Similar to its predecessors, Windows 11 has the option to display system files and directories that are hidden and by default invisible in the File Explorer. The Control Panel or Windows Settings are other options, but using the File Explorer directly is the simplest approach to activate the feature. In this article, we’ll go over every way for turning on this functionality and displaying hidden files and folders.
Show Hidden Files and Folders in Windows 11 (2022)
We will go over every method for displaying hidden files in Windows 11, including the File Explorer, Settings, Control Panel, command line, and PowerShell. Therefore, if you fall into the category of users who like to use the command line as much as possible, we also have you covered.
As always, you can go to the area that best matches your needs by using the table of contents below.
Method 1: Show Hidden Files and Folders from File Explorer
Using File Explorer is the simplest approach to reveal hidden files and folders in Windows 11. Depending on whether you’re using the minimalist File Explorer default view in Windows 11 or the more conventional Windows 10 design with the detailed ribbon at the top, there are two ways to accomplish it. Here are the two approaches:
- First, launch File Explorer by clicking its icon on the Taskbar. If you cannot see the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar, search for File Explorer (without quotes) in the Windows Search Bar and select the first search result.
Note:Pressing Windows key + E on your keyboard will also launch the File Explorer.
- Now, click on the three dot icon in the top bar, and select Options from the drop down menu.
- In the Folder Options pop-up window that opens, navigate to the View tab. Then, under Advanced settings, scroll down and select the radio button next to Show hidden, files, folders, and drives to enable the feature. Finally, hit OK at the bottom of the window to save the change.
Note: By deselecting the Hide protected operating system files checkbox, as seen in the screenshot below, you can choose to display all protected operating system files.
Note: If you’re not already aware, you may make Windows 11 resemble Windows 10 by modifying the choices available in the file explorer, right-click context menu, and start menu. This article explains how to enable the outdated Windows 10 ribbon-style menu options.
Here’s what you need to do if you’re using the standard ribbon layout in File Explorer:
- Navigate to the View tab and select the check-box next to Hidden Items . That s it! You do not have to restart File Explorer for the change to come into effect.
You may now see all hidden files and folders on your computer, regardless of the File Explorer UI you are using in Windows 11.
Method 2: Enable the Show Hidden Files Option Using Control Panel
- Open the Control Panel on your Windows 11 computer. To do that, search for control panel (without quotes) in the Windows search bar and select Control Panel from the results.
- In the Control Panel, make sure you are using the Icons view (small or large). Then, select File Explorer Options .
- On the File Explorer Options pop-up window, make sure you are on the View tab. Now, scroll down and enable Show hidden files, folders, and drives using the corresponding radio button. Hit OK to save the changes.
The end! All of your secret files and folders are now visible in the Windows 11 File Explorer.
Method 3: Enable the Show Hidden Files Option From Windows 11 Settings
Using the Settings menu, you may make Windows 11’s Show hidden files option active. This is how it goes:
- Open Settings using the Windows 11 keyboard shortcut Windows key + I. Next, select Privacy & security on the left sidebar and click For Developers on the right pane.
- Now, scroll down on the right pane, and under File Explorer, locate the option to Change settings to show hidden and system files . Click on the Show Settings button next to it.
The File Explorer Options pop-up window from Method 2 will now appear once more. To make hidden files and folders visible in the Windows 11 File Explorer, simply follow the directions provided above.
Method 4: View Hidden Files and Folders in Command Prompt
Using Command Prompt is an additional method for viewing a list of hidden files and folders on a Windows 11 computer. Here’s how to go about it:
- First, open a Command Prompt window in Admin mode. To do that, search for cmd (without quotes) in the Windows search bar and click Run as Administrator .
- Now, type
cdfollowed by a space and then copy + paste the full path of the folder where your hidden files are stored. Then, hit Enter. The screenshot below shows how it d look if the path was
- Now type
dir /ahto view a list of all hidden files and folders within that folder.
The end! Only hidden files and folders will be displayed by the aforementioned command for any specified location. Demo Folder in my instance is a secret folder made for demonstrations only.
The Command Prompt window’s hidden files or directories will only be displayed using this method. You must use one of the three methods listed above to always make hidden things in File Explorer visible.
Method 5: View Hidden Files in Windows PowerShell
In Windows 11, you may now use Windows PowerShell to view hidden files and folders if you really enjoy command-line approaches. This is how:
- First, open Windows PowerShell in Admin mode on your PC. To do that, search for powershell in the Windows search bar and click Run as Administrator.
- In the PowerShell window, type
cdfollowed by a space and copy+paste the full path of the folder where the hidden files are located, just like the Command Prompt method. And then, hit Enter.
- Finally, to see hidden files in that folder location, type
dir -forceand hit Enter. That s it. You can now see all your hidden files and folders within the target folder on your Windows 11 PC.
Note: Enter the entire path to the folder whose sub-folders may contain hidden files if you are unsure of which folder contains the hidden files. Use the command after that: dir -force -recurse
View Hidden Files and Folders on Your Windows 11 Computer
Although it’s really simple to view hidden files and folders with Windows 11, there is one word of caution. Numerous of these files are essential to the operating system and the smooth operation of your computer. Therefore, unless you have the necessary knowledge, avoid altering them in any manner. Check out some of our other Windows 11 lessons now that you know how to see hidden files and folders on your computer. That includes understanding how to modify Windows 11’s power mode settings and administrative settings.