How to show hidden files and folders on Windows 10

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There are several ways you can enumerate hidden files and folders, and in this guide, you will learn how to accomplish this task on Windows 10 using File Explorer, Command Prompt, and PowerShell.

On Windows 10, sometimes you will need to access hidden files and folders to change system or application settings. Usually, these items are hidden to avoid clutter or prevent accidental removal of important components that can corrupt the operating system.

If you want to see hidden files and folders, Windows 10 offers a number of ways to accomplish this task using File Explorer, Command Prompt, and even PowerShell.

How to show hidden files with File Explorer

To view hidden files and folders in File Explorer, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer on Windows 10.
  2. Click on the View tab.
  3. Under the “Show / hide” section, check the option Elements hidden.
    Show hidden files and folders in File Explorer

Once you have completed the steps, File Explorer will show hidden and unhidden items, but it will continue to hide other protected files.

Show hidden files of protected operating system

To view the hidden files of the protected operating system, use the following steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on the View tab.
  3. Click on the Options button.File Explorer Folder Options Button
  4. Click on tab Pin up.
  5. Under the “Advanced settings” section, check the option Show hidden, folders and drives.
  6. Erase Hide protected operating system files option.Show hidden operating system files
  7. Click on the Apply button.
  8. Click on the OK button.

Once you have completed the steps, you will now be able to view hidden files as well as protected windows 10 files in File Explorer.

How to show hidden files with Command Prompt

To show hidden files and folders at command prompt, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search the command prompt,right click on the top result, and select run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to enumerate hidden files for the location and press Come in:

dir /adh

Show hidden files using Command Prompt

When working with the dir command, you can display hidden content in several ways using the following switches:

  • /at – only shows hidden folders.
  • / a: d – ne shows all directories.
  • / a: h – ne shows all hidden files.
  • / adh – shows a combination of the above options.

Once you have completed the steps, the command will allow you to see hidden files and folders during command prompt without changing File Explorer settings.

You can also see a list of hidden and protected operating system files using PowerShell with these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search PowerShell, clickright on the top result and select run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to show all hidden files and folders for the location and press Come in:

dir -Force

Show hidden files using PowerShell

Once you have completed the steps, the command will show hidden files and folders, but it will not change the folder options in File Explorer.

This guide focuses on Windows 10, but this feature has been around for a long time, which means the steps will also work on Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and older versions.



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