How To Hide Your Digital Porn

How to Hide Your Porn

Surprisingly few people are comfortable admitting they watch porn, so it's understandable that you might want to hide your collection from prying eyes. Here are a few ways to go about it.

Lead illustration by Tina Mailhot-Roberge. Photos by [Duncan] and DVIDSHUB

Note: Just to be clear, we're talking about your digital porn collection here. If you have a real-world collection you want to hide, you're on your own. You might find some of these hiding places useful. And just to be even clearer, we're also talking about legal porn. If you're keeping stuff that, for whatever reason, is against the law, you're even more on your own.

Ask Yourself Who You're Hiding It From

How to Hide Your Porn

The first step in hiding anything is to stop and think about who you're hiding it from, and maybe whether you need to hide it in the first place. If you live alone or you're the only one who uses your computer, you may not really need a hiding place. You could just stick your files in your regular Documents folder and be done with it. But here are a few things to think about:

  • If your computer is stolen or, worse, confiscated, whoever took it is going to know about your collection. And obviously, this situation gets worse if any of those pictures and videos are homemade.
  • If you ever take your computer in for repairs, I guarantee your tech support person will find your porn. You may not care, and they'll probably never mention it to you, but it's something to think about.
  • If you ever let a friend or house guest use your computer, you may not remember until it's too late that there are things you'd rather them not see.
  • If you're hiding porn from your partner, ask yourself if you really need to. It's possible they'll be just as into it as you are or, at the very least, understand your fondness for it and not care nearly so much as you think they might. Plus, you'll be forging a higher degree of honesty which is never a bad thing.

If you're still convinced you need to hide your collection, then there are several ways to go about it.

Make Your Porn Difficult To Find

How to Hide Your Porn

The easiest (and least secure) way of hiding porn is just by making it difficult to find. I've seen all kinds of tricks used and here are some in increasing order of effectiveness. The downside is that each additional layer of obfuscation you add makes it harder for you to find what you're looking for in your collection:

  • Bury the folder deep in your file system. Nobody really goes looking into the system folders unless they have a reason. This is even better if your operating system lets you hide system folders.
  • Give your folders a name nobody will think twice about. If you're burying it in system folders, give it a name like Schema-32 or TKLEMBKUP -- anything that fits in with the other folders in that location but isn't so similar that you forget what you're looking for.
  • Rename your files. Sure, this makes it harder for you to know which file is which, but it also removes obviously-porn titles from view. We've shown you several different methods you can use for renaming batches of files.
  • Change file extensions. None of the things on this list so far will prevent people from finding your collection with a simple search for picture or video files. Changing file extensions can help with that. Of course, you won't be able to open the file yourself until you change the extension back to what it was. The best way to handle this is to separate files into different folders based on their extensions. You can rename a whole batch of ,jpg files to .ert (or whatever) and then just as quickly change them all back. You'll need to remember what they were before, of course, but you could bury that information into the name of the folder or the top file in the folder, or even just keep a private note somewhere else -- like your password manager.

The problem with making your collection difficult to find is that while you may keep the casual user from stumbling on it, you're not going to deter somebody who's actually looking for it. For that, you need to turn to something a bit stronger.

Encrypt Your Collection

How to Hide Your Porn

If you're going to keep a stash of porn around, the best way to make sure nobody gets into it is to encrypt your collection. We've rounded up the five best encryption tools, but our favourite is TrueCrypt. It's robust, cross-platform and relatively easy to use.

In a nutshell, you're going to create a locked file that contains all folders and files that make up your collection. That locked file is extremely hard to break into and you can only open it with a password you create. The basic process goes like this:

  1. Create your encrypted container. Choose a strong password. If you're using TrueCrypt, you'll have to give the file a size when you create it, so choose the maximum size you think your collection will need.
  2. Mount your container as a drive.
  3. Move your collection into the container. Or copy it, then delete the originals.

And you're done. Mount the container again whenever you want to access your stuff and just make sure to dismount the container when you're finished. Otherwise, it's open for anyone to browse. This method is nice because you don't have to obfuscate any file names or change any extensions -- it's incredibly easy for you to access, and incredibly hard for others to access.

Quit Storing And Start Streaming

How to Hide Your Porn

Really, with all the porn available online these days for free, I'm not sure why anybody actually bothers with storing porn on their computers (Pro Tip: Bing's image and video search is better than Google's for porn. You're welcome.). But, maybe you like to keep your favourites around or you have a personal collection you've scanned or ripped. Who are we to judge?

Fire up incognito mode, or private browsing, or whatever your browser calls it, and do your business online. When you're in incognito mode, your browser won't store your history or any cookies from sites you visit and it doesn't cache any content to your local drive.

The trick to browsing porn online is really just learning how to avoid sites that try to inflict malware on your poor computer. First and foremost, make sure you've got a good security suite installed, even if you browse safely and never bother with porn at all.

We're not really prepared to get into what porn sites are and aren't safe (partly because the situation changes frequently), but you should check out this Porn Privacy and Safety Guide by Violet Blue over at TinyNibbles for good information on what to watch out for.

This article has been revised and updated from its original publication.


Comments

    Or use a virtual machine.

    Given the whole internet stuff these days porn is common as common can get I generally don't care if people see porn on my computer. Just don't question my fetishes and I will grant you the same courtesy! Everyone has their own thing! :P

      This.

      Why would i want to hide my porn, i have got some video files on my desktop and on occasion other people use my computer, i don't care if they see it that's not my problem, it's there problem for playing a video file that does not belong to them.

    I used to hide any porn I downloaded, now I really don't care so I just have a shortcut to my porn directory on my explorer pinned list :P

    Only person I have to hide my porn from is my 8 year old. My wife on the other hand doesn't mind it there and sometimes she is the one wanting me to put it on the AppleTV!!

    C:\Users\mrsnrub\Documents\Bible Studies\

    Always with that image of that woman. Even in the bing search.

    Private browsing mode and Tumblr, what more could you need?

    C:\Users\User\Desktop\ThereisAbsolutelyNothingHere

    Wow, this brings back memories of being 14 again.

    "If you ever take your computer in for repairs, I guarantee your tech support person will find your porn. You may not care, and they’ll probably never mention it to you, but it’s something to think about."

    A 16 year old kid might, but most people who've done tech work for a few years have learned to stay as far away as possible. Aside from the general awkwardness and waste of work time, there's legal issues involved - There are some things you legally have to report if you see. No tech shop wants that kind of trouble.

    Some people are willing to sacrifice years of memories and work just to stop somebody finding their porn stash. If that's you, there's probably somebody nearby who's willing to do an observed recovery for an extra fee - either you can hang around while it happens, or it can be done at your house and left running, or they'll video the entire process and give you a copy (For the truly paranoid, I used to offer to let them take the OS drive on the recovery machine for for an extra fee. Nobody took me up on that one.)

    But getting back on topic: Keep your porn in an encrypted volume. It's only a little bit of extra work to set up, nobody can accidentally stumble across it, and you can back it up with the rest of your data without worry.

    i remember hiding my porn files inside one of the folders in my Warcraft 3 file
    eventually forgot about it after i started streaming porn
    give out copies of Warcraft 3 friends so we can play during recess and lunch
    its been 5 years and only one of them ever found the stash

    I remember that I had a customer with live action tentacle porn set as their desktop... It was kind of awkward to have it running in the middle of the store.

    Encrypted sparseimage file on Mac works well for all my sensitive "documents".

    that awkward moment when a co-worker sees your porn folder accidentally.

    laugh and move on. I've seen it happen in presentations to 50+ people for enterprise software demos.

    Go to pay sites. Why would a legitimate porn site deal with trojans and stuff when it's already getting your money? And it wants you to come back and come back regularly. It's the free stuff that's risky!

    If you don't keep a TrueCrypt image or whatever, you can use a Sandboxie folder to restrict what sectors you keep the material in so you can easily zero out a small, contiguous group of sectors.

    And of course if you don't clear your recent documents it doesn't matter if you encrypt it if it's spelt wrong, or of course if you don't want its total existance known...

    Private/incognito mode.
    External HDD.
    Media Player Classic set to not remember file history.

    Unplug the HDD, PC is innocent (unless you go snooping through cookies/cache - private modes often aren't perfect).

      I remember a time where I used to go through cookies and cache and make a permanent copy of the files. Oh to be 16 and thinking I'm sneaky again.
      I just have tumblr now lol

    By far the easiest and simplest is to simply not do porn.

      Whilst that is true, it assumes a certain naiveté that everyone shares the same moralistic values.
      Just as not everyone goes to the same restaurant or watch the same TV shows, as adults we should be cognisant that not everyone lives their lives in the same manner as the person next to them.

    Posting as anon for this one

    Maybe this isn't as applicable these days due to better internet connections and being able to download pretty much anything you ever want but I worked as a tech in the past, they will take all your music libraries and your movies (including your porn), it is incredibly invasive, they don't care, they're not judging you, they've taken stuff from 100 people before, it's gotten beyond curiosity, it's routine.
    Aside from that finding user's porn is usually required to answer the "why is my computer full of viruses?" with the stock standard and ambiguous "I've installed an anti-virus, but it won't catch everything, so make sure when you're browsing the web you stick to reputable websites or this will happen again" response.

    I use external hard drives, fully encrypted by Truecrypt.
    Partition ID changed to x64 to prevent accidental "This Hard drive is not formatted, would you like to format it now" situations. So if you plug in one of these drives, it doesn't even show up.

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