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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders System
This combination of simple tips allows you make a folder easily accessible, but somewhat difficult for your average Finder-snoop to find.
  1. Pick the folder you wish to hide, then move it to a place that you can remember easily, and whose path you can type quickly. Just inside your home folder works well, ~/Folder is easy and quick.
  2. Use the Terminal to add a period in front of the secret folder's name, rendering it invisible to the Unmodified Finder, Spotlight and the Terminal (unless ls -a is used). For example, to hide the folder "secret" in your Home folder, open the terminal and type mv ~/secret ~/.secret, then press Return.
  3. To later access to the folder quickly, just type Command-Shift-G in the Finder to access the "Go to Folder..." window, then type the path to the file. In our example above, that's ~/.secret; press Return when done. That's it; you can now enjoy your normally functioning Finder Window containing the contents of the folder, fully editable and unconcealed, which will disappear into the void again when closed.
This method won't stop anybody who knows their way around the Terminal, or who knows enough to enable invisible files in the Finder, but it'll certainly protect your files from casual Finder snooping with no additional software required.

[robg adds: When I worked in an office, I stopped casual snooping by just locking the keyboard whenever I stepped away. However, if that doesn't work for you for some reason, then simple hiding as explained in this hint could help.]
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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders | 23 comments | Create New Account
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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: i5m on Aug 01, '05 10:19:19AM

From macnn forums (not my post):

Making arbitrary directories invisible is handy. (For example, I don't need to be seeing Microsoft User Data in my Documents folder.)

/Developer/Tools/SetFile -a V filename will make filename invisible, and /Developer/Tools/SetFile -a v filename will make filename visible again.

You have to restart the Finder after making an invisible file visible.



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Microsoft User Data
Authored by: taran on Aug 01, '05 10:56:33AM

After hiding ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data, I symlinked it to ~/Library/Application Support (ln -s ~/Documents/Microsoft\ User\ Data ~/Library/Application\ Support) which is where $DEITY intended it should be.

<rant>
C'mon Microsoft, you've had 5+ years and two versions of your crapware for OS X and you still can't put things where they belong?
</rant>



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escape spaces
Authored by: taran on Aug 01, '05 10:59:11AM

oops, lost my slashes somewhere

ln -s ~/Documents/Microsoft\ User\ Data ~/Library/Application\ Support



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escape spaces
Authored by: taran on Aug 01, '05 11:02:30AM

no, they're getting lost in submit when using HTML and the code tag (they show up in preview)



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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: sgi_oh_too on Aug 01, '05 12:51:19PM

If you put the "Microsoft User Data" folder in your ~/Library/Preferences folder, then it will work just fine. This is because Microsoft's apps look there for the folder as well as looking in your ~/Documents



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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: adrianm on Aug 22, '05 03:00:41AM

The new MSN messenger puts this directory back.



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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: JohnnyMnemonic on Aug 01, '05 10:35:54AM

I hope my wife doesn't read this hint. Heh.

Is there a way to make hints hidden from users who would use them to Learn Too Much?



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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: i5m on Aug 01, '05 11:51:18AM

For anyone wondering, this is the reason why this hint is needed.

I try to always switch out of my account when I leave the computer whilst she's around, but shes nosey so stuff like this helps.



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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: simonpie on Aug 01, '05 04:12:22PM
I personally just change the owner to root so that I need to do a
sudo
to read certain files.

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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: pub3abn on Aug 01, '05 10:42:31AM

In all the years of MacOSXHints, this has never been discussed before?



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Carefulů
Authored by: pediddle on Aug 01, '05 12:33:14PM
Don't rely on "security through obscurity". If you need your files to remain secret, you're much better off using PGP, GnuPG, or some other form of encryption.

Of course you can combine the two methods, but anyone who can use the Terminal could easily find one of these "hidden" folders.

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Diskutil
Authored by: lullabud on Aug 01, '05 12:49:44PM

Diskutility supports encrypted disk images and is built in to OS X, so that might be easier or better for some people. It doesn't have bells and whistles, but it can securely archive your info for you. Pair it with the parent hint about hidden folders and you're even more well off.



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Carefulů
Authored by: adrianm on Aug 01, '05 04:26:04PM

Just create a sparseimage dmg and put stuff in there. It can be as large as life, but it's encrypted and only those knowing the password will be able to open it.

To really annoy the spouse who's suppose to trust you, name the dmg "Porn - keep out.sparseimage"

;-)



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Carefulů
Authored by: Pilbo on Aug 01, '05 10:04:51PM

I thought images stored in a sparseimage dmg were subject to corruption, especially jpgs. I read that, and it happened to me.

Has that been fixed in Tiger?



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Carefulů
Authored by: adrianm on Aug 08, '05 06:39:35PM

I'd hope so as the whole File Vault feature depends on it.



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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: mm2270 on Aug 01, '05 01:30:03PM

First off, there are probably a hundred different little utilities on the 'net that do this very same thing for you, but through a GUI, not that it's hard to do via the Terminal.

Second, if you access the hidden folder via the Go to Folder command, you'll need to remember to clear your Recent Folders submenu after each access, or the .secret folder, or whatever you choose to call it, will show up there, accessible to anyone who can use a mouse to pull down a menu.

So all in all, this is only a very simplistic way to hide files.



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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: mmouse on Aug 02, '05 01:52:34PM

Don't forget -- Mac OS X also helpfully remembers the last entry used in the 'Go to Folder...' dialogue box/sheet, so that will need to be cleared each time by doing a second 'Go to Folder...' after each access of the invisible folder.

---
mmouse



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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: gunnmjk on Aug 01, '05 10:03:14PM

Hmm I think I did this a while ago and made a folder invisible. Since then, I forgot where I put it (How stupid of me)! Is there any way to find out? Searching for invisible files/folders doesn't seem to work with spotlight.



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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: apnar on Aug 01, '05 10:49:08PM
You can open terminal and give this a shot:
find / -name '.??*'
You'll likely see a bunch of .DS_Store and such which you can grep out with something like:
find / -name '.??*' | grep -v '.DS_Store'
-apnar

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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: LC on Aug 01, '05 10:58:18PM
If you access files within one of the entries (or add one of your own) in the /.hidden file, those places won't be recognized by the Finder or in the navigation dialogs, but they'll still show up in the Finder's "Recent Folders" list.

Where's that file (or plist) that tells findutils (updatedb) which areas (on the filesystem) NOT to search, again?

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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: harveypooka on Aug 02, '05 01:44:10PM

How can you create a lockable keyboard?



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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: Libwolf on Aug 14, '05 06:33:12AM

Is it possible to use this on dmgs? To add a password protection level?



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Create hidden yet easy-to-access folders
Authored by: xSmurf on Sep 25, '05 09:43:03AM

Sure, this should work for any files/folders, just add a '.' in front of the name of your dmg file.

---
Free iPods, now in Canada to! Get yours : http://tinyurl.com/75yta

PM G4 DP 800 / 1.25gb / 120Gb+80Gb / CD/DVD┬▒RW/RAM/DL
- The only APP Smurf



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