Show hidden files and folders

Introduction

Windows hides important files and folders so that users won't accidentally delete or edit them resulting in possible issues with the OS or other programs.  However, sometimes the user needs to get into these hidden files or folders to get something.

Making these files and folders visible will not damage anything, however, any deleting or editing of files or folders that are outside what may be requested to troubleshoot can result in issues with your OS or other programs.  So please do not alter or delete anything unless asked.

After you complete troubleshooting and if you share your computer it is best to undo these options and hide these folders and files again.


Need this guide for a specific Windows version? Click on the version below:

Windows 7 | Windows 8 | Windows 10

Windows Vista and 7

Go to the Start menu > Control Panel

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Click on the Appearance and Personalization link.

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Go to the Folder Options > Show Hidden files and folders.

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Click on the View tab in the Folder Options window. In the Advance Settings go into the Files and Folders > Hidden files and folders > and check Show hidden files, folders, and drives.

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Press the Apply button and then the OK button.

 

Windows 8

From the Windows 8 Start Screen, select the Control Panel app.

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When the window opens scroll to the very bottom and select the More Settings option.

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This will bring up the traditional Windows Control Panel.  Click on the Appearance and Personalization link.

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Go to the Folder Options > Show Hidden files and folders.

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Click on the View tab in the Folder Options window. In the Advance Settings go into the Files and Folders > Hidden files and folders > and check Show hidden files, folders, and drives.

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Press the Apply button and then the OK button.

 

Windows 10

 In the search at the bottom by the Start menu type in Folder.  This should bring up some options.  Locate under Best Match the Show hidden files and folders, and click on it.

Make sure in the window that pops up you are in the View tab and locate the Hidden files and folders option.  Make sure the Show hidden files, folders, or drives is marked.

Press the Apply button and then the OK button.