XP/2000: How to View (and Remove) Hidden Files and Folders

   Posted September 15, 2004 by David Kirk in Windows

This tutorial demonstrates how to view and delete hidden files and folders on a Microsoft Windows system.

A good reason exists for hiding system files and folders. Changing or removing these files can corrupt a system, so Windows hides these from view. The problem with this is that spyware and malware are now using this technique to prevent removal.

Here is how to view hidden files and folders:

    1. Open Explorer or My Computer.
    2. Click the Tools menu.
    3. Click Folder Options.
    4. Click the View tab.
    5. Click Show Hidden Files and Folders.
    6. Unclick Hide protected operating system files.
    7. Click OK.

Now you should be able to view, edit, or delete any file or folder on your system. Do not remove anything if you do not know what it is. If you are extra cautious, you can return to the folder options, and hide these files again once you are finished.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Patty

    well I try it, and it worked, thank you very much but how can I have the cover disks too, because they do not appear when i open i tunes

  • Prashant

    Its not working

  • happy

    this is the best reciepe i have ever seen in my life. it realy helped me a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dsfdd

    No, you can see the “faded’ folder, but can’t remove the goddamn thing. Idiot.

    • as

      dont say and type idiot, he is just helping

  • Here’s how to view hidden files and folders with its 7 options does not apply to files and folders hidden by rootkits or trojans. Do you know how to delete those?

  • somebody

    it wont work i tried over and over again but wont work

  • Anonymous

    I tried to do as suggested, but it refused to delete–said access denied, sidk either full or write protected. This was not intentionally downloaded.

    Any further suggestions, please?

    • Mhirh

      right click-properties-untick read only

  • Anonymous

    although those hidden files are occupying part of the hard disk , even this option
    (show hidden files and folders) won,t enable you to view those files.I tried several
    programs in an attempt to remove those undesired files but in vain .I am about to
    change the hard disk with a new one !!.can any one give HELP .

  • Forbes

    use unlocker to delete those locked folders

  • shubhangi

    gr8 it worked thanks…..

  • Betonovic

    thank you

  • Keith

    This only shows you how to unlock the hidden files and not how to delete. There is more to it than described above

  • anya

    how do you locate the hiden files. i can see them but where do i find them

  • Digito

    Where do i find the unlocker u r talking about Forbes!

    Pleaz help

  • Thanigai

    one anti virus software uninstalled. but i can’t remove that software folder C drive. how do u remove that folder…

  • ahmed

    hello every baddy

    i have problem with virus make hidden some folders i can’t return the files to original statues … please help me with answer to solve my issues .


  • Robert Thompson

    I can’t find “Folder Options” in the Tools menu.
    Thanks for the help.
    Dr. Robert B. Thompson