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

Jan 05, 2021

hidden files windows

Windows hides some system files and folders by default so that users wouldn’t delete them by accident. As certain files are crucial for your operating system to work efficiently, Windows wants to mitigate the risk of you getting in trouble. However, you can view hidden files and organize them the way you like.

How to show hidden files in Windows 10

Viewing hidden files in Windows 10 is easy, and it doesn’t take more than a couple of moments to change your settings. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open File Explorer from the taskbar.
  2. Go to View > Options > Change folder and search options.
  3. Select the View tab.
  4. Select Show hidden files, folders, and drives in Advanced settings.
  5. Click OK.

After implementing these steps, you will be able to see all the hidden files and folders on your computer.

How to show hidden files in Windows 8

To view your hidden files in Windows 8 with a couple of clicks, follow this tutorial:

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Click on Appearance and Personalization.
  3. Click on Show hidden files and folders under the Folder Options section.
  4. Go to the View tab and click the Show hidden files, folders, and drives radio button.
  5. Click Apply and then OK.

Now you will be able to see hidden files, folders, and drives. If you want to hide everything again, just follow the same steps.

How to show hidden files in Windows 7

By implementing these steps, you will be able to view your hidden files in Windows 7. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Click on Appearance and Personalization.
  3. Click on Show hidden files and folders under the Folder Options section.
  4. Go to the View tab and click the Show hidden files, folders, and drives radio button.
  5. Click Apply and then OK.

Finding hidden files using Command Prompt

Command Prompt is a program designed to execute commands, perform advanced administrative functions, and troubleshoot issues in the Windows operating system. Whether you’re on Windows 10, 8, or 7, the Command Prompt looks and works exactly the same.

You can also use Command Prompt to find hidden files on your computer:

  1. Type command prompt in the Search.
  2. Right-click the Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type dir D: /a:h /b /s and press Enter to show hidden files in drive D (if you want to see your hidden files in any other hard drive, just type its letter instead of D, as we only use it here as an example).
  4. After executing the command, you will see the list of your hidden files.

Why are some files and folders hidden?

Windows hide certain files and folders to save you from yourself. Some files might be needed for your system to work properly, and deleting them would cause issues.

You can also hide your personal files on a computer so nobody could see them. However, this function shouldn’t be used to hide confidential information, and it’s not equal to Windows file encryption. Hidden files are not protected in any way, and, as you’ve already seen from this tutorial, it’s a piece of cake to view them.

This is where NordLocker comes for help. It’s an easy-to-use app that encrypts your files and allows you to securely store them on your computer or in the NordLocker cloud. When your files are encrypted, nobody can see their contents or names. All you need to do is drag and drop files into a so-called locker, and the app encrypts them automatically.

Elisa Armstrong

Elisa Armstrong

Verified author

Elisa’s all about languages. She speaks five, loves stand-up comedy, and is writing her first novel. Besides her extensive knowledge of cybersecurity, she’s an expert in persuasion techniques hackers use and strives to teach people how to avoid online scams.