How to View Hidden Files in Windows

This article depicts steps to see hidden files in Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Read more.

By default Windows hides certain files from been seen with Windows Explorer or My computer. This is done to protect these files, which are usually system files, from accidentally being modified or deleted by the user. Unfortunately viruses, spyware and hijackers, malware also often hide files in this way, making it hard to find them and delete them.

Using below steps for each version of Windows you will be able to change the operating system behavior so that you can see hidden and protected files. In this way you will be able to delete or replace files to troubleshoot the infected computer.
Windows XP

To unhide files in Windows XP, follow these steps:

  • 1. Close all programs so that you are at your desktop.
  • 2. Double-click on the My Computer icon.
  • 3. Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
  • 4. After the new window appears select the View tab.
  • 5. Put a checkmark in the checkbox labeled Display the contents of system folders.
  • 6. Under the Hidden files and folders section select the radio button labeled Show hidden files and folders.
  • 7. Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide file extensions for known file types.
  • 8. Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide protected operating system files.
  • 9. Press the Apply button and then the OK button and shutdown My Computer.
  • 10. Now your computer is configured to show all hidden files.

Windows Vista


To enable the viewing of Hidden files follow these steps:

  • 1. Close all programs so that you are at your desktop.
  • 2. Click on the Start button. This is the small round button with the Windows flag in the lower left corner.
  • 3. Click on the Control Panel menu option.
  • 4. When the control panel opens you can either be in Classic View or Control Panel Home view:

If you are in the Classic View do the following:
a. Double-click on the Folder Options icon.
b. Click on the View tab.
c. Go to step 5.

If you are in the Control Panel Home view do the following:
d. Click on the Appearance and Personalization link .
e. Click on Show Hidden Files or Folders.
f. Go to step 5.

  • 5. Under the Hidden files and folders section select the radio button labeled Show hidden files and folders.
  • 6. Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide extensions for known file types.
  • 7. Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide protected operating system files.
  • 8. Press the Apply button and then the OK button.
  • 9. Now Windows Vista is configured to show all hidden files.

 

Windows 7


To unhide files in Windows &, please follow these steps:

  • 1. Close all programs so that you are at your desktop.
  • 2. Click on the Start button. This is the small round button with the Windows flag in the lower left corner.
  • 3. Click on the Control Panel menu option.
  • 4. When the control panel opens click on the Appearance and Personalization link.
  • 5. Under the Folder Options category, click on Show Hidden Files or Folders.
  • 6. Under the Hidden files and folders section select the radio button labeled Show hidden files, folders, or drives.
  • 7. Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide extensions for known file types.
  • 8. Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide protected operating system files (Recommended).
  • 9. Press the Apply button and then the OK button..
  • 10. Now Windows 7 is configured to show all hidden files.

 

Windows 8


To enable the viewing of Hidden files in Windows 8, please follow these steps.

  • 1. From the Windows 8 Start Screen, click on the Control Panel app.
  • 2. When the Control Panel opens scroll down to the bottom and click on the More Settings option.
  • 3. The traditional Windows 8 Control Panel will now open. When it is open, click on the Appearance and Personalization link.
  • 4. Under the Folder Options category, click on Show Hidden Files or Folders.
  • 5. Under the Hidden files and folders section select the radio button labeled Show hidden files, folders, or drives.
  • 6. Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide extensions for known file types.
  • 7. Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide protected operating system files (Recommended).
  • 8. Press the Apply button and then the OK button..
  • 9. Now Windows 8 is configured to show all hidden files.

Please note that you will now see icons that were not previously visible. One of the most common concerns is that you will see a file called desktop.ini throughout your computer. These are legitimate hidden files and can be ignored.

Now you know how to see all hidden files on your computer, malicious programs such as viruses, spyware, and hijackers will no longer be able to hide themselves from you or people helping you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in our computer help forums.

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4 thoughts on “How to View Hidden Files in Windows

  1. Im trying to get rid of instantsaving, which i have been informed is hiding. I did everything you guys said, i have windows 7, and i cant see instantsavings ANYWHERE. PLEASE HELP I CANT WATCH YOUTUBE

    • Hello,

      To uninstall install savings, please follow steps below:

      Step 1 > Uninstall install savings and related elements from your computer.

      Follow the instruction that corresponds to your operating system to uninstall malicious items

      • Windows XP: Go to Start> Control Panel> Add Remove programs> Look for items that related to install savings > Click on Remove.

      • Windows 7/Vista: Go to Start> Control panel> Uninstall a program/Programs and Features> Look for items that related to install savings > click on Uninstall.

      Step 2. Check your web browser. If you find any toolbar related to instant savings, extension or add-on, please make sure to remove it.

      If you have any problem, please let me know more detail information by sending email to support@anvisoft.com.

      Information should be included:
      1.what browser do you use?
      2. The symptom of instant savings problem.

      Thanks a lot for your support.

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