- To make any change (e.g. to a diary), you will have to provide the password and copy the file to an unsecure location. When you drop the updated file on the archive, you will have to put in the security options, including the password, again. Remember the password. It is entirely possible to have multiple passwords on multiple files.
- Archive/compress programs are usually used to compress files (make them smaller), but you don't need to do this with just text files. Under the compression options, select None or Archive and it won't compress. Compression doesn't help you. All you want is the security.
- Do not forget the password.
- If your archive program doesn't have the ability to obscure filenames, after making your archive, re-open the archive program and drop the archive on it. Secure the archive the same way. Re-using the password, especially if it's a good one, is OK in this case. The filenames won't be obscured, but to see the filenames, the person will have to open the archive inside the archive, and without the password, they cannot do that.
- Audio and video should not be used because they will make the archive big or huge and make it obvious it's not just a system file. The protection is just as good; in this case hiding it should mean burning the archive onto a CD or DVD and hiding the disc somewhere.
- Always delete the original data as your archive program probably will not do that for you.
- The password only protects the file from being opened. Absolutely nothing stops anybody from deleting it.
- Remember if you reformat your computer to reinstall Windows, to back up your archive.
- The authors of your archive program cannot open your archive if you forget your password. Only a supercomputer can open your password after a week or two of constant brute force attempts.
- If you have government secrets or other highly illegal (as in more so than pirated music) files on your computer, while your archive will be safe, your hard drive can be made to give up the files you deleted after archiving them. There are ways to wipe/purify the drive, but they take a long time and would have to be done each time you edited or viewed the files.
- Not being able to open your archive won't stop the government from prosecuting you if they have proof you received the data.
- This is cool and fun to do if it's your private data.
Things You'll Need
- Files to hide. Text works the best. Images work OK as long as there's not a lot of them. Music and video formats don't work so well.
- Archival and compression software. Most do the trick but they need security features. WinRAR is what I used to develop this trick, but you should use 7zip, which is freeware.
- A good memory, or a way to store your passwords in a safe place (as in, another password archive or a password managing software)