Overview – Show Hidden Files in Windows 11
Hidden files on your computer can be the source of a variety of problems, from slowing down your computer to infecting it with malware. It’s a good place to check for these files on a regular basis and delete them if you find them.
It appears that you want to tweak some system settings but you are unable to access some files. There is a possibility that those files are hidden by default.
Windows hide many files and folders by default, preventing users from deleting or modifying the built-in system files. By the end of this article, you will be able to show hidden files in Windows 11:
Important Points to Remember
If you change the configuration and default settings/values of hidden files in Windows, it’s highly possible that the system could become unstable. That’s why such files are kept hidden from the users.
It’s important to create a system backup before configuring hidden files. If any system file is misconfigured, then you will experience some functionality issues while using the device such as untimely shutdowns, boot issues, etc.
Suggested Article: Create Restore Point in Windows.
1. Show Hidden Files via ‘This PC’ or ‘File Explorer’
Step 1: Open the “This PC” App or File Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the Horizontal Menu (also called Meatballs Menu) on the Top Bar.
Step 3: Click the “Options” button from the dropdown menu and the Folder Options appear in a popup window.
Step 4: Select the “View” tab from the top bar. Check the “Show Files, Folders and Drives” option under Hidden Files and Folders section and click the “Apply” button.
2. Show Hidden Files via Control Panel
Step 1: In the Start menu, search for Control Panel and hit the enter key.
Step 2: In the Search Bar, search for “File Options”.
Step 3: The File Explorer Options appears in a popup window. Select the “View” tab from the top bar.
Step 4: In the “View” tab, check the “Show Files, Folders and Drives” option under Hidden Files and Folders section. Further, scroll and uncheck the
“Hide Empty Drives”,
“Hide extensions for known file types”,
“Hide folder merge conflicts”,
“Hide Protected Operating System Files” options and click the “Apply” button.
3. Show Hidden Files via Command Prompt and PowerShell
Note: Instead of using Command Prompt, you can use Windows PowerShell as well, the steps will remain the same.
Step 1: Search for “Control Panel” in the Start Menu and run it as an administrator.
Step 2: Type command: attrib -h -r -s /s /d C:\*.*, and replace the drive letter (here, C:\) with same drive letter on your PC. You will find the drive letter in the system drive partition in File Explorer or “This PC” App.
Let’s understand the Command: attrib -h -r -s /s /d C:\*.*:
-h: Hidden Files attribute to Show Hidden Files.
-r: Read-Only File attribute to modify the file once visible.
-s: System File Attribute
/s: Attribute to match files in the directory including all sub-directories.
/d: Attribute matching files in the directory only.
C: Main Drive Partition, varies as per the device.
4. Show Hidden Files via Registry Editor
Step 1: In the Start menu, type: Registry Editor and hit the enter key or press the “Windows Logo Key + R” key combination to open the Windows Run, type: “regedit” (without quotation marks) and hit the enter key.
Step 2: Navigate to the following path from the left sidebar: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced and you’ll find the “Hidden” value on the right pane.
Step 3: Double click the “Hidden” value and set its value data from “2”, i.e, the default value, to “1” and click the “OK” button.
This will show Hidden Files, but not related to Windows. Follow the next step to enable in-built OS configuration hidden files.
Step 4: To show the built-in OS Configuration hidden files, double click the “ShowSuperHidden” value and set its value data from “2”, i.e. the default value, to “1” and click the “OK” button.
We have discussed all possible ways to show hidden files in Windows 11.
You can go through all the methods to show and hide files on your system and choose which method works best and is easy for you.
You now know how to use Windows to view your files and directories. By unhiding folders and files and checking if they’re suspicious, you may utilise this information to defend your privacy.
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