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Posted December 6, 2008

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How to Hide Files in Jpeg Images

A Sneaky Way to Hide Files

Suppose you worked for the CIA and you wanted to email a top secret file to a field agent deep behind enemy lines. A good way to do that would be to hide the file in a normal, innocent-looking photograph. I really don't know of any other good reason for hiding files in jpeg images but I do know how to do it. In fact you can hide as many files as you like inside a jpeg and they can be any kind of file whatsoever. But let's keep this simple and hide one text file in our jpeg. Here's how.

Start by creating a folder on the Root drive of your PC. folder on the root driveWe'll call this folder "test" or call it anything you want. If you don't know how to do that, don't worry. I'll explain it later. Now move the file or files you want to hide into this folder along with any regular jpeg. Oh, one tiny thing I failed to mention is, you're going need a copy of WinRAR. WinRAR is a file compressor sort of like WinZip. You can get a free copy at If you can't find a free copy there, just Google "free winrar" and find someplace where you can download it for free. Don't pay for it.

You can try this with any file compressing program you happen to have handy. It may or may not work. I know it works with WinRAR.

Step Two

find the folder using the command promptNext, in the folder where the jpeg and the file you want to hide reside on the Root of your C: drive, right-click the file to be hidden and click "add to new archive" and type a name for the new .rar file. Let's name it "Secrete.txt.rar". Now you'll have three files in your folder: the jpeg, the original file to be hidden and the new .rar file. Now for the magic. Go to a MS-DOS command prompt by typing cmd in the Run box. Or you could hold down the Ctrl key and type the letter r and then type cmd into the run box. You should be at C:\Users\Your Name> or C:\Users\Owner> or in XP you'll more than likely be at C:\Documents and Settings\Owner or Your Name. Here we are at the RootIt doesn't matter because from wherever you start you need to get the command prompt to the Root drive. To do that you need to type "cd\" without the quotes, of course, and hit Enter. This will get you to the Root drive where the folder is. Now type "cd test" and the prompt should read C:\test> and be blinking waiting for you to type. So type this without the quotes and remember that spacing and Capitalization are important "copy /b regular.jpg + Secrete.txt.rar newpic.jpg" and hit the Enter key. You're done!

Step Three

Now if you go to the file in Windows and click it open you just see a normal jpeg picture. But if you right-click it and open it with WinRAR and choose the option "all files" you'll see your Secrete.txt file that will open like any other file.

Now some explanation.

There two ways to create a directory (folder) on the Root drive. You can open Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer) by holding down the Windows key (the one to the left of the space bar between Ctrl and Alt) and typing the letter e. Now click the C: disk (that's the Root drive we're looking for) in the left window pane to highlight it and all of C:'s files and folders materialize in the larger right window pane. Right-click on any empty spot in this larger pane and hold your mouse on New. In the drop box that comes up from this action, mouse up or down to Folders and click it and name the new folder "test" without the quots.

The geek way to do the same thing is to go to the command prompt and get to the root drive there (see above) and at the prompt that reads C:\> type "md test" without the quots and hit the Enter key.

A Few Things Explained

In MS-DOS "md" means "make directory" (directory/Folder same thing), "cd" means "change directory" so the command "cd test" means change to the "test" directory and the command "md test" means make a new directory named "test". all commands executed in DOSSo "copy /b regular.jpg + Secrete.txt.rar newpic.jpg" means copy both of these files and put them both in a new file named newpic.jpg. The /b part is a DOS switch that tells DOS "oh, by the way, we want everything to be copied into binary code". Don't worry about what that means, just as long as you know that this trick won't work without the /b switch. Oh, and typing "cd\" means "change directory to the Root directory".

So there you have it. Those, meaning this and the previous post, are the only two ways I know to completely hide a file in Windows XP and Vista. This method, hiding a file in a jpeg, will work in earlier versions of Windows as well, like Windows 98, 98SE, Millennium, even Windows 95. Personally, I think a much more elegant way to hide files on your PC is the Alternate Data Streams method that I described in the post just before this one. But if you want to email secret files to spies behind enemy lines, this is the way to go.

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