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How Can I See Hidden Files and Folders in Windows?

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Display Hidden Files and Folders on a Windows Computer
Show hidden files and folders in Windows

Show hidden files and folders in Windows

© Wendy Russell

How often have you searched your computer for a file that you just know is there, but it seems to have disappeared? Perhaps it is a hidden file or folder. Windows hides certain files, such as system files, to protect them from accidental deletion.

I will use the case of PowerPoint templates for this example.

PowerPoint Templates are Located in a Hidden Folder

In the case of PowerPoint templates, the templates themselves are not hidden, but the containing folder is hidden from view. The hidden folder in question is called Application Data. The templates are buried deeper inside this folder, located here: C:\Documents and Settings\yourusername\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates. (Substitute your own username in the file path to locate these files on your computer.)

In order to access PowerPoint template files (to rename or delete) at a later time, you must be able to locate the folder containing those templates. A simple search of the computer will be empty, since Windows does not search for hidden files, if the files with the "hidden" attribute are not displayed. You must take the extra steps to reveal hidden files.

Display Hidden Files and Folders (Windows XP)

  1. Open any window that displays a list of files - for example - My Computer.
  2. Choose Tools > Folder Options... from the menu.
  3. Click on the View tab at the top of the Folder Options dialog box.
  4. Check the radio dot for Show hidden files and folders
  5. Click the OK button to apply this setting and close the dialog box.

Now as you view any window containing a list of files and/or folders, all hidden files or folders will be displayed, but will be fainter than other files that do not have a hidden attribute applied.

Related Video
How to Share Media Files With Windows Media Player
How to Share Files between your Mac and PC
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