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show hidden00 Show Hidden Files in Windows 7, Vista, and XP [How To]In a lot of the guides on this site, we ask you to show hidden files. If you are not sure of how to do this, this guide is for you.

Although the interface of Windows has changed since Windows XP, the steps taken to show hidden files are the same for Windows XP, Vista, and 7. I’ved used XP for the screenshots in this guide.

Show Hidden Files in Windows

To show hidden files in Windows:

  1. Open (My) Computer.
  2. Windows Vista/7: press the Alt key.
  3. Click Tools > Folder Options…

    show hidden01 Show Hidden Files in Windows 7, Vista, and XP [How To]

  4. Click the View tab, select Show hidden files and folders, and uncheck Hide protected operating system files (Recommended).

    show hidden02 Show Hidden Files in Windows 7, Vista, and XP [How To]

  5. Click Yes to accept the warning about showing hidden operating system files.

    show hidden03 Show Hidden Files in Windows 7, Vista, and XP [How To]

  6. Click OK to save your settings.


 Show Hidden Files in Windows 7, Vista, and XP [How To]

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix the problems he creates.

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Comments

  • chuck

    There are even nifty little programs that will add the “unhide/hide” action in your context menu….very helpful! Just google it…

  • Alan Douglas

    You might want to mention WHY you would want to show hidden & system files …
    I’ve had a number of users complain to me that they’re trying to clean up their folders, but they keep getting a message that they can’t delete one because it’s not empty. Typically, when I reveal the hidden & system files, there are a couple of stray system files in an otherwise empty folder: Desktop.ini and Thumbs.db. These files are not needed in an otherwise empty folder, so they can be deleted (by an Administrator) and the folder can finally be zapped.

  • http://cyberfish.110mb.com Jake

    Thanks man! I really didn’t know the thing with Alt button on Windows 7!


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