How to Display Hidden Files and Folders in Windows 7

Windows 7 - Show hidden files and folders in the explorer window

Sometimes there are files that you need to modify in Windows to tweak your favorite program, but when you go to look for them it seems like they don’t exist.  Often this is simply because the file is marked as hidden, and by default it won’t show up in your explorer window; Windows does this mostly to keep the average user from accidently deleting important application files, but for a power user it just gets in the way.  Let’s make those hidden files visible!

Step 1

Click the Start Menu Orb and then Click Computer.

Windows 7 my computer menu and showing start menu orb

Step 2

Click the Organize menu button and then Select Folder and search options.

windows 7 explorer organize and oflder and search options

Step 3

Click the View tab and check the bullet for Show hidden files, folders, and drives.*

*If you need to see protected operating system files, you can also uncheck the option for that but it is recommended you leave them hidden.

view and show hidden files, folders and drives


You should now be able to see all of your hidden folders throughout Windows.  To test it, you can go into your %userprofile% directory and look for the AppData folder.  If AppData shows up, everything is good to go.

hidden app data in windows 7



  1. Zaniel

    February 7, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Why did they move it again! Thnx.

    • chewbie

      February 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      I don’t think they moved it – they just added it to the ‘Organize’ menu.

      If you press Alt when you have a folder window in the front you should see the menus (File Edit View) and you should be able to find the option under View > Folder Options… just like before ;-)

  2. Shirley Cornwell

    February 8, 2011 at 11:52 am

    You have the ‘neatest’ most informative site I have run across. A friend got me on to you and I just love it!! The pictures of exactly what you describe leave no doubt for non-techies. Thank you for your time and sharing information.

    • MrGroove

      February 9, 2011 at 8:23 am

      Hi Shirley! Thank you for the feedback! I do my best to keep the site clean and informative so thank you for the feedback! Oh, and welcome to the site! Hope to see you around in the comments as well! ; )

  3. Manikandan

    December 3, 2011 at 7:32 am

    i cant able get the hidden folder i have done the above steps but i didnt get the hidden folder

  4. Robert

    May 23, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    MY options, apparently, set THEMSELVES back to the default values, after I click APPLY and OK–so I continue to be unable to view the “hidden folders/files!!!” Now what?!?!


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