Protect a folder from prying eyes with My Lockbox Free

This freeware folder-hiding tool protects one folder and has lots of options.

My Lockbox takes the built-in ability to hide folders in Windows a huge step further by adding password protection, drag-and-drop capability, hot keys, trusted apps list, notifications, skins, and more. My Lockbox Free protects one folder per system, and it has a banner ad. A premium upgrade protects an unlimited number of folders and eliminates the banner ads. We tried the free version.

During setup, My Lockbox prompts you to create a username and password, though you can click OK to run the program without a password since it's very easy to set one up later on. You'll also need to designate a folder for My Lockbox to protect. My Lockbox placed two icons on our desktop: one for the program and another for its multitabbed options. Both open the same small dialog, actually, the Control Panel, but clicking Advanced opens the tabbed options section, and clicking Simple closes it: simple indeed. The Control Panel is dominated by a large Status button and a field to designate which folder we wanted to protect. We clicked Advanced to open the program's settings. The Options tab includes Stand By/Hibernation and system inactivity settings as well as a surprisingly long list of skins. The Password tab has a Hint field, something not every such program has but should. You can configure how My Lockbox checks for Updates, too. Unless you're changing your password or adding applications to the Trusted list, you probably won't need to use the options often. When we closed the Control Panel, My Lockbox showed an optional balloon Notification and activated its system tray icon. Clicking the tray icon and entering our password opened the Control Panel again.

You can drop files into the My Lockbox desktop icon or your unlocked, open folder to protect them. We unlocked My Lockbox and dragged some folders and files and dropped them into it. Explorer showed a folder with no contents, at least until we unlocked My Lockbox and clicked Open in the Control Panel. When we locked our folder again, the contents disappeared, and the folder, too. You'd never know it was there.

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