Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #168 9/26/2012

Question: Are there hidden files on my PC?


Yes, there are a number of hidden files on your computer. You can also hide files on your PC.

A lot of system files (files used to run Windows) are hidden on your computer. These are hidden in two ways that are identified as hidden and also as system files. Deleting the system files can cause Windows not to work correctly or not work at all. There are also a number of other files that are hidden that Microsoft or other software publishers think may confuse people or are temporary files that would make it harder to find regular files.

Every file and folder has properties and one of these is the hidden attribute. You can change the value of this attribute. There is also a setting that you can change to make hidden files appear. To make hidden files appear open Computer in the Start menu (I am giving directions for Windows 7, but it is similar for Vista and XP), choose Computer and then go to the folder that has the files you want to see. (You can do this on the disk level and affect all folders on the drive). Then right click on the folder name and choose Properties. Then click on the Organize tab, choose “Folder and search options”. Now click on the View tab and choose “Show hidden files” in the Hidden Files choice. Close out the Properties box and refresh the listing (either press the Refresh icon with the two arrow on the address bar or press F5). You will now see the hidden files also.

If you want to quit seeing hidden files just do the same steps as before but choose “Don’t show hidden files”.

If you want to hide a file, right click on the name of it and choose properties. A the bottom of the box you will see a check box labeled Hidden in the Attributes section and by putting a check in it, the file will not show in folder listings. You can also hide folders the same way.