Many users on this site use a shared/family computer, while others may have their own, but frequently take a chance at letting other people see their screen. This guide is intended for those users.
I. The Goal
After downloading and installing a program entitled 'Hide Window Hotkey', you should be able to make windows disappear with the push of a button, and then make them magically re-appear with another. They don't even show up on the task manager!
Think about it: someone needs to use your computer for a minute, so you just hide the window and they will never know it was there! You can choose to make it "pop back" any time you want, with nothing changed! This can easily make parents no longer a problem.
Installation is quite easy, and setting it up should take no time at all.
II. What You Will Need
Hide Window Hotkey v3.0
About 5 -10 minutes of spare time, preferably alone
III. What To Do
First, go to the website mentioned above, and click on the "Free Download" button, located near the top-right corner:
If a box pops up, click "Save":
Afterwards, something should come up about where to save the file. For this example I'm going to save it to the desktop. You don't have to, but make sure you remember where you saved it!
After the download completes, the download box may disappear. If not, then click on run:
If it does disappear, however, go to your desktop (or wherever you saved the file) and double click on the setup icon:
A little box may pop up after this, asking if you wish to run the program. Obviously, you do, so click on "Run":
You will then be presented with a big blue screen and another dialouge box. Click next to move on:
Now it will ask you where to save it. I'd recommend you don't, so just click "Next":
Now it will ask you which Program Manager group to add the program to. Click "Next":
After all of this, you are ready to begin installation. Click "Next" to start installing the program. When it is finished, leave the "Launch Hide Window Hotkey" checkbox checked, and click "Finish". Now on to the good part.
When the program launches, it will ask you to donate. Unless you're feeling generous, click on "Skip":
There's a lot you can do after this, but I'm just going to cover the basics. First, you're probably going to want to edit the hotkeys. To do this, click on the "Edit" button on the toolbar, and then click again on "Options":
Before we get to the hotkeys, though, there is one other option you should consider changing. It's the one at the bottom. Currently, when you close the program, all hidden programs will be closed. You might want to change it to "Shown", so you don't lose any data:
Now click on the "Hotkey" tab:
Here is where you can change all of the hotkeys. If you don't want them to interfere with typing documents and such, it would be a good idea to use the Control key along with another key, maybe a symbol or something. Control + Enter, Control + Shift, and Control + Backspace all work pretty good, as long as you can remember what does what. One key not to use is the Alt key, as it will usually toggle up to the toolbar instead of doing what you want it to.
Only one more thing to do after this, and then we're finished. Close the options box, and you will see all the active programs currently running on your computer. There is a checkbox for each program. If you want the hotkeys to work for a program, you need to have it checked. The Status of each program is also shown, whether it is set to "Hide" (if it's hidden) or "Show" (if it's shown):
Don't forget to do this with programs you have just opened: they are not checked automatically.
When you want to minimize the program, click on the X in the corner. It will not exit the program, but it will be minimized to your system tray. To actually exit the program, click on the "Exit" icon.
You might want to clean up after you finish installing the program, so go ahead and click-and-drag the installer and the program icon into the "Recycle Bin". Alternatively, you can hold down the Control key, click on both icons, then right click and hit delete. This won't actually delete the program, but it won't be in plain sight for your parents (or other suspicious people) to see. If you don't want to delete the icon, then consider renaming it.
Also, when you click on the "Start" button at the bottom, a little balloon will come up announcing that there is a new program installed. Simply mouse over the "All Programs" tab until it is highlighted, and then highlight the new program and open it. Afterwards you may close it, but this should get that balloon to go away.
Q: The windows aren't doing anything after I use the hotkey! What do I do?
A: Make sure the program is checked in the menu. Also make sure the Hide Window Hotkey program is running in the first place. If it still doesn't work, check your hotkeys. Remember not to use any that Windows uses (like Control + V or Control + C), and don't use Alt at all.
Q: The program doesn't close after I click on the X.
A: You have to press the "Exit" button to actually close (terminate) the program.
Q: How do I minimize the program so that it goes to the system tray?
A: Click on the X. If you click on the minimize button (the -), it will only minimize into a window.
Q: Is there a way to completely hide the program?
A: Yes. Just make sure it's checked, and use the appropriate hotkey to hide it. This way you can leave the computer, let other people use it, and as long as they don't accidently hit your hotkey, they will never know anything. You won't even be able to see it in the Task Manager!
That's it for my guide. I hope it can help at least a few people. Eventually it may end up in the Wiki (if there isn't something similar already). Any questions or comments I will be happy to respond to. Good luck and happy hiding!