Password protect/lock folder

Yes, but the moment I decrypt the folders, they are readable in plain text by everyone else who has access to my file system. The only way to prevent this would be to decrypt the data exclusively in RAM. Which again only makes sense in case Obsidian does the decryption itself.
By the way, I am more or less a workaholic, the decrypted SSD would be connected to the system all day long.

All Obsidian’s features require the whole vault to be decrypted - search, links, graph - and the simultaneous use with other programs only works because the files are open.

afaics, what you’re looking for can only be offered with a database solution.

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Yes, you are right. In that case, I think it is just not possible.
Maybe encryption of certain lines and paragraphs inside Obsidian would be a possibility.

I think if you need encrypt folder or more, then it is not for Obsidian at all. It is for encrypted filesystem and so on.

But encrypt one note in RAM-only is very concrete task. Case “this one page contains very very private data and vault contains neutral or public data” is not as useless as you can see. And search with encrypted data and public data both - what for?

Vault encryption makes sense to me.
I want to have my notes on my job’s laptop without anybody being able to look at them.

Also, that would make the cloud backup a lot more attractive.

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I would also like something like this (see Folder locking/hiding (vs nested Vaults) to solve unrelated concerns? )
I don’t need selected folders to be encrypted or compressed physically. I would actually prefer if nothing happened to locked folders when looking them in the OS. I would not even need password for unlocking. Or encryption, compression, password should be only optional.

I would like the possibility to lock (or hide) selected folders within Obsidian. Locking/hiding would mean that the contents of locked folders would not be accessible/visible to Obsidian and the user (as if those folders were none existent). Why? For two purposes (both are important to me):

  1. Temporarily reducing number of notes in the vault hence gaining speed.. Say, I have home, hobby and work folders under the root. They are quite interlinked but I know that in the next session I will only work on a specific project in the work folder. Temporarily locking the home and hobby folders and keeping the work folder unlocked could greatly reduce the number of active notes in my vault, and make things faster, during that session. (Obsidian would not load any notes in locked folders into memory or whatever.) But if during the session it turns out that I do need to access a note in the hobby folder, that would be just one click away.
  2. Temporarily hiding notes in a robust and safe way. Say, I am discussing over some of my Obsidian notes with other folks and I would like to avoid that some private notes are accidentally clicked and displayed. (Excluding folders with e.g. the “-path:private” search string is overriden if you click on a note in that path, so it is no help in this case). This kind of folder locking would be a perfect and very yrobust solution.

I should note that I could achieve this funcionality by simply moving out a folder from the vault before starting Obsidian: Notes on a graph in an out-moved folder have different colour. When I click on one of them, I get an incorrect error message (“Folder already exists.”) but otherwise I have experienced no problem with this approach so far. When I need that folder, I simply move it back to its original place (I could create an OS alias to know where a folder belongs), of course before starting Obsidian. Certainly, I will not move folders in and out of the vault, while Obsidian is running.

This could be done much more intelligently in Obsidian with a plug-in, without physically doing anything with the folders. That is outside Obsidian nothing would be different. Some ideas:

  1. Select one or several folders and have the command: “Lock selected folder(s)”.
  2. Select one or several locked folders and have the command: “Unlock selected folder(s)” and “Unlock all locked folders”.
  3. Locked folders and notes in locked folders would be indicated visually also (maybe with a lock ! :slight_smile: . (On the graph, they already have different colour if they are in a folder that I moved out from the vault.) It could be an option setting whether their names would be still visible or only the lock icon.
  4. As an option to be set in the preferences, clicking on a note that is in a locked folder would bring up a pop-up or something offering “Unlock” or “Unlock (the note and the enclosing folder(s))” and “Unlock all locked folders”. If this option would be not set, one just have a sound (of a misplaced click whatever).

Maybe you can add other functionalities. Anyway, currently I am experimenting with moving folders out (and back in when needed) the vault before starting Obsidian.

Please note, that nested vaults can not provide the functionality of temporary locked folders.

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This is what i did for mac

Hiding

  • Created a particular folder in my directory structure of obsidian vault eg. <vault path>/secret-folder
  • Created a function in .zshrc, which called upon, runs these 2 commands. zip -req vault secret-folder rm -rf secret-folder
  • -r => for directory, -e => encryption. So it will ask for you to enter a password, -q => quite mode so that it doesn’t reveal the file names which are being zipped
  • Now your secret folder won’t be seen in obsidian

Opening

  • unzip -q vault.zip
  • rm vault.zip

My function name for hiding is cl and for opening is op. Now on the terminal, all you have to do is call cl and op.
On top of this, if you happen to use iterm, you can bind keyboard shortcuts, when you hit the keyboard shortcut, it will open up the terminal and execute cl or op for you.

Use case or problem

Obsidian currently has no password protection besides a plugin that encrypts parts of your note. For an example of a solution Apple notes has an inbuilt password function.

It allows for some privacy when using the same device as others. For example letting other people use your phone or computer for a while. In this instance, all that is needed is a simple password lock for the app. Note I am not talking about encrypting the notes, just a password requirement to see the notes from the obsidian app.

Proposed solution

An option to have an app-level password requirement to access certain vaults, folders or files. Not talking about encryption.

Current workaround (optional)

Using a plugin that allows me to encrypt certain notes though it is clunky as I need to constantly encrypt/decrypt.

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To preface this, I have no developer knowledge soI am just jumping in with a semi random comment.

Obsidian notes are not a proprietary format. In its core Obsidian is a text editor, aimed at .md files in your system. All your notes are simple text files that reside in a folder somewhere and can be viewed with even the most basic text editors.

So if you are excluding encryption of the folder, I am not sure there are many meaningful ways to implement this, or am I wrong with these thoughts? You can always password protect an app, such that it doesn’t display anything but what would stop the people from opening the unencrypted folder in explorer and browsing it? I am here envisioning the meme image about the windows antivirus system which was a gate in a field that you can always just walk around :slight_smile: .

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I’m not against encryption per say, yes encryption would be suitable for PC. I was talking about this from the more mobile perspective where people are unlikely to go to the files app and would just go on the app. In this case encryption isn’t really needed and a simple password function (like Apple note) would be enough.

I agree that on the mobile makes sense. Don’t know about apple but on android I can never find any files, even the one I. JUST. DOWNLOADED!, let alone any other file :smiley:

Haha true

FYI I’ve created a lock screen plugin. It doesn’t do any real encryption, just conceals the vault via a UI overlay. Works on both mobile and desktop. Just search for “Lock Screen” in the community plugins.

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Thanks for this plugin, @ericbiewener. I just installed it. But … how do I use it? Once I activated the plugin, all I see in Obsidian is a blank screen with a large password field. I haven’t set a password and I can’t seem to get into my Obsidian vault. Please help!

There is also Meld Encrypt GitHub - meld-cp/obsidian-encrypt: Hide secrets in your Obsidian.md vault

But I’m not sure if this plugin ensures that there’s no version of decrypted text backed up, or in version history, or synced etc.
I also remember that there was a new encryption plugin mentioned in Obsidianroundup 2 or 3 weeks ago.

I’m in a need of solution for hiding notes temporarily.

Can I hide a folder safely from Obsidian by prefixing it with a period in macOS, and what are the potential problems with this approach?

Can I hide/show the folder while Obsidian is running and just press Reload?

What would be the easiest workflow for finding and merging duplicate files created while a folder was hidden?

My use case is that I often discuss projects with clients. Being able to show my thinking to the client from Obsidian is very useful, but I don’t want to show information from another client accidentally. Avoiding accidental clicks creates unnecessary overhead for me, and breaks flow in midst of being immersed in project related problem solving with a client.

You guys need to understand that Obsidian is a note taking app based on text files, inside regular folders. Asking question like « can Obsidian encrypt my files » is so out of scope that it blow my mind. Just use a regular encryption tool for files for that like Cryptomator or similar. Stop wasting devs time for useless features.

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@mf88 sorry for the late reply. The issue you mentioned has been fixed. Cheers!

Thanks Eric!, I love it! This is the one thing that kept me from using Obsidian on my phone (family knows my lock code). I also love that you added a timeout option.

Absolutely what I need. Thank you so much. I just need a simple solution to avoid prying eyes from non-tech people without having to encrypt/decrypt files.