Windows XP - Show Hidden Files

This document will explain how to show hidden files on your hard drive file system.

Windows 9x/2000/XP/Vista

NOTE: Windows 95/98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista are no longer supported by the Help Desk. We can only provide best effort support. If we are unable to resolve your Windows 9x/2000/XP/Vista issue, you may be able to find help in Microsoft's Knowledge Base.

These products are no longer actively supported by Microsoft. No further development will take place on these products and security updates are no longer issued. It is highly recommended that you upgrade to Windows 10 or 8.

CAUTION: Windows stores many important settings in hidden files and folders. Do not modify or delete hidden files if you do not know precisely what will happen as a result. DoIT assumes no liability for data loss that occurs as a result of this procedure.


  1. Click on Start > My Computer

    Windows XP Start Menu

  2. In that window click on Tools > Folder Options...

    Tools dropdown menu

  3. Then, click on the View tab at the top of the window.
  4. Under Advanced Settings, locate Hidden files and folders. Select Show hidden files and folders just below that.

    Folder options - View tab

  5. Click on OK
  6. Hidden files will now be shown.

    Note: Hidden files will be greyed out. This is merely to indicate that they are a hidden file. You can still use them as though they were a normal file.

Keywords:settings application data invisible text   Doc ID:8036
Owner:Help Desk KB Team .Group:DoIT Help Desk
Created:2008-08-05 19:00 CDTUpdated:2020-10-15 16:48 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk
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