Most computer users are not technically inclined. They can double click an icon on their desktops, they can open a Microsoft Word document, they can type something into Google -- and that's it. Maybe not for you, certainly not for me, but for the vast majority of users -- even your kids -- anything that requires a knowledge of how computers and files actually work is beyond them. Which is why Cloak My Stuff is so simple and straight forwards.
It's a lite utility that 'Cloaks' your files. It hides them in plain sight, without really hiding them at all. There are a myriad of applications out there -- free and paid for -- that do a similar job, but almost all of them are too complex and too powerful for ordinary, everyman use. You can encrypt a partition of your hard drive with a password using Truecrypt -- heavy duty stuff. You can run programs that make folders and their contents disappear from Windows and not re-appear until you re-enter the password.
The common feature of all of these products is that you need to be technically aware and capable to use them. Truecrypt is not accessible to someone who doesn't know what a file is, much less a drive or a partition (yes, those people exist -- after all, Microsoft Word doesn't use files, it uses 'documents'. And a hard drive -- that's the big black HP box, right?).
Truecrypt, and all the other concealing programs out there are designed to REALLY hide your stuff -- as in, it cannot be cracked by anyone without the password. Which is all very well if you're building nuclear weapons in the basement, or planning to overthrow the Galactic Empire.
But if your private stuff is simply the usual collection of journals, personal files that you keep on a work PC, pictures of the butterfly tattoo on your butt that nobody knows about -- then you don't need super encryption that allows you to hide a world-ending dastardly plan. All you need is for that personal stuff to not be visible and easily accessible to your kids when they're using your computer, or to the junior IT guy when he's updating Internet Explorer for you.
Which is where Cloak My Stuff comes in.
There's no password. It doesn't encrypt anything. It doesn't move anything. All it does is take a folder and 'Cloak' its contents by renaming everything in it in such a way that Windows (and prying eyes) has no idea what each file or document is and no way to open them. When you want to access the contents of the folder, you simply 'Uncloak' it.
Take the example above. David has a folder in his My Documents called Personal. In it is all sorts of personal -- but non-world threatening -- stuff. He selects the folder in Cloak My Stuff, hits the start button, and all those documents are renamed randomly.
Anyone who opens this folder expecting juicy diary entries or employee feedback forms, gets a folder full of who knows what, as shown below.
Now, it's not a bullet proof system. A smart techie guy could look at those files and wonder what they are. He could right click and send one to MS Word and see if it can open the file. But smart techie guys are rare -- chances are one of them doesn't work for you, much less live in your home. Most everyone else will see nothing of interest (as in, no Word icon, no Excel icon, no PDF or image icon), and move on.
Cloak My Stuff is not super-ninja encryption. It's a utility that works by simple mis-direction, and on the understanding that most computer users did not win Hacker of the Year 2013. Neither did your kids -- trust me. The fallacy that has grown up that children and young people understand computers is just that -- a fallacy. They understand the websites and the apps that they use, but they have no more idea of what a partition is than your dog does.
The software is Windows only and does not work recursively. This means it only cloaks files in one folder, not files in folders within folders -- so even if you try to do real damage using it, it will take you a while.
Download size is tiny. Footprint is tiny. It's free. No support is offered. But -- don't be stupid and try something like cloaking your Windows System folders, otherwise your PC will probably become unusable. And don't use it on the contents of a Dropbox folder. When Cloak My Stuff renames files, it renames them randomly each time, which means Dropbox will constantly be uploading new files that aren't really new at all.
System Requirements: Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP
Download Size: Really, really small.