If you share your computer with other people, you know privacy and security are very important. Thankfully, Windows XP allows you to have different user accounts for all the people using the same computer. These accounts can be password protected, but passwords alone do not always provide the best security and privacy.
You can encrypt and protect your My Documents folder and other personal folders with NTFS security options, but a curious user can still see your folders, their size and name -even if he can’t access them.
An extra layer of protection is never a bad idea if you share your computer with other people and you have private data stored on it.
One way to keep curious people from spying on your protected files and folders is to hide all the drives on your computer and make them invisible in Windows Explorer and My Computer. A quick simple change to the Windows Registry will allow you to protect your drives from prying eyes.
This Registry change only works in Windows XP, Windows Vista and the new Windows 7 have a modified Registry structure that prohibits these kinds of changes.
NOTE: Worldstart advises contacting a professional before you go pokin’ around in the registry. There’s some sensitive stuff in there!
To change a Registry setting we must first open the Registry Editor.
Go to the Start Menu and click on the Run command, situated above the Turn off Computer button. Then type the command “regedit” in the Open box and click the OK button.
The Registry Editor will now open.
The setting we need to change is located in the Registry structure, at the following address: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
You must first click the plus sign next to HKEY_CURRENT_USER, to reveal Software.
Then click the plus sign, next to Software, to reveal Microsoft.
Next click the plus sign, next to Microsoft, to reveal Windows.
Now click the plus sign, next to Windows, to reveal CurrentVersion.
Then click the plus sign, next to CurrentVersion, to reveal Policies.
Finally click the plus sign, next to Policies, to reveal Explorer.
Left click on the Explorer key and then right click on an empty spot on the right side of the Registry Editor window.
Click New, and from the menu, select and click on DWORD Value.
Type NoDrives and press Enter from the keyboard.
Right click on the NoDrives value and from the menu select Modify.
In the dialog box, type 3ffffff (a 3 followed by six f’s) and click the OK button.
Now exit the Registry Editor by clicking File and then Exit from the menu.
The last step requires you restart the computer to make your drives invisible in Windows Explorer and My Computer.
Although your drives seem to be invisible, they are still there and can be accessed from within programs such as Microsoft Word.
If you wish to open an invisible drive in Windows Explorer, open My Computer and in the Address field type the path to the drive you want to access (for example C:\ ).
To make all your drives visible, open the Registry Editor. Follow the steps above to reach the Explorer key and right click on the NoDrives value. From the menu select Delete and click Yes when the confirmation box appears.
Restart your computer and all your drives will return to normal.