How to show hidden files in Windows 11: A step-by-step guide

Are you trying to find a hidden file on your Windows 11 computer? Don’t worry, it’s a simple process! Hidden files are often system files that your computer uses to run properly, which is why they’re not usually visible. However, there are times when you need to access these files for troubleshooting or other reasons. Here’s a quick overview of how to show hidden files in Windows 11: open your File Explorer, click on the three dots at the top and select ‘Options.’ In the Folder Options window, go to the ‘View’ tab and select ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives.’ Click ‘OK’ and you’re all set!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Show Hidden Files in Windows 11

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re about to do. By showing hidden files, you’ll be able to see files that your Windows 11 system keeps out of sight by default. These files are usually hidden to prevent accidental changes that could affect how your system operates.

Step 1: Open File Explorer

Open your File Explorer by clicking on the folder icon on your taskbar.

File Explorer is the window that lets you browse through your files and folders. Once you’ve got it open, you’re ready for the next step.

Step 2: Access the ‘View’ Options

Click on the three dots at the top of the File Explorer window and select ‘Options.’

By selecting ‘Options,’ you’re heading into the area where you can tweak how your folders and files are displayed.

Step 3: Open Folder Options

In the ‘Folder Options’ window, navigate to the ‘View’ tab.

The ‘View’ tab is where you can adjust all the settings related to how items appear in your File Explorer.

Step 4: Show Hidden Files

Under the ‘Advanced settings’ section, find ‘Hidden files and folders’ and select ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives.’

This is the crucial step. By selecting this option, you’re telling your computer that you want to see all the hidden stuff.

Step 5: Apply the Changes

Click ‘OK’ to apply the changes.

After clicking ‘OK,’ your File Explorer will refresh, and any hidden files or folders will now be visible.

Once you complete these steps, you’ll see that your File Explorer now shows files and folders that were previously hidden. You’ll notice them easily as they appear slightly transparent compared to regular files.

Tips: Maximizing Your Experience with Hidden Files in Windows 11

  • Remember that hidden files are hidden for a reason. They’re usually system files that are important for the functioning of your computer, so be careful when accessing them.
  • If you’re done working with hidden files, it’s a good idea to go back and hide them again to avoid accidentally changing or deleting something crucial.
  • While you’re in the Folder Options, take a look at the other settings available. You might find other views and options that make your file browsing experience better.
  • Use the search function in File Explorer to quickly find the file you’re looking for, whether it’s hidden or not.
  • If you’re showing hidden files for troubleshooting purposes, consider seeking the help of an expert if you’re unsure about what to do next.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I need to show hidden files?

There are various reasons why you might need to access hidden files. Maybe you’re trying to remove a stubborn virus, or you’re configuring advanced settings. Either way, showing hidden files can be very helpful.

Is it safe to show hidden files?

Yes, it’s safe to show hidden files. However, you should be cautious about altering or deleting these files since they can be critical to your system’s operation.

Can I hide files again after showing them?

Absolutely! You can go back into the ‘Folder Options’ and select ‘Don’t show hidden files, folders, or drives’ to revert your changes.

Do hidden files take up space on my hard drive?

Yes, hidden files do take up space. They’re like any other file, except they’re not visible by default.

What’s the difference between a hidden file and a system file?

Hidden files are not visible in File Explorer by default, but they’re not always necessary for system operation. System files are a subset of hidden files that are essential for your operating system to function.


  1. Open File Explorer
  2. Access the ‘View’ Options
  3. Open Folder Options
  4. Show Hidden Files
  5. Apply the Changes


Showing hidden files in Windows 11 is a straightforward process that can be done in just a few clicks. Whether you’re troubleshooting, accessing advanced settings, or just curious about what’s behind the scenes, knowing how to show these files can be very handy. As with any system changes, proceed with caution and make sure you understand what each file does before modifying or removing it. Remember that it’s always a good idea to revert the changes and hide the files back when you’re done, to keep your system safe and running smoothly. Happy file hunting on Windows 11!

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