Show hidden files and folders

Show hidden files and folders

Windows Tips & Tricks

02.JAN.2021 / updated: ---:

Show hidden files and folders: Microsoft engineers in Redmond use two different types of files hidden in Windows, thus preventing users from deleting or modifying system files.

Hidden file types

  1. Normal hidden file and folder items (Experts can edit or even delete).
  2. Protected operating system files (Cannot be modified or deleted).

Warning: Files are "protected" for security reasons. Important system files and deleting or modifying them can cause the system to crash or damage the operating system, which can lead to system reinstallation, so you can delete or modify the files at your own risk.

When "Normal hidden file items and folders" are made visible, Windows still hides "Protected operating system files" for security reasons.

Quick Tip: Hidden files may need to be made visible to permanently delete temporary files left after a deleted program or application, or to empty the contents of the TEMP (temporary) folder in order to free up hard disk space.

To display, follow these steps:

  1. Open any folder, if you don't have, make one on the Desktop. Right-click a free space on the desktop, select the New link from the mouse pop-up menu, then drag the mouse to the Folder button in the small window that appears, and click on it. No renaming required, it may remain with the "New Folder" name given by the system.
  2. Open a folder

  3. Left-click the created folder, or any other existing folder, which can be a system folder. The only thing that matters is that File Explorer, appears when it opens.
  4. In the folder that opens, in the top menu bar, click the View tab. Below this, another menu will appear with various setting options, where you can select the Hidden items, check box, to the right of the displayed options. It's that simple. Windows 10 is now configured to show all hidden files except protected operating system files.
  5. In the folder, click the View tab


Now that all your hidden files and folders have appeared on your computer, you can look for harmful programs, such as a virus or spyware, that have already become visible and can no longer be hidden.

Quick Tip: You'll see new icons, such as desktop.ini (a desktop shortcut) or photothumb.db (a shortcut to all images on the desktop or in another folder) that appear on the desktop.

Normal elements of hidden files and folders can even be deleted (unlike files in the protected operating system), later Windows creates new ones (good advice: do not delete, do not modify).

Deleting or modifying is only recommended if you know that you need to access these files or folders for some reason.

Perform an operation

If hidden files have become visible, perform one of the many options. Delete the contents of the TEMP folder (temporary files created by the system), freeing up disk space.

Do the following:

  1. Left-click the This PC icon on the Desktop (if there is no such icon, read this description on how to put the My Computer icon on the Desktop, then click on Local Disk (C:) from the "Devices and drives" window. In the new window which appeared, click the Users folder. In another window that appears, click the folder with your "computer name", (called User,the name you gave your computer during installation, in this description is the folder named John). In the next window appeared, click the AppData folder marked in a transparent color (this is how system developers indicate that it is a hidden folder).
  2. click the folder AppData

  3. Another window will appear. Click the folder named Local, and if you scroll down, in the newer window that appears, you'll see the Temp folder. Temp.
  4. Click this folder and after opening select the contents of the folder by holding down the left mouse button until all the files turn blue, then right click on the selected portion (if you clicked next to it, repeat), and from the mouse pop-up window, select Delete.
  5. The system sends an error message if it finds a file that is currently in use. In this case, click Skip in the error system window.

If you have never cleaned your computer by deleting unnecessary files, it will now free up hundreds of MB of storage space or even 1-2 GB.

If the hidden folder appeared:

Check if you know exactly which programs have been deleted in the past or recently, and delete folders with deleted program names from the Local, LocalLow, and Roaming folders in the AppData folder.


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