How to Hide or Unhide ZIP File in Picture - Windows Basics


Thursday, September 14, 2023

How to Hide or Unhide ZIP File in Picture

Steganography is the hiding of data (or information in the form of messages). In computing terms, this means hiding data in alternate files. Using the steganography technique allows you to hide important (secret) files stored on your PC.

One steganography method is to merge a ZIP file containing multiple files with one image. After that, the ZIP file will be no different from a standard image file. Below are two ways to hide ZIP files in image files on Windows 11/10 PC.

How to hide ZIP in image files using Command Prompt

You can hide ZIP files in images without any third-party software using Command Prompt. This is relatively simple because you only need to execute a single command. Note that the images you use must be in JPG, PNG or GIF format.

1. How to get started with Command Prompt

Here's how you can hide ZIP files in images using Command Prompt:

1. First, create a ZIP file that includes some important files that need to be hidden. That's the ZIP file you'll merge with the images.

2. Move the ZIP file into the same folder as the images you are about to merge. This trick will not work if the ZIP archive file and the image file to be merged are not in the same folder.

3. Next, activate the search box (use the keyboard shortcut Win + S).

4. Enter the keyword cmd and choose to open Command Prompt with admin rights by clicking Run as administrator for that search result.

5. Now, enter the cd command to open the folder containing the ZIP file and images to merge. For example, the command to open the Users folder would be as follows:


6. Enter this command and press Enter to merge the ZIP file with the image file:

copy /B newfilename.jpg

You will need to replace the filename in the example command above with the actual name. The command will not work if your filename includes spaces. So, make sure the ZIP archive or image file name does not have spaces. The 3 files in the example command above are:

  • Original image file to merge with ZIP file: imagefilename.jpg
  • ZIP file name:
  • The new image file that the command creates: newfilename.jpg

Now, let's check the newly created image file in the same directory. Double-clicking that file will open it in your default image viewer. It doesn't look like a ZIP file, but you can still access the merged ZIP file from the image.

2. How to access files in images

1. To access the file hidden in that image, download and install the freely available 7-Zip software, one of the best file decompression tools for Windows.

2. Navigate to the folder containing the new image file using the copy /B command created in 7-Zip. Double-clicking that image file will open the ZIP file you merged. You can then access all the content in the ZIP file by double-clicking on it in 7-Zip.

3. Or you can extract content from the file with 7-Zip by selecting the image file and clicking Extract. Click the ellipse button to select the folder containing the extracted files. Then click OK to proceed with decompression.

3. How to hide ZIP in image files using Image Steganography

If you prefer a more automated way to hide ZIP files in image files, consider Image Steganography software. Image Steganography is free software for Windows 11/10 that allows you to embed ZIP files into images without entering any commands. Here's how you can hide ZIPs in images using Image Steganography software:

1. Open the Image Steganography page on Software.

2. Download and double-click the Image Steganography Setup.exe file to display the installer window.

3. Select Yes when prompted to start Image Steganography.

Open the folder containing the ZIP archive and image files you want to merge. Remember that both files must be in the same folder like the first method.

Drag and drop the image file from its folder into the Image box in the software to select it. Now that you're ready, proceed as follows:

1. Click the File button.

2. Then drag and drop the ZIP file from the folder into the file box.

3. Click the Choose button for the output image.

4. Select a folder to save the output file. Enter a name for the new image file and click Save.

5. Make sure the Embed and Encode steganography mode options are selected.

6. Click the Start button in Image Steganography.

If an error message appears saying “image too small”, you need to choose a larger image file. The image file must be larger than the ZIP archive you want to merge. Additionally, select the Pre-Scale Image check box.

Your new image output file will be in whatever folder you chose to save it in. The ZIP file is embedded, but you'll only see the image in whatever software it's opened in.

4. How to access files in images

Hidden files will not be accessible in 7-Zip when created with Image Steganography software. To access the embedded ZIP file again, you will need to decode the hidden image file using stenography software. Here's how you can decrypt an image file that contains embedded ZIP:

1. Click on the Decode stenography mode option.

2. Drag and drop the image file to be decoded into the Image box inside the software.

3. Click the Choose button to select the folder location to include the ZIP file and click OK.

4. Click the Start button of Image Stenography to decode the image file.

5. Finally click OK on the completed dialog box.

The folder location you selected will now include the hidden ZIP file within the image file. You can access all the content in that file by decompressing it using one of the methods in I instructions on how to decompress ZIP files.

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