HOWTO: "Hide" Externally Referenced Files

HOWTO: "Hide" Externally Referenced Files

Document ID: IR04029
The information in this article applies to:
  • AutoPlay Media Studio 4.0


This article explains some common methods that can be used to hide external files using AutoPlay Media Studio 4.0


Most file references in AutoPlay Media Studio 4.0 will be to external files. External files are files that your AutoPlay application accesses as external references. They aren't built into the application like internal files. Instead, they're simply expected to be where you say they will be at run time. An external reference is a path that points to where a file will be at run time.

External files will be located on your CD-ROM, and you end user will have access to them. They will be able to make copies of them, or look at their internal makeup. As a result it is a common request to "hide" these file in some manner. There is no foolproof way to hide a file, but there are a few methods that will hide the file from 90% of computer users.

Change the File Name

This is the simplest and most effective method to hide files, and it simply involves renaming the file.

For example if you had a list of passwords stored in an unencrypted text file, naming it "password.txt" probably wouldn't be the best idea. Since "password.txt" has the .txt file extension all the user would have to do is double-click on the file in order to view your passwords in their default text editor.

A file name like "Q102WE.OUI" would probably be a better idea. Now the user will be less likely to try and view the file, and if they double-click on this file they will have to select the editor to use.

You will be able to access the renamed file normally in AutoPlay since the file is still a text file regardless of its file extension.

Another example would be an MP3 file. If you have an MP3 file, "MyMusic.MP3", that you did not want copied by your end users you could simply rename the file to something like: "ASYH711W.T4E". Now your MP3 file will be "hidden" from the end user, but still accessible to you like any other MP3 file.

Tip: It is a good idea to move any file that you want to "hide" off the root of the CD-ROM. Try placing it in the DATA subfolder, or even in a subfolder in the DATA folder. Obfuscating the folder name that you place your file in is also a good idea. For example the following path would be a good idea: "DATA\RSD01"

Note: You can rename a file of any type, MP3 and text files were simply used as examples.

Using a ZIP File

Another method of hiding files is to add the files to a ZIP file and then assign it a password. This is a very good method of protection, and even though there are programs that can "*****" ZIP passwords, most users will not go that far.

The real downside to this action is that it is adds complexity to your menu design, and slows down your runtime AutoPlay application.

In general when working with files in a zip file you would have to use the ZipFile.Extract() action (which can work with password protected ZIP files) to extract your file to a predetermined location on your end user's computer, %TempDir% is a good location. Then your AutoPlay application will access the file from that location.

So instead of accessing the file directly off of your CD-ROM, your AutoPlay application would extract the file from a ZIP file on your CD-ROM to a location on the end user's hard drive, and then access it from there.


For more information please see the following topics in the AutoPlay Media Studio 4.0 help file: