Nov 162012
 

Hidecalc is a simple utility to make selected drives invisible in Windows Explorer. Want to hide a drive in Windows so that a particular user can’t see or use it? This can be useful if you don’t want a particular user to be able to access or save to (or delete data on!) a drive.

‘Drive’ in this case means any drive letter i.e. you can choose to hide hard drives, external or USB flash drives, memory cards and DVD drives etc. Hidecalc is a free portable utility that makes it easy to hide and prevent access to any drives that you specify (by drive letter). It hides drives for an individual user account – they will remain visible to other users unless you run Hidecalc on the other user accounts too.

Hidecalc Features – Compatible with XP, Vista and Windows 7 (probably Windows 8 too but not tested). The program offers a choice of methods to hide a drive in Windows – this article covers only the Registry File option which is the method most suited to home PCs.

HideCalc itself will not alter anything in your Registry – it just creates a registry file based on your choice of drive(s) to hide. It is the registry file that will make the changes – when you install it.

Using Hidecalc – In our example we want to hide the E: (DVD) and G: (USB Flash) drives from a user:

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Logon as the user you want to hide the drive(s) from and download the latest Hidecalc v2 in a zip file from the developer here. Extract the zip file and run the Hidecalc.exe program – accept (press Run) the Publisher security warning if it appears.

Tick the boxes of the drive(s) you want to hide (double check that the ‘Hide Drives’ section at the bottom lists only the drives you want to hide) – we have selected our E: and G: drives:

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  • Now press the ‘Create Reg File’ button and choose where you want to save the .reg registry file then press Save.
  • Close Hidecalc and browse to the location where you saved the registry file.
  • Double click the registry file to add it into the registry.
  • When the Registry Editor warning appears, press ‘Yes’ to hide the chosen drives:

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  • Now log off and back on again as the same user – open Computer/Explorer and you will see that the drives you selected have disappeared:
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E: and G: drives now invisible

They won’t appear if you try to Save to them from a document/picture etc either. If you log on as another user all the drives remain visible and accessible – to hide the same drives from another user, log on as that user and double click the registry file you saved earlier to enter the restrictions into their registry too.

Possible Workarounds – Hidecalc makes the selected drives invisible in Explorer (and Computer) type of windows. This should be sufficient to stop an average user finding or accessing the drive but a clued up user can still access the drive from a Command Prompt (in our example, typing G: in the Command Prompt would gain access to our flash drive).

Advanced users: if you may want to prevent this by blocking the user from accessing the Command Prompt as well, follow these steps:

Log on as that user, run Regedit and browse to the following location in the registry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System

[You may have to create the Windows and System keys if they are not already present]

Within the System folder, create a new DWORD value and give it a name of  DisableCMD  then give this Dword a value of 2

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Disabled Command Prompt in Registry

Close the Registry Editor then log off and back on as the same user for this change to take effect.

When that user tried to open the Command Prompt they are greeted by an error message – after pressing any key the Command Prompt closes:

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[If you want to Enable the Command Prompt again, log on as that user and change the Dword value from 2 to 0 (zero)]

Conclusion

Hidecalc is a simple utility to make selected drives invisible in Windows Explorer for a particular user. Advanced users can also disable the Command Prompt for that user to stop them from accessing the hidden drive in a Command Prompt.