Are you wondering about a folder that seems empty but still takes some space on the disk?
Well, your files can be hidden, which is why you do not find anything inside them. Furthermore, a folder, directory, or even the whole disk drive can be hidden in your system.
So, how do you unhide them? In this article, we cover various techniques to uncover the hidden files on your Windows 10 and 11 system.
How to Show Hidden Files in Windows
Most of the methods mentioned below are pretty much the same for both Windows 10 and 11. After unhiding, you can recognize the hidden files/folders that are grayed out or appears faded.
So without further delay, let’s go through the various methods to view your hidden files.
Using the File Explorer
You can use the Windows built-in file explorer to view the hidden files and folders. Here’s how you can do it on Windows 10 & 11.
On Windows 10
- Press the Windows + E key to open the File Explorer or navigate to the location where you have the hidden files or folders.
- Then, on the top menu bar, click on View.
- Next, check the Hidden items checkbox.
On Windows 11
- Open the File Explorer by pressing the Windows + E key.
- Next, click on the View from the top bar.
- Then, hover Show and click to check the Hidden items option.
From the Control Panel
You can customize the folder’s view settings from the control panel to view your hidden files. The steps below work for both Windows 10 and 11.
- Press the Windows + R key and type control to open the control panel.
- Then, navigate to Appearance and Personalization > File Explorer Options.
- Under the View tab and Advanced settings section, double-click to expand Hidden files and folders.
- Next, select the “Show hidden files, folders, and drives option.”
- Click on Apply and OK to take effect.
Using the Registry Editor
You can tweak some settings in the Windows built-in tool called Registry Editor to unhide the files and folders on your system. Here’s how you can do it.
- Press the Windows + R and type the command
regeditto open the Registry Editor.
- Then, Copy and paste this path into the Registry Editor search bar:
- Now, on the right pane, find Hidden and double-click to open it.
- Next, replace the previous Value data with 1 and choose the Hexadecimal option under the Base section.
- Finally, click on OK and now you should see the hidden files on your PC.
Windows 10/11 has a powerful built-in command-line tool called Powershell. You can use it to view your hidden files or folders. For this,
- Press the Windows + R key, type powershell, and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open Powershell as Admin.
- First, change the directory with the command
cd E:. Here, replace “E:” with your file/folder path.
- Next, type the command
dir -forceand press Enter.
- Now, you can view the hidden files/folders only. To unhide its contents, use the File Explorer method as mentioned above.
How to View Hidden System Files?
Some of the system files are hidden intentionally by your operating system so that you don’t delete or edit them. However, if you want to view them in Windows as follows:
- Open the File Explorer and click on the View menu on the top bar.
- Click on Options and go to the View tab.
- Next, uncheck the “Hide protected operating system files” option and click on Yes upon the prompt.
- Finally, click on Apply and OK.
How to Show Hidden Files on Windows 7?
If you are using Windows 7, you can unhide the files as follows:
- First, open the File Explorer.
- Then, click on the Organize from the top toolbar and select the Folder and search options.
- Now, under the View tab, open Hidden files and folders and select the Show hidden files, folders, or drives option
- Finally, click on Apply and OK.
How to View Hidden Files on Mac?
You can view the hidden files on Mac using the Terminal. Here’s how.
- Open the Terminal app.
- Enter the command
defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles trueand press Enter.
- Close the terminal and you should see the hidden files or folders.
Why Is My USB Space Almost Full Even though I Can’t See Any Files inside It?
If the USB consumes space but it seems empty, it probably contains hidden files.
On the other hand, it could be a virus or malware. They remain hidden to prevent antivirus scans from detecting them.
Therefore, you can unhide the contents of the USB and delete any suspicious files or folders to restore your storage space.