How to make Windows 10 expose hidden files and folders

There are various ways to list hidden files and folders, and in this post, you’ll discover how to do it on Windows 10 with File Explorer and Command Prompt.

When changing system or app settings on Windows 10, you may occasionally need to reveal files in File Explorer or in a command-line programme. These objects are typically buried to save clutter or guard against accidentally deleting crucial parts that could damage the operating system.

How to make Windows 10 expose hidden files and folders

I’ll walk you through the simple steps in this tutorial to expose hidden things on Windows 10.

1. Unhide files from File Explorer

To show hidden files in File Explorer on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer on Windows 10.
  2. Click on the View tab.
  3. Under the “Show/hide” section, check the Hidden items option.

Once you’ve finished the instructions, File Explorer will display the hidden and unhidden items but keep the protected files hidden. 

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Show protected files that are hidden

To see hidden protected operating system files and folders on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on the View tab.
  3. Click the Options button.
  4. Click the View tab.
  5. Under the “Advanced settings” section, check the Show hidden, folders, and drives option. 
  6. Clear the Hide protected operating system files option.
  7. Click the Apply button.
  8. Click the OK button.

After completing the instructions, File Explorer will now display the protected Windows 10 files and folders.

2. Command Prompt

Use these procedures in Command Prompt to show hidden files and folders:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the  Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to list hidden files for the location and press Enter: dir /adh

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