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How to Show Hidden Files in Windows 10

Unhide Hidden Files, Folders, and Drives in Windows 10 & 7

Many important system files and folders in Windows are hidden, but sometimes you may need to access them. This guide shows how to enable the "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" option in Windows 10 and 7.

show hidden files windows 10

The Windows operating system hides many system files and folders to avoid deletion, accidental change, moving, etc. Another reason for hiding files and folders is to make Windows clutter-free. In this way, Microsoft attempts to avoid distracting users with "unnecessary" files by hiding them.

In some cases, users might need to access these hidden files or folders, which is straightforward. Remember, though, that hidden files should generally remain hidden.

Leaving them visible could result in accidental deletion, changes, etc., potentially leading to system instability. If you need to unhide hidden files, we recommend returning them to the hidden state when you are finished.

Video Showing How to View Hidden Files:

Table of Contents:

View Hidden Files in Windows 10

To enable the "Show hidden files" option in Windows 10, type "folder options" or "file explorer options" and click the "File Explorer Options" result.

show hidden files in windows 10 step 1

In the File Explorer Options window, find and click the "View" tab. Find the "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" option under Advanced settings. Select it and click "Apply" to save the changes.

Now all hidden files, folders, and drives will be displayed. Once you have finished working with them, we recommend that you re-enable the "Don't show hidden files, folders, or drives" option.

show hidden files in windows 10 step 2

You can use the Command Prompt and associated commands to view hidden files. Command Prompt is the input field of a text-based user interface screen, a command-line interpreter application available in Windows. This guide describes how to open Command Prompt and the commands used to see hidden files in a particular directory.

To launch elevated Command Prompt (to run it as administrator), type "command prompt" in Search and right-click the "Command Prompt" result, then select the "Run as administrator" option from the contextual menu.

show hidden files in windows 10 step 3

If you want to see all hidden files and hidden directories in the current directory (the one you have open/currently working with), type the "dir /ah" command and press Enter on your keyboard.

show hidden files in windows 10 step 4

If you want to see all hidden files in the current directory but do not need the hidden subdirectories to be displayed, type the "dir /ah-d" command and press Enter on your keyboard.

show hidden files in windows 7 step 5

If you want all files and directories, including hidden files and hidden directories of the current directory, to be displayed, then type the "dir /a" command and press Enter on your keyboard.

show hidden files in windows 10 step 5

If you type and execute the "attrib" command, you will see all files stored in the current directory with their attributes to the left of the directory path and the filename. Files that have "H" letter next to them will be the hidden files.

show hidden files in windows 10 step 6

The "attrib | more" command enables you to see more files (if there are too many, and you cannot see all at once).

show hidden files in windows 10 step 7

Now you should know how to enable and disable the "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" option in Windows 10.

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View Hidden Files in Windows 7

To view hidden files and folders or drives in Windows 7, go to Control Panel - click the "Start" menu and then click the "Control Panel" option.

show hidden files in windows 7 step 1

In Control Panel, find the "Folder Options" and click it. If the Control Panel menu window is displayed differently than shown here, set it to view by "Large icons" in the top-right corner.

show hidden files in windows 7 step 2

In the Folder Options window, find and click the "View" tab, then find the "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" option under Advanced settings. Select it and click "Apply" to save the changes. Now all hidden files, folders, and drives will be displayed.

Once you have finished working with them, we recommend that you re-enable the "Don't show hidden files, folders, or drives" option.

show hidden files in windows 7 step 3

You can also use Command Prompt commands. The same steps apply to both Windows 10 and Windows 7.

We hope that this guide was helpful and you know more about hidden files and folders, why are they hidden, and how to view them. If you have any questions related to this topic, do not hesitate to leave a comment in the section below.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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