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Show Hidden Files, Folders, and Extensions in Windows 7

Windows 7 hides vital system files and folders. Here's how to disable that feature.

by Avram Piltch, Online Editorial Director on October 22, 2009

By default, Windows 7 tries to save you from accidental disaster by hiding vital system files and folders. It also masks the three character extensions for known file types such as .doc and .mp3 to keep newbies from getting confused. But if you don’t want your computer keeping secrets from you . . .

  1. Open Folder Options in the Control Panel. Note: If the Folder Options icon isn’t visible, select Large Icons or Small Icons from the View By menu.
  2. In the View tab, select “Show hidden files, folders, and drives,” and uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types,” “Hide empty drives in the Computer folder,” and “Hide protected operating system files.” Then click OK.
  3. Click Yes to confirm that you are sure you want to make these changes.


Like this tip? Learn more tricks for Windows 7! »


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