How to Quickly Hide Files or Folders on Ubuntu

Posted by jun auza On 3/30/2013
We all store sensitive data on our computers. From bank documents to government secrets, we all have something to hide. In the modern age of web and virtual interconnectedness, intrusion of data and privacy breaches are common. Sinister hackers and phishers are out there simply waiting to find a loophole in our security. These online thieves steal our sensitive data, or, if you own a website, they may bring the site down too. 

Fortunately, there exist many white-hat hackers who have an immense expertise in dealing with such breaches. These white-hat hackers are also responsible for securing the system well enough so as to prevent future breaches. Prevention is better than cure as the wise people say.

As much as you protect your system from breaches you can't save yourself against people accessing your computer when you are away. Furthermore, if you are sharing your computer with a family member, hiding sensitive data becomes a huge problem. Many users who are new to the world of Linux are often confused as to how to hide files and folders. On Ubuntu, or on any other Linux distribution for that matter, this can be done by a very simple two-step process. 

So, if you're worried about the prying eyes that threaten your privacy, here is a small how-to on hiding folders and files on Ubuntu:

To hide a file in Ubuntu, all you have to do is rename it with a name that starts with a dot (.).  So, if you have a file named "bank_statements", you can rename it by simply changing its name to ".bank_statements". This way, any time you open the file browser, you won't see the file anywhere.

Now once you've managed to hide the file, it's time to learn how to unhide the file. To do that, simply press Ctrl + H or you can go to the menu bar and click on “View” and then select the option that says “Show Hidden Files”. This will show all the files that start with a dot along with your regular files. The new entries you'll see include configuration files that usually start with a dot. If it gets a bit too confusing to find your file through all those new files, simply search for it using “Ctrl + F”. If you want, you can rename the file to its normal name for the time being.

That said, a more organized way to hide your files would be to create a folder called hidden and store your files in there. To do that, simply create a folder called .hidden (that's dot followed by the filename that is "hidden"). Then, you can simply drop all your sensitive data into this folder any time you want. This method is much more organized and won't flood your file browser with unmanageable amount of files.

If you're looking to hide more folders, follow the same method by prefixing a dot before its name.

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