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

Microsoft Windows hide some critically important system files so a user can’t delete them accidentally from PC. Sometimes we need to remove unwanted hidden files when required. We can’t delete them until we show the hidden files, folders and drives from the Windows explorer’s folder options. Let’s see how to view hidden files, folders and drives in Windows.

Follow the method according to your Windows version to show hidden files or folders (Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7). To show hidden files you need to modify the Folder / File Explorer options.

Show hidden files Windows 10 and Windows 8

Displaying hidden files will only show the normal files, not the protected operating system files and folders. To reveal the protected operating system files, first, you need to display hidden files, folders and then uncheck another option to view protected system files. To know more see the “Display protected operating system file” section below.

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Method-1 (Search)

  1. Press the Windows/Start button from the keyboard, this will open up the start menu. Now, type “Folders” and then click “Show hidden files and folders from the search results.”
    show hidden files folders
  2. Here on the File Explorer windows select “Show hidden files, folders and drives” option and then click OK to save the settings.
    show hidden files folders and drives windows 10

Method-2 (File Explorer)

  1. Open up the File Explorer by pressing Windows+E keys combination from the keyboard.
  2. Click the View tab on the File Explorer’s ribbon and then check the “Hidden Items” option from hide/show group of options.
    file explorer show hidden files option
  3. You will instantly see the result and all the hidden files will display instantly.

Show hidden files Windows 7

Method-1 (Windows Explorer)

  1. Press Windows+E hotkey from the keyboard to open up the Windows Explorer.
  2. Click the “Organize” button and then select “Folder and search options” from the menu.
    On the next windows click the View tab and then select “Show hidden files, folders and drives” option.

Method-2 (Control Panel)

  1. Open up the Windows Control Panel, click the Start button and then select Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization.
  2. Click Folder Options and this will open up a new window.
  3. Click the View tab and then select “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” option and to save the settings click OK

Display protected operating system files

Some important system files are bootmgr, BOOTNXT, hiberfil.sys, pagefile.sys, swapfile.sys, etc. and some folders are Recovery, Config.Msi and more. It’s not recommended to view system hidden files, that you may accidentally delete or modify and this may cause operating system damage. But, If you know what you are doing then to view the operating system files follow these steps.

  1. Press Windows+E from the keyboard to open up the File Explorer.
  2. Windows 10 and Windows 8: On the File Explorer’s window click the File tab and then select “Change folder and search options” from the menu.
    windows-10-file-and-folder-options
    Windows 7: On the Windows Explorer click the Organize button and then select “Folder and search options”

  1. This will open up the Folder options window. Click View tab and make sure “Show hidden files, folders and drives” option is selected and check the “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)” option as well.
    show protected operating system files Windows
  2. Click OK to save the settings and close the window.

I would suggust to hide protected operating system files again once you have done what you want to do. Please leave a comment below if you want to ask any question.

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