If you don’t already know, there are many more files on your computer than you usually see in File Explorer. Many of these files are hidden by your system for some reason. However, if you want to access them, you can force your computer to show hidden files in Windows 10.
Once you make hidden files visible using any of the methods, you will find them ready to use in your folders using File Explorer.
Use File Explorer to show hidden files in Windows 10
The easiest way to show hidden files in Windows 10 is to enable the corresponding option in the File Explorer utility. It will then make all hidden files visible to you on your screen, and it only needs to enable one parameter in the tool.
- Open any folder on your PC and it will launch File Explorer Utility. Then click the View tab at the top to customize the display of files in the tool.
- Once there, look at the Show / Hide section. There is a Hidden Objects option here. It will be disabled by default and you need to select it to enable it.
- Once enabled, you will be able to see hidden files available on your computer. You can go to a folder that has hidden files if you can’t see anything in the current folder.
Use the Control Panel to show hidden files in Windows 10
If you love using the traditional Control Panel utility to change settings, you’ll be glad to know that you can also use it to display hidden files on your Windows 10 computer. Again, this only requires one setting to be enabled.
- Launch Control Panel by searching for and clicking it in the Cortana search box.
- When it opens, select Large Icons from the View By option at the top. Then find and click the option labeled Explorer Options.
- Click the View tab at the top to change the view settings in Explorer.
- You will find an option labeled “Show hidden files, folders and drives on screen.” Enable this option to show hidden files and then click Apply and then OK.
Edit registry key to enable hidden files in Windows 10
You probably don’t want to use the registry method for a task like showing hidden files, but if that’s what you prefer for your tasks, you can use it and make all your hidden files visible in your file manager.
- Press the Windows + R keys at the same time, type regedit in the box on the screen, and press Enter.
- When it opens, navigate to the next path.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER Software Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Explorer Advanced
- on the right, you will find several parameters that you can change. You want to find the one that says “Hidden” and double-click it to open it.
- By default, the entry should be set to 2, which hides your hidden files. You need to change this value to 1 to show hidden files on your Windows 10 computer. Make your changes and click OK.
Learn about hidden files in Windows 10
If this is your first time enabling and accessing hidden files on your computer, you probably have no idea what these files look like. Although these files are exactly the same as any other file on your computer, they look slightly different than regular files when you view them in File Explorer.
After enabling the option to show hidden files, you will see these files with a lighter color for their icons. If you look at a hidden folder, you can see that its icon is not as solid as that of a regular folder.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to recognize hidden files and folders among the usual ones, as their appearance makes them easy to find.
Hide Files in Windows 10
If you’ve done what you wanted to do with hidden files, you might want to turn them off on your computer again. This way, they won’t get in your way when you work with regular files on your computer.
It’s actually pretty easy to hide hidden files in Windows 10. All you have to do is turn off the setting in the method you used to enable these files and you are good to go.
- If you’ve used the explorer method to show hidden files, open an explorer window, click the View tab at the top, and uncheck the Hidden Items box.
- If you chose the method from the Control Panel, go to the Explorer Options window and select the “Don’t show hidden files, folders, or drives” option. Then click Apply and then OK.
- Users of the Windows Registry Method should simply change the value of the hidden entry to 2 and you’re good to go. This will disable the option to show hidden files on your computer.
Why some files are always hidden
If you are like us, you will probably be interested to know why your computer is hiding certain files on your system. While those of you hiding your files will have your reasons for doing this, Microsoft really only has one reason for doing this: to prevent accidental damage to your computer.
Most of the files that are hidden by default are actually your main system files. They are hidden so that they cannot be deleted or changed. Since these are kernel files, even minor modifications to them can cause the entire system to malfunction.
If you’ve used any of these methods to display files, we’d like to know what those files were and why you chose to display them. We look forward to your response in the comments below.