How to Show Hidden Files in Windows 10

Dear readers,

If you’ve been an avid Windows 10 user, you may have noticed that some of your files are hidden by default. Hidden files are important for the operating system to function, but sometimes you may need to access them for troubleshooting or personal reasons. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to show hidden files on Windows 10.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Open File Explorer

Firstly, you’ll need to open up File Explorer. You can do this by pressing the Windows key + E simultaneously or by clicking on the File Explorer icon located on your taskbar.

Step 2: Navigate to View Tab

Once you’ve opened File Explorer, click on the View tab located at the top of the window.

Step 3: Select Options

In the View tab, you’ll see an Options button. Click on this button to open up the Folder Options window.

Step 4: Go to View Tab

In the Folder Options window, navigate to the View tab.

Step 5: Enable Show Hidden Files, Folders, and Drives

Under the Advanced settings section, there will be a list of options. Look for the option that says “Hidden files and folders” and select the “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” option.

Step 6: Uncheck “Hide Protected Operating System Files”

Next, uncheck the “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)” option. A warning message will pop up, but just click “Yes” to proceed.

Step 7: Click Apply and OK

After making these changes, make sure to click on the “Apply” button followed by “OK” to confirm and save the changes.

Step 8: Refresh File Explorer

Once you’ve applied the changes, refresh File Explorer by pressing the F5 key on your keyboard or by closing and reopening File Explorer.

Step 9: Look for Hidden Files

Now that you’ve enabled the option to show hidden files, folders, and drives, you can locate your hidden files easily. They will appear as slightly faded out files or folders.

Step 10: Make Changes as Needed

You can now edit, delete, or move the hidden files as needed.

Step 11: Repeat Steps to Hide Files

If you want to hide the files again, simply go back to changing the options under Folder Options to show hidden files rather than hide them.

Step 12: Final Notes

It’s important to remember that certain files are hidden for a reason and modifying or deleting them may cause issues with your system.

Explanation and Tips

Now that you know how to show hidden files on Windows 10, let’s discuss why certain files are hidden by default and what you should keep in mind.

By default, Windows 10 hides certain files and folders that are essential for the operating system to run properly. These hidden files are important system files that should not be modified without technical knowledge. If you’re not sure which files you can delete or edit and which you shouldn’t touch, it’s best to keep them hidden.

However, if you’re troubleshooting a problem or need to access files that are hidden for personal reasons, enabling the option to show hidden files can be very helpful.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Be cautious when modifying any hidden files. Make sure you know what you’re doing and always backup important files before making any changes.

2. If you’re not sure if a file should be hidden or not, it’s best to leave it hidden.

3. Be aware that there are some malicious files that hide themselves and can cause harm to your system. Make sure to have a good antivirus program installed and up-to-date.

4. If you have multiple user accounts on your computer, enabling hidden files for one user account will not apply to the other accounts. Each user account must go through the steps to enable hidden files separately.

5. If you frequently need to show or hide hidden files, you can use a third-party program such as Hidden File Tool to make the process quicker and easier.

6. Keep in mind that certain apps or programs may also have their own hidden files. Check the program’s documentation for instructions on how to show these files.

7. Another way to quickly access hidden files is by using the Run dialog. Type in “shell:documents” (without the quotes) and press Enter. This will open your Documents folder which will now display all hidden files.

8. If you’re not sure where to find a certain hidden file, you can use the search function within File Explorer. Click on the search bar located at the top right corner and type in the file name you’re looking for.

9. If you want to quickly hide a file/folder again after making changes, you can use the “Attrib +h [Filename]” command in Command Prompt. Simply open Command Prompt and type in the command followed by the file name and press Enter.

10. Remember to always practice caution when making any changes to your system files. If you’re not confident in your technical skills, seek the help of a professional.

Thank you for reading our guide on how to show hidden files on Windows 10. Hopefully, this will help make your troubleshooting and personal file management easier.


1. Access to hidden files: The ability to show hidden files in Windows 10 makes it easier for users to access important files that may have been previously hidden from view.

2. Increased security: By showing hidden files, users can better identify files that may be malware or other harmful programs.

3. Enhanced customization: For advanced users, showing hidden files allows for greater customization of the Windows 10 operating system.

4. Diagnose problems: Uncovering hidden files can help diagnose problems with programs or the operating system itself.

5. Improved file management: Showing hidden files can help users better organize and manage their files and folders.

6. Access to system files: By showing hidden files, users can access and modify important system files on their computer.

7. Troubleshooting software: Showing hidden files allows users to determine the root cause of issues with software program.

8. Better understanding of system functions: Viewing hidden files provides insights into the internal processes and functions of Windows 10.

9. Accessibility: Showing hidden files makes it easier for users with disabilities to navigate and manage the contents of their computer.

10. Greater control: By being able to view hidden files, users have greater control over their computer and personal files.


1. Risk of deleting important files: Showing hidden files may lead to accidental deleting of important system files that are necessary for the operation of Windows 10.

2. Exposure to malware: Displaying hidden files increases the risk of computer being infected by malware or viruses hidden in the files.

3. Overwhelming interface: Showing hidden files may clutter the Windows 10 interface and overwhelm users with too many files visible.

4. Complexity: Advanced users may find the availability of hidden files to be overwhelming and add unnecessary complexity to their workflow.

5. Security risks: Displaying hidden files may expose sensitive information that should remain private and inaccessible to unauthorized users.

6. Confusion: Novice users may be confused by the display of hidden files and may accidentally delete or modify files without understanding the ramifications.

7. Time-consuming: Showing hidden files may require additional time to sift through the clutter of files and locate the desired files.

8. File overload: Displaying too many files can cause confusion with multiple files with similar names and functions causing overload in the operating system.

9. Decreased productivity: For users who do not need to access hidden files, the display may decrease productivity by distracting from core tasks.

10. Risk of system instability: Intentional or unintentional manipulation of system files may result in instability in the Windows 10 operating system.


1. Why do I need to show hidden files in Windows 10?

Sometimes you might need to access files and folders that are hidden by default on your Windows 10 computer. For instance, you might need to access important system files to troubleshoot issues or remove malware.

2. How do I show hidden files on Windows 10?

You can show hidden files in Windows 10 by going to File Explorer, clicking on the View tab, and selecting the Hidden items checkbox. This will display all hidden files and folders on your computer.

3. Where can I find the File Explorer on Windows 10?

You can find the File Explorer icon on the taskbar or by searching for it in the search box located in the bottom-left corner of your Windows 10 desktop.

4. Are hidden files harmful to my computer?

No, hidden files are not harmful to your computer. However, some malicious files might be hidden to avoid detection by antivirus software.

5. Can I hide files and folders on my Windows 10 computer?

Yes, you can hide files and folders on your computer by right-clicking on the file or folder, selecting Properties, and checking the Hidden box. Note that hiding files and folders does not provide complete security as they can still be accessed using “Show Hidden files” option.

6. Can I access hidden files on my external hard drive?

Yes, you can access hidden files on your external hard drive in the same way you access them on your computer.

7. What happens if I accidentally delete a hidden file?

If you accidentally delete a hidden file, you can retrieve it from the Recycle Bin. However, if you have emptied the Recycle Bin, you might need to use data recovery software to retrieve the file.

8. Can I customize which hidden files are displayed on Windows 10?

No, you cannot customize which hidden files are displayed. Windows 10 has a standard list of files that are hidden by default.

9. Can I access hidden files on my Windows 10 tablet or smartphone?

Yes, you can access hidden files on your Windows 10 tablet or smartphone by using the File Explorer app.

10. Is it safe to modify hidden files?

Modifying hidden files requires knowledge and expertise. If you do not know what you are doing, it is best to leave them alone to avoid causing harm to your computer.

11. Can I password protect my hidden files?

Yes, you can password protect your hidden files by using file encryption software or by creating a password-protected folder.

12. How do I hide files from specific users on my Windows 10 computer?

You can hide files from specific users on your computer by using file permissions. Right-click on the file, select Properties, click on the Security tab, and then click on Edit. Add the user you want to hide the file from and then check the deny box for read permissions.

13. How often should I show hidden files on my Windows 10 computer?

You should only show hidden files when you need to access them for troubleshooting or other specific purposes. Leaving hidden files permanently visible can potentially expose sensitive information or increase the risk of malware infections.

How to Show Hidden Files in Windows 10

Windows 10 is the most recent version of the Windows operating system. It has been designed to make it easier for users to find files, folders, and programs. However, some files and folders are hidden for security reasons, preventing users from accidentally deleting or modifying important system files. If you need to view hidden files or folders on your Windows 10 computer, follow these steps:


Showing hidden files on Windows 10 is an easy process that can be accomplished in just a few clicks. It is important to note that hidden files are hidden for a reason, and modifying them can potentially cause harm to your computer. Always exercise caution when viewing or modifying system files. By following these steps, you’ll be able to access your hidden files and folders in no time.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article on showing hidden files in Windows 10. We hope that you found this guide helpful in your quest to uncover those hard-to-find files. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to consult your Windows documentation or seek help from a qualified IT professional. Until next time, happy computing!