How to View Hidden Files on Windows

by Contributor

To help protect certain files and folders from accidental deletion, Microsoft Windows hides them so that these files are not visible under normal circumstances. There may come a time you need to access these files and folders. If this happens, it's easy to turn on the option that allows the user to view the hidden files and folders.

Open a window on the desktop. You can do this by double clicking on the "My Computer" icon or the "My Documents" icon. There should now be a window open on your desktop.

Choose the "Tools" option along the top of the window. Along the top of the window there are a list of options. The "Tools" option is closer to the right. When the "Tools" option is clicked it will open a drop down menu that appears.

Select "Folder Options" from the drop down menu and click on it. This will open a smaller window on the desktop. Along the top of the window are a list of tabs. The first tab is labeled "General."

Click the tab to the right of the "General" tab called "View." There will now be a list of options with check boxes or buttons to the left.

Scroll down the list until you see a folder shaped icon called "Hidden Files and Folders." Below the folder icon are two options, "Do not show hidden files and folders" and "Show hidden files and folders."

Point at the radio button to the left of "Show hidden files and folders" and click once. There should now be a black dot next to the "Show hidden files and folders" prompt.

Click the "OK" button. It is now possible to view hidden files and folders on the computer. Be very careful when dealing with hidden files and folders; they are often times integral parts of the Windows operating system or other pieces of software on the computer.