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How to hide folders and see hidden files on a Windows PC

There are plenty of ways to keep your data safe from prying eyes online, but what about on your computer? You might share a Windows PC with several people in your house or office, and your data isn’t guaranteed to stay where you left it.

Business files, in the wrong hands, can spell disaster for any company. Having a backup of sensitive information is always a great idea, but you need quick access to them when working. Tap or click here for five smart Windows 10 tricks to save time and space.

Luckily, in Microsoft’s Windows operating system, there is a way to hide files and folders. This will prevent others from seeing them, and only you will know where they are stored.

How to hide files in Windows

You can either hide one or several files, or you can hide an entire folder. There is no limit to how many objects can be hidden – just remember where you save them.

To hide files or folder in Windows:

  • Locate the file or folder that you want to hide. If you want to hide it in a specific place, it’s best to move it to the location first.
  • Right-click on the file or folder
  • At the bottom, click Properties.
  • Underneath all the data, there is an option called Attributes.
  • By default, the Hidden option will be off. To hide the file or folder, tick the box.
  • Click Apply.
Windows hidden folder

How to see hidden files

Once you have hidden your chosen files or folders, you naturally need a way to see them again. Don’t panic if you can’t remember where you stored them, as once you enable the option, you can search for them.

  • Open any folder. It really doesn’t matter at this stage which one.
  • On the menu bar at the top, click View.
  • The right-hand side of the View menu will have several options. Tick the Hidden Items box.
  • All hidden files and folders will now be visible. To denote this, Windows turns the file or folder slightly transparent.

You can access the folder and its content, but if you want to make it completely visible again:

  • Locate the hidden file or folder and right-click it.
  • At the bottom, click Properties.
  • Underneath all the data, there is an option called Attributes.
  • To make the file visible, untick the Hidden box.
  • Click Apply.

A word of caution: important files and folders in Windows system directories are hidden for a reason. Unless you are sure of what you are doing, you shouldn’t go digging in the hidden folders at all.

Hidden files in File Explorer Settings

There is another way to hide and view files or folders, and it affords you a bit more control over the process. Through advanced settings, you can choose several other settings for viewing objects on your computer. Here’s how:

Windows hidden folder
  • Click the Windows button and then the cog icon for Settings.
  • Click Update and Security.
  • If you have the option, click For Developers.
  • Under File Explorer, click Show Settings for Change settings to show hidden and system files.
  • A small window will pop up.
  • Under Hidden Files and Folders, select which option you want.
  • Click Apply.

Going through the list, here you can also select if you want to see file extensions, empty drives, or hide protected operating system files.

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