Bring Us Your Most Uninviting Ideas

How to deter curious co-workers?

I like this question:

If you keep a folder of important/embarrassing material on your computer’s desktop (or I guess a real desktop, even) and want to make sure that no one ever opens it, what’s the best name to give the folder?

“Actuarial Test Prep” maybe? Suggestions, please. Also, does anyone know the name for this dilemma?


ADDENDUM: Thanks to Sam for providing the name of this scenario: steganography.



Joshua Gans

"Blog post ideas"

Steve Fuchs


John Rees

Service Pack Backup


If you want it to be ignored, make it look like software. For example, create a set of files to look like an installer for something really boring (like "Actuary Test Prep") and then place a folder inside of there called "InstallerData". It's pretty safe to assume nobody will look there.


Operating system data (Warning! Do not open!)

Lil Troy

Photos of Underarm Rash


"Security by obscurity," I call it.

No-one has opened a folder called "Marxist Economics" for a long time.


Freakonomic Ideas




"Program Files"


Depends who you are trying to keep out. But I would say an outdated file name... Something like MSWord2002_BackupFiles.
Sounds uninteresting and doesn't even make much sense. Most people and spouses would dismiss the folder and look over it completely


Call it "Annual Return Guidance Notes"...anything to do with guidance notes about tax issues are going to be dull.


TPS Reports - 1991


Data Rom Program Files, because no one wants to look at something they can't understand.


"Squash and Beets"


Don't be a typical computer end user; there are passwords and ways to hide folders, which is what you should do if you want people not to look. Won't be 100% foolproof (nothing on a computer is), but it will go a long way to deterring the casual snooper.


WinXPInstl, ie8Updaes, WinUninstall, etc.

I agree with the other commentators here - Make the folder sound like a windows / dos system file. (Adjust the name appropriately if you use a Mac / Unix-based OS)


with a windows computer it's easy, I created a second folder named Recycle bin, changed the Icon to the Recycle Bin icon and no one could figure it out unless it was pointed out to them


I would have to say "monthly reports" or maybe "vendor contracts"