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Windows 7 - How to Show Hidden Files and Folders

Many files and folders in Windows 7 are hidden, meaning that they will not appear when you're browsing through Windows Explorer. You can access hidden folders by typing the full directory in the address bar at the top of the Explorer window and you can open hidden files using the same method. Files and folders are generally hidden to make it harder to accidentally delete them. Hiding certain folders and files is also a useful way of clearing up certain folders, since you can easily hide items which you don't need to use. However, when you want to access hidden folders or files, it's a much easier to make them viewable.

Open your start menu and click on "Control Panel" in the right-hand pane. Click "Appearance and Personalization." Click the link "Show hidden files and folders" beneath the "Folder Options" section of the page. The folder options box will appear with the "View" tab already open.

Look for "Hidden files and folders" in the list of options and select the box "Show hidden files, folders, and drives." You can always change the setting back to default later on. Click "Apply" or "OK" to save the changes. The changes will take effect immediately. Previously hidden files and folders will now appear in Windows Explorer, although their icons will be faded to distinguish them.

By default, important operating system files will remain hidden. These protected operating system files are necessary for your computer to work and, except for a few extreme cases, you should not attempt to modify or delete them. If you do so, your computer might be unable to boot. If, however, you still want to view these files in addition to regular hidden files, remove the check from the box beside "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)."

With hidden files and folders now viewable, you may want to make a specific folder or file permanently viewable. To do this, right-click on the file or folder and click "Properties." Remove the check beside the "Read-only" box and click "OK" to save your changes.


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