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Show Hidden Files And Folders

All versions of the Windows operating system support “hidden” files and folders. When a file or folder is marked as hidden, it will (by default) not be visible to the user. Files are often hidden to prevent accidental deletion or editing of important system files by the user. Sometimes it is necessary to view hidden files and folders when performing computer maintenance, and advanced users may wish to always be able to view hidden files. The procedure to display hidden files and folders varies by operation system. Follow the appropriate instructions below:

***UPDATE: To quickly toggle between showing and hiding “hidden” files and folders, you can download and run this program [1].

Windows 95

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Select the View menu and click Options.
  3. Select the View Tab.
  4. Select the Show all files Radio Button.
  5. Click OK.

Windows 98

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Select the View menu and click Folder Options.
  3. Select the View Tab.
  4. In the Hidden files section select Show all files.
  5. Click OK.

Windows ME

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
  3. Select the View Tab.
  4. Under the Hidden files and folders heading select Show hidden files and folders.
  5. Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option.
  6. Click Yes to confirm.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click Start, Programs and Accessories and open Windows Explorer.
  9. Select a hard drive from the left hand side of the Windows Explorer window.
  10. Select View the Entire contents of this drive.

Windows 2000

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
  3. Select the View Tab.
  4. Under the Hidden files and folders heading select Show hidden files and folders.
  5. Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option.
  6. Click Yes to confirm.
  7. Click OK.

Windows XP

  1. Click Start.
  2. Open My Computer.
  3. Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
  4. Select the View Tab.
  5. Under the Hidden files and folders heading select Show hidden files and folders.
  6. Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option.
  7. Click Yes to confirm.
  8. Click OK.

Windows Vista

  1. Click Start.
  2. Open Computer.
  3. Press the ALT key.
  4. Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
  5. Select the View Tab.
  6. Under the Hidden files and folders heading select Show hidden files and folders.
  7. Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option.
  8. Click Yes to confirm.
  9. Click OK.