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How to Show Hidden Files and Folders in Windows 7, 8 or 10? (2020)

Windows operating system offers many distinct features for its users. One of the unique features they provide is that certain files and folders are hidden in the system by default.

This feature is provided to prevent a user from deleting or misplacing that file or folder from their PC. Some operating system files are automatically hidden in the PC.

The user is unable to locate these files unless they are unhidden. 

Files and folders which are useful to the user generally get hidden/unhidden manually. Sometimes while modifying any properties of a file or folder, the user may hide them unknowingly.

As a result,  a user can find it difficult to search for the required file or folder on their PC.

It is a simple process to unhide that file or folder and restore them in your PC, but users may find it arduous to locate hidden files and unhide them. 

How to Show Hidden Files and Folders in Windows 7, 8 or 10

When you wish to unhide a file or folder, you have to perform some steps to do it. For your easy access, we have compiled them through this article. So, let’s dive into it without any further wait! 

First of all, let's look at steps to unhide a folder in Windows 7. 

Steps to Unhide a File/Folder in Windows 7

  1. 1
    Open ‘My Computer’ on the desktop screen. Once you open it, the organize tab will be displayed on the top left of the screen.
  2. 2
    Click on the ‘Organize Tab.’ A drop-down menu will appear—select folder and search option from the drop-down menu.
  3. 3
    A new pop up window titled ‘Folder Options’ will appear. From the three tabs displayed on top select the view tab.
  4. 4
    Advanced settings options will be displayed after that. Select the option ‘ Show hidden files, folders and drives’.
  5. 5
    After selecting this option, all the hidden files and folders will be displayed at their specific locations.

Steps to Unhide a File/Folder in Windows 8 & 10

Windows 8 and 10 have a slightly different method to unhide files and folders. There are three methods through which you can see hidden files and folders on windows 8 and 10 operating systems. 

Method 1- Through File Explorer 

  1. 1
    First of all, click the start tab at the bottom on the desktop screen. Select the file explorer or document tab out of the other three options.
  2. 2
    A new window will appear on the screen. Then click the ‘View’ tab located at the top of the screen. Multiple options will appear at the bottom of the view tab.
  3. 3
    Select the ‘Show/Hide’ option from those options. A small drop-down menu will appear.
  4. 4
    Tick the third option ‘Hidden items’ from that drop-down menu. After clicking it all the hidden files and folders will be displayed at their locations. 

Method 2- Control Panel

  1. 1
    Go to the control panel through the start tab on the desktop screen. In the control panel, there are multiple options to choose from.
  2. 2
    Choose the ‘Appearance and Personalization’ option. A menu will appear which displays multiple tabs. Select the ‘File Explorer’ option.
  3. 3
    A pop-out window will appear on screen with ‘Folder Options’ title. Three options will appear in the window. Select the ‘View’ option.
  4. 4
    Multiple options will appear below ‘Advance Settings’. Now click the ‘Show hidden files, folders and drives’ option. Click on the apply tab and then click on Ok to regulate this setting.
  5. 5
    Once you do this, all the hidden files and folders will appear on your system.

Method 3 - Through Registry

  1. 1
    Firstly hold the windows key on your keyboard and press ‘R.’ A dialogue box will run. 
  2. 2
    In that dialogue box type ‘Regedit’ and press enter key.
  3. 3
    You have to navigate to the following locations – Hkey_CURRENT_USER, Software, Microsoft, Windows, Current version, Explorer, Advanced.
  4. 4
     Now you have to set the value of Hidden to 1 to unhide all files and folders.
  5. 5
    After this step, all the hidden files and folders will be displayed in your PC.

How to Hide and Show Files and Folders in Windows 7,8,10 Easily & quickly

Windows operating systems hide system files on your PC. These important files are kept hidden and protected for better system functions. It is recommended by the PC administration to keep these files hidden as they can get deleted or misplaced if they are unhidden.

Generally, these files are not required by the user. But in case if you wish to unhide such system files, then you have to perform some steps to do so. Following are the simple steps to unhide system files on your PC.

Steps to Unhide Protected Operating System Files

  1. 1
    Go to the file explorer and select the ‘View’ option from the file explorer menu.
  2. 2
    Folder options pop-out window will appear. There are three options in the window. Select the ‘View’ option, and advance settings will appear at the bottom.
  3. 3
    Select the ‘Show hidden files, folders and drives’ option. Also, untick the ‘Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)’ option. Click on the apply and ok option below to update this setting.
  4. 4
    A warning window will appear which will ask again to display the protected operating system files on your PC or not. When you click yes, all those files will get displayed immediately on your system.

Recognize the Hidden Files on Your PC

The hidden files which are unhidden by performing these steps will appear at their locations. When you open a folder which has an unhidden file, you will easily notice the difference between unhidden files and previously available files.

Unhidden files can be recognized easily because those files appear lighter than regular files. So you can differentiate between them quickly.


We hope that now you can unhide all your files and folders on your PC through these easy to perform steps. Any regular PC user can perform these multiple steps. But it is generally recommended that you should keep the protected operating system files and folders hidden on your system. 


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About the Author

Piyush Kashyap is a Ph.D student at Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Sangrur. He is a budding editor/ writer and has been working as a part-time reviewer for online content. He loves to read tech-based articles and has a knack for reviewing such articles He likes to stay updated about the latest trends in technology. He has also been working as a reviewer for many scientific journals. He also writes articles based on science. Know More About Piyush

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