Computer Performance, Windows Vista Registry

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Vista's - Secret Folder

Vista's - Secret Folder - Hide the Contents of a Folder From Vista Indexer

This is not a registry hack.  We are merely using the registry to discover CLSIDs (Class Identifiers).

The idea behind this tip is to create a folder which is invisible to the Vista indexer.  Please be aware that the files are neither encrypted, nor hidden from anyone looking with Windows Explorer.  To my mind this limitation confines the usefulness of this tip to special situations.  However, from a learning point of view this tip is most instructive.

Topics for Vista's Secret Folder

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Instructions to Create a Secret Folder

  1. For your files to remain hidden, this secret folder needs a special extension
    .{26EE0668-A00A-44D7-9371-BEB064C98683}.
  2. Create a normal folder, for example stuff.  Now rename it with this special CLSID (Class ID) extension.  For this trick to work, remember both the dot and the curly brackets.
  3. stuff.{26EE0668-A00A-44D7-9371-BEB064C98683}

Testing your hidden files

Create a file inside your folder with the .{26EE0668-A00A-44D7-9371-BEB064C98683} extension.  For example 'Guy Stuff.doc'.  Now search for Guy Stuff.doc.  You should get a negative result, Vista's search will ignore files in this folder.

Just in case you believe this negative result is due to slow indexing, create another document in a regular folder, search for that document.  This time you should have a positive result.

There is a fancy variation of my tip using a different clsid extension.  I say fancy, because it creates a Recycle Bin folder

.{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}

Key Learning Points

  • This setting is not in the registry.  The link with the registry is we need to research the correct CLSIDs for the folder extensions.
  • Do you configure this secret in HKCU or HKLM? 
    Answer: Neither, it's a folder in the normal explorer.
  • Do you have to add a value, or modify an existing setting? 
    Answer: Add a special extension to the folder.

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Real Life Case Study

This procedure of hiding files from the indexer has more value than you can imagine.  Many file extensions and their associated parents have caused system errors because they are not compatible with vista. These errors range from stopping devices from syncing to stopping files from being backup without a reboot.

Last week customer had loads of files from legacy system.  The problem was that the uncommon photo extensions prevented the system from copying from one location to another.   At first, the only solution was a reboot after the first copy.  By putting them in a hidden folder was an ideal solution as the indexing function was causing the error. 

Regards Jeff H.

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