In Windows 10, sometimes when changing system or application settings, you may need to access files and folders that are hidden from users. These files and folders are often hidden to avoid confusion or to prevent accidental deletion of important components that can damage the system.

If you want to see hidden files and folders, Windows 10 offers several ways to do this using File Explorer, Command Prompt, and even PowerShell.

In this guide, you will learn the easy steps to show hidden files and folders in Windows 10.

How to show hidden files and folders using File Explorer

To quickly show hidden files and folders in File Explorer, follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer .
  2. Click on the View tab.
  3. Check the Hidden items option.
How To Show Hidden Files and Folders In Windows 10

After completing the steps, File Explorer will list hidden and non-hidden items but will continue to hide other protected files.

Showing hidden protected operating system files

If you also want to see hidden files protected from the operating system, follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on the View tab.
  3. Click on the options button.
How To Show Hidden Files and Folders In Windows 10
  • 4. Click on the View tab.
  • 5. In the “Advanced Settings” section, check the Show hidden folders and drives option.
  • 6. Clean the Hide protected files from the operating system option.
  • 7. Click on the Apply button.
  • 8. Click on the Ok button.

After completing the steps, you will now be able to view the hidden files and protected files of the operating system using File Explorer.

READ: How To Give The Same Name To Several Files Or Folders

How to show hidden files and folders using command prompt

If you need to list hidden files and folders at the command prompt, follow these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search by Command Prompt , right-click on the top result and select Run as administrator .
  3. Enter the following command to list the hidden files for the location and hit Login:
dir / adh
How To Show Hidden Files and Folders In Windows 10

When working with the dir command, you can display hidden content in various ways using the following options:

  • / un – shows only hidden folders.
  • / Ads – shows only all directories.
  • / a: h – shows only all hidden files.
  • / adh – displays a combination of the above options.

Using the above commands will allow you to see hidden files and folders at the command prompt, but it will not change the folder options in File Explorer.

How to show hidden files and folders using PowerShell

Alternatively, you can also see a list of hidden and protected operating system files using PowerShell with these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search by Power Shell , right click on the top result and select Run as administrator.
  3. Enter the following command to see all hidden files and folders for the location and hit Login:
dir -Force

Using the above command will show hidden files and folders, but will not change the folder options for File Explorer.

This guide focuses on Windows 10, but this feature has been around for a long time, which means the steps also work on Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and earlier versions.