How to show hidden files and folders in Windows 10, 8 & 7

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  • You can view hidden files in Windows 10, 8, and 7 by following the steps in this article.
  • Hidden files are fainter and slightly grayed compared to other files to signify that they are not usual files.
  • Do not modify any of the hidden files when you locate them because some of them are essential to the functioning of specific programs or utilities on your computer.

There are situations when you need to view hidden system files and folders, especially when performing system maintenance.

Windows hide important files and folders by default; this is done to protect these files and prevent users from modifying or deleting files that could damage their systems. There are a few reasons you might need to view hidden files on your Windows PC. Whatever the reason, you can easily show hidden files in Windows 10, 8, and 17 by following the steps below.

Windows 10 and 8

1. Right-click the Windows Start menu then click File Explorer.

2. Click the View tab located in the top-left.

3. Select Options on the right side or click the down arrow and select Change folder and search options.

4. In the Folder Options window that appears, click the View tab to locate Advanced settings.

5. In the “Advanced settings” section of the window, scroll down and locate Hidden Files and Folders then click the Show Hidden Files and Folders radio button.

6. Click Apply, then OK to save the changes.

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Windows 7

1. Right-click the Windows Start menu then click File Explorer.

2. Select Organize located in the top-left.

3. From the drop-down menu, click Folder and search options.

4. In the Folder Options window that appears, click the View tab

5. In the “Advanced settings” section of the window, under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files, folders and drives radio button.

6. Click Apply, then OK to save the changes.

Windows XP

1. Click the Windows Start menu then click Computer.

2. Click Tools on the menu and click Folder Options.

3. In the “Folder Options” window, click the View tab.

4. In the “View” tab, under Advanced Settings, click Show hidden files, folders and drives.

5. Click Apply, then OK to save the changes.

Tip: If you do not want to see hidden files in Windows, select the Don’t show hidden files, folders and drives option in Advanced Settings.

Note: Hidden files appear fainter and slightly grayed compared to other files to indicate that they are not typical files. When you locate the hidden files you are looking for, do not make any changes to them because some files are critical to certain system utilities or programs. Modifying or deleting them could negatively impact your computer.

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