How to hide your files and folders on ChromeOS

If you’d like an easy way to hide your files and folders on ChromeOS you’ll be happy to know there is a way. If you’ve used Microsoft Windows before you may know that you can easily hide files from the file explorer. The process of hiding your ChromeOS files is very similar.

I need to be clear that this isn’t a good option for anyone who wants to hide confidential files. This is because anyone who knows how to look for hidden files can easily do so. Instead, it’s a good way to hide files that you’d prefer not to be easily visible on your Chromebook.

Therefore, using this option is great if you want to unclutter your downloads folder or want to make it a little bit harder for files to be easily found. It’s actually very effective because not many people would naturally look for hidden files. If you share your Chromebook with others and let them use your own login. This can be a good way of hiding files, but remember, they can be found with a little detective work.

How to hide files in ChromeOS

The first thing you need to do is to open your file explorer. Once you’ve opened your file explorer you’ll want to go to settings. From there select ‘show hidden files’. If you try to hide files before showing the currently hidden files will cause an error message.

Time needed: 3 minutes

How to hide files in ChromeOS

  1. Open your file explorer

    Open your file explorer on your computer from the app launcher menu or you may have it pinned to the shelf at the bottom of your desktop.

    ChromeOS file explorer

  2. Click on the file explorer settings

    Left-click on the settings found in the top right corner of the ChromeOS file explorer.

    ChromeOS file explorer settings

  3. Select Show hidden files

    From the settings drop-down menu select ‘Show hidden files’. Any hidden files will now be visible.

  4. Choose the file or folder you want to hide

    Find the file or folder you want to hide and right-click and choose ‘rename’ from the sub-menu that appears. Alternatively, select the file and press Ctrl + enter to use the keyboard shortcut to rename files.

  5. Add a dot to the beginning of the file

    To hide a file or folder simply put a dot at the beginning of the file similar to what you can see in the image below. Continue this process with all the files and folders you wish to hide.

    a dot added to beginning of ChromeOS file

  6. Hide the files

    Go back to your file explorer settings and de-select ‘show hidden files’. Alternatively, simply close the file explorer, which will automatically hide hidden files.

    You will notice the files are now hidden and to find these files you’d need to select ‘Show hidden files’.

Things to consider if hiding files

The process to hide files on your Chromebook is easy to follow. However, you should ensure you don’t forget that you’ve hidden files. I know that may sound strange, but if you cannot see the files it could be very easy to forget about them.

If you decide to powerwash your Chromebook at a later date and forget about the hidden files. You could potentially lose these files for good once you’ve completed a factory reset.

Take advantage of the guest user login

The above process for hiding files is not suitable for confidential files. Anyone who knows how to look for hidden files could easily find any files you’ve hidden.

It may be a better idea to get others to log in to your Chromebook as a guest user. This will avoid you having to worry about your personal files being found. This will still allow users to use your Chromebook, but they will not have access to any of your files or settings.

If you share your Chromebook with someone else regularly and they use your login. You may want to consider whether it would be better to add a second user. Adding a second user to your Chromebook will give them their own downloads folder and they will not have access to your locally stored files.

4 thoughts on “How to hide your files and folders on ChromeOS”

  1. The title is: “How to hide your files and folders on ChromeOS” but you only show how to hide files. This rename method doesn’t work with the folders.

  2. It won’t hide the folders name under “My files” in the box on the left.
    There is 2 separate boxes in the settings.
    You can hide the folders in the right-hand side box.
    In the box on the left they are still visible.

    • Hi Tim

      What folders are you referring to? I understand what you mean about the left and right hand side. However, the left-hand side is usually where you’ve created a shortcut, so it may be that it isn’t hiding the shortcut. If that’s the case you just need to remove the shortcut on the left hand side.

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