Windows 10 offers an option to display Hidden files and folders which you don’t see by default. When you enable this option, File Explorer will start showing all your hidden items.
You can view hidden files and folders in both File Explorer as well as command line tools like PowerShell and Command Prompt.
Show hidden files and folders in File Explorer
Follow the steps below to configure File Explorer to show all hidden content in your folders.
- Open Begin menu, search This PCand choose This PC in search results.
- Choose View at the top of the This PC window.
- On the right side of your screen, turn on Hidden items check box.
- File Explorer will start showing hidden files and folders on your computer.
- To hide your items again, uncheck Hidden items in File Explorer.
Show hidden files and folders from control panel
If you like Dashboardyou can use an option in this utility to have Windows 10 show hidden files and folders.
- Access Begin menu, search Dashboardand select the extension in the results.
- In the Control Panel, select the menu next to Viewed by and choose Type.
- Choose Interface and Personalization right to buy.
- Choose Show hidden files and folders Under File Explorer Options.
- Now you are in View of the File Explorer Preferences window. Here, select Show hidden files, folders and drives right to buy. Option Application Followed by ALRIGHT.
- Windows File Explorer will now show all your hidden files and folders.
- To hide hidden items, select Don’t show hidden files, folders or drives right to buy. Then choose Application Followed by ALRIGHT.
Show hidden files and folders from settings
Windows 10’s Settings app also includes the option show hidden content on your PC.
To use this method:
- Press Windows + I keys to start Settings application or search and select Setting inside Begin menu.
- Select the Home button if you are not on the main settings page shown in Step 3.
- Option Update & Security.
- Option For developers from the left sidebar.
- Scroll down to the right pane to Change the settings to show hidden and system files. Choose Show settings.
- Activated Show hidden files, folders and drives right to buy. Then choose Application and choose ALRIGHT to save your settings.
View hidden files and folders in PowerShell
If you like command line methods, you can using a command in Windows PowerShell to retrieve a list of all your hidden files and folders.
- Click Start or Windows Icon in the bottom left and type PowerShell. Option Windows PowerShell from the results.
- In the PowerShell window, type CD, enter a space, then enter the full path of the folder where your hidden files are located. For example, if your hidden files are in a folder named My Documents about you desktopyou would use the following command instead USER with your username. Then press enter.
cd C:\Users\USER\Desktop\MyDoc Documents
- Type dir -force and press enter. This will reveal your hidden files and folders.
- If you are not sure which folder contains hidden files, type CDenter a space, enter the full path of the folder where the subfolders can contain hidden files and press enter. Then run this command:
dir -recurse -force
- Items hidden in the selected folders and subfolders will appear in the PowerShell window.
Remember that this method only shows hidden files in the PowerShell window; it doesn’t show hidden items in File Explorer.
View hidden files in Windows Command Prompt
Another way to see the list of hidden files and folders is to use Command Prompt. Follow the steps below:
- Click Windows key to open Begin menu, search Command promptand select the extension in the search results.
- Type CD, enter a space, then enter the full path of the directory where your hidden files are stored. Then press enter.
- Type dir / ah to see a list of hidden files and folders.
- If you don’t know which folder contains hidden files, you can run a hidden file scan on the parent folder. This will scan all subfolders in that main directory. To do this, type CDenter a space, enter the full path of the directory and press enter. Then run the following command:
dir / ah / s
- The Command Prompt window now lists hidden items from the specified folder and subfolders.
The above method does not make any changes to File Explorer preferences and only lists hidden files.
Show hidden operating system files
There are certain operating system files that will not appear even if you enable the hidden files option in File Explorer. Follow the steps below to enable a separate option to view these hidden operating system files:
- Click Windows key to open Begin menu, type Show hidden filesand select that option in the search results.
- Move to Change settings to show hidden and system files and choose Show settings.
- Scroll down Hide protected operating system files (Recommended). Uncheck the box for this option.
- Option Right if a warning pops up. Then choose Application Followed by ALRIGHT.
On the internet, many sources may ask you to use attribution from Command Prompt or PowerShell to see your hidden items. In general, it is not safe to change the properties of system files because this can have unexpected consequences.
Let us know, in the comments section below, which method works for you.