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Windows has a lot of functionality that isn’t immediately visible; hiding some folders and options protects novice users from accidentally breaking something they shouldn’t.
However, sometimes you need to access hidden files or folders in Windows to perform various tricks or change settings — here’s the easy way to do so in Windows 10, 8.x, or 7.
First, open a Windows Explorer Window by pressing Windows Key + E (one of our many shortcuts in the ultimate keyboard shortcuts guide). For Windows 7, under the Tools menu at the top, choose Folder options… to access the folder options dialogue. In Windows 8 or 10, expand the View tab and choose Options on the right side.
You can also access this dialogue by opening the Start menu/screen and typing Folder Options if you prefer.
Next, switch to the View tab and scroll down to find Show hidden files, folders, and drives. While you’re here, you can also uncheck the box to Hide protected operating system files if you want to see them, but most people shouldn’t bother with this.
Why doesn't Windows show file extensions and hidden files by default for admin users?
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Remember that because you can see hidden files and folders, you have access to areas that could contain important information. Don’t delete or change anything in them unless you specifically know what you’re doing. It’s a smart idea to turn this setting off when you’re done making changes.
Need to hide a folder yourself? We’ve covered how to hide folders in Windows.
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