How To Create and Secure Locked Folder in Windows

In my previous post, I have talked about a basic way to hide files or folders in Windows XP using in-built option. Unfortunately, Windows XP does not have any user-friendly built-in tool to create secure folders in multiple users environment (i.e one user-account used by multiple users). Windows XP allows to encrypt data on the hard disk but that is not helpful in this situation. This protects the data if the computer is stolen.

In this discussion, you will be using a free program called “ Free Hide Folder” to hide a folder in Windows XP/Vista/7. Free Hide Folder is a free computer security program from cleanersoft.com to hide private folders. This is a very simple program and your folder will be protected by a password that you can change or remove at any time.

Installation of Free Hide Folder:
 
1. Download the program from Cleanersoft.com
 
2. Run the downloaded file to start the installation and follow the installation screen and complete the installation.
 
3. After the Free Hide Folder is installed, you will be asked to enter new Password. You must remember this password otherwise you won't be able to unhide your folder or file hidden using this application.

4. Next is the registration screen. Free Hide Folder is a Freeware and wants you to register with them. But if you don't want, you can skip the registration window and start using the application without any limitation.
 
 
5. Click on Add, and browse the folder you want to hide and press ok.
 
 
6. The chosen folder  will disappear after you press OK.
 
 
7. It also displays a message to back up the information for future use, incase something goes wrong with your system. Just click on the Backup icon, type the File name and it will save the backup information as .fhf file extension.
 
8. That's all.
 
Now when you want to open the folder, select the folder you want to view/unhide, and click on unhide icon from the menu bar and it will display your folder at its original location. Once you are done with editing, click on hide to hide the folder again and close the program.
 
You can access Free Hide Folder application from Start –> All Programs in Windows XP and Start –> Program in Windows Vista/7.
 

Open .XPS Files

XPS is a new file saving format from Microsoft bundled in Office 2007 which is supposed to be PDF format alternative. XPS stands for XML Paper Specification and specifies a set of document layout functionality for paged, printable documents.

Now the question is “How do you open XPS files on your computer ?”

1. Windows Vista: If you are using Windows Vista platform then there is no need to download any plugin or software to open XPS files. Just double click on the saved XPS file to view the file content. This is because all the necessary component (i.e .NET framework and XPS file viewer) required to open XPS file is pre-installed in Windows Vista.

2. Windows XP: If you are using WIndows XP, then you need to download free XPS reader from Here. Also make sure that you already have .NET framework installed in your computer otherwise you will be asked to download and install that.

3. Open XPS File in Internet Explorer: You can also open the XPS file with Internet Explorer 7 and above. From inside the Internet Explorer, click on File –> Open and then select the .XPS file you want to open.

4. Open XPS File in Firefox browser: If you are a Firefox fan and want to open the XPS files with Firefox, you need to download the IE tab extension add-on. You can download the IE tab extension from here.

More Reading:

Networking Basics with Linux

Linux networking is based on TCP/IP protocol stack. TCP/IP refers to a large group of protocols which makes the communicate possible among large number of computers all over the world.  As a matter of fact, every computer which is connected via TCP/IP protocol is called host and a host can be a server, a client, a router or a firewall etc. Internet is so popular now that we can not live without it. Lot of critical business activities are dependent on Internet now and that is possible because of TCP/IP.

 
Note: The word Internet has two different meaning - (1). The lowercase refers to the technology and (2). The uppercase refers to the world wide network interconnecting computers all over the world.

IP ADDRESS:
IP stands for Internet protocol. It is a 32-bit number assigned to every computer on the network. This acts as a logical name for that computer. This is very essential to have a IP number assigned to each host of the network before it could communicate to other peer. It is written as, for example,  192.168.1.1 or 10.10.10.1 etc. The IP addresses are grouped to form class as shown below -

Table: IP Address Class
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class           Initial Byte          Initial Bit Value          Network Address          Local Address
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A                0 - 127             0                            7 bits                            24 bits
B                128 - 191         10                           14 bits                          16 bits
C                192 - 223         110                         21 bits                          8 bits
D                224 - 239         1110                       ---                                ---
E                240 - 255          1111                      ---                                 ---
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
SPECIAL IP ADDRESSES
1. Loopback IP address: 127.0.0.1
2. Private IP address: 192.168.1.1 - 192.168.1.254
3. Meaning of 255.255.255.255 : This is when all the bits are 1 and broadcast a message to every host in the local network
4. Meaning of 0.0.0.0 : This denotes the current host on the local network.

PORT NUMBER
IP address is used to locate a computer but what about locating a application running on that computer. That's when Port Number comes in. Port number does that job of locating a specific application running on that computer. For example, if your computer is receiving an e-mail, it automatically goes to your e-mail reader application such as Outlook. This happens because the incoming message comes with port number for e-mail along with the IP of your computer and it is automatically forwarded to outlook because of the port number it is carrying. This happens because of the fact that whenever a message is sent from one computer to another, return IP address and return port are included in that message.


DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM (DNS)
DNS is used to look up computer names to find out their IP addresses. Initially, names and addresses used to be stored manually on the computer itself in text file. This is still a common practice for small network but as the network grows beyond certain computers, it starts getting to be a problem in maintaining the addresses on all computers. This is when the usefulness of DNS system comes in - one computer automatically maintains the lists of all computers and other computers refer to it to look up IP addresses.

ROUTING
Routing means moving a message from one computer to another using 32-bit IP address. The computers responsible for doing so maintain routing tables. The routing tables are consulted every time a message is received to determine where the message should be sent next.

 
FILES
1. /etc/protocols : This file is important for TCP/IP communications and defines the set of low-level protocols.
 
2. /etc/services : This file stores the port number and their respective services. When a computer receives a message from Internet, the message is routed to its respective program based on the port number stored in this file.
 
3. /etc/hosts : This file keeps the IP address and corresponding host names.

4. /etc/hosts.allow : This grants access to only a specific list of hosts in this file
 
5. /etc/hosts.deny : This denies access to specific list of hosts in this file.


UTILITIES FOR MONITORING NETWORK
Following utilities are useful in collecting information about the condition of the network -
1. arp : it stands for Address Resolution Protocol and provides address resolution.

2. host :  This is used to look up host names and return information about them.

3. ifconfig : It display the currently active network configuration and also to configure it.

4. netstat : It displays information about all the sockets on a local host.

5. nslookup : This queries a DNS server for the IP address of a host name.

6. ping : This is used to check the connectivity between two hosts.

7. route : This is used to view routing table and modify the table entries.

8. tcpdump : This monitors a TCP/IP connection and displays information from incoming and outgoing packet headers.

9. traceroute : This lists each host in the path from a host to remote host.

10. usernet : This is used to control the network interface under X.