Make Folders Private in Windows XP (NTFS)


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Gazette Reader Jill P. writes:

" Dear Dennis, I find your articles very interesting and informative. Thanks for that. Question: In the My Documents folder, my music, pictures, etc. are appearing on my husband's screen of Windows XP. I tried to make the folder private (with no sharing privileges), but the option is ghosted and won't allow me to choose this feature no matter what I do. How can I make my folders private? “

My response:

According to Microsoft Knowledge Base Article #307286, the folders you wish to remain private must reside in “your user profile (Drive_letter:Documents and SettingsUser_name, where Drive_letter is the drive on which Windows XP is installed and User_name is your user name). " (Source:

That being said, you must have separate user accounts set up with Windows XP in order to have your own My Documents folder. Information how to set up a separate user account can be found here:

How to Create Separate User Accounts in Windows XP

Assuming you have your own user account, “the ‘Make this Folder Private’ option is available only for files in your user profile (the My Documents folder and its subfolders, and the Cookies, Desktop, Start Menu, or Favorites folders). " (Source:

Furthermore, you can only use the ‘Make this Folder Private’ option on a drive letter that is formatted with NTFS (Windows NT File System and not FAT32, for example). It is possible, however, to convert a drive letter with FAT32 to NTFS using a conversion utility that comes with Windows XP.

For more information, refer to Microsoft Knowledge Base Article #307286:

Also see:

How to configure File Sharing in Windows XP

Dennis Faas is a columnist for

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