Skip to main content

How to Show Hidden Files in Windows 10 and Previous

By default, all modern versions of Microsoft Windows hide some important system files and folders from you to prevent you from accidentally deleting them. However, there are many reasons why you might want to view these directories.

The hidden AppData/Roaming folder holds tons of app-settings files you might want to modify, for example. Or perhaps you just don't want your operating system treating you like a child and trying to protect you from yourself.  

Here's how to view hidden files and folders in Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

1. Navigate to the control panel. In Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, you can get there by hitting Windows + X and selecting Control Panel. In Windows 7, just click the Start button or hit the Windows logo key.

2. Select Large or Small icons from the View by menu if one of them is not already selected.

3. Select File Explorer Options (sometimes called Folder options)

4. Open the View tab.

5. Select Show hidden files, folders and drives.

6. Uncheck Hide protected operating system files.

7. Click Yes when prompted to confirm.

8. Click OK.

Customize Windows 10

The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.