How to Show Hidden Folders

Normally folders and files are hidden because they are important to the operating system such as the Windows XP on your desktop or laptop. It is hidden because the less you are exposed to it; it is less likely that you will damage or discard the files “accidentally.” However, there will come a time when you will need to access these files for various reasons; typically persons access these files when there are viruses on the system and it needs to be cleaned. Sometimes you may need to access these files for debugging purposes or it may be a case that the system needs to recover from a spyware attack. Here are instructions on how to show hidden folders.

Required Tools

  • Computer

Required Materials

  • An operating system (For example, Windows XP)

Instructions

The following instructions are for Windows XP and Explorer

  1. To access hidden folders, you first need to open any folder in Explorer.
  2. After opening the folder, choose Tools which is located on top of your screen in the toolbar.
  3. After you choose tools, then click on Folder Options.
  4. A multi-tabbed dialog box will be shown; you must choose the “View” tab.
  5. Click on “Show Hidden Files and Folders.”
  6. Finally click on OK to close the dialog box.

The following instructions are for Windows 2003

  1. Close every document, folder or file so that only the desktop is seen.
  2. Find the My Computer icon and double-click on it.
  3. Find the Tools menu and choose Folder Options.
  4. Click View tab.
  5. Afterwards, click on Display the contents of system folders.
  6. Look under the Hidden Files and Folder section and select Show Hidden Files and Folders.
  7. Undo the check mark from the box labeled Hide file extensions for known file types.
  8. Undo the check mark from the box labeled Hide protected operating system files.
  9. Select the Apply button and then OK and Shutdown my computer.
  10. The computer will configure to show all hidden files and folders.

The following instructions are for Windows Vista

  1. Show desktop
  2. Click on the Start button
  3. Select the Control Panel menu option
  4. Once the panel is open, you may be in Classic View or Control Panel Home view
  5. If you are in the Classic View, double click on the Folder options icon, select View tab and then under Hidden Files and Folders, select Show Hidden Files and Folders. If you are in the Control Panel Home View, select Appearance and Personalization icon, then click on Show Hidden Files and Folders. You will continue with steps six through to eight.
  6. Un-check the box labeled Hide extensions for known file types.
  7. Un-check the box labeled Hide protected operating system files
  8. Select the Apply button and then OK so that Windows will be configured to show you hidden files and folders.

Tips and Warning

  • When you learn to view hidden files and folders, you will be aware of harmful programs such as viruses, spyware and you will be able to discover hijackers being a nuisance to you and others.
  • If you no longer want to see your hidden files and folders, you can check back boxes that states “hide files” (etc).