Windows XP and DOS

Display Hidden Files at the DOS Prompt

SUMMARY: View files Windows may be trying to hide via the DOS prompt.


By default, Windows hides files that it deems are system critical. In theory, hiding files keeps them from accidently being modified or deleted through Explorer.

However, there may be times when you need to display lists of such files, such as for system troubleshooting purposes. To do so, from the DOS prompt, type in one of the following commands:

* Display system files: DIR /AS

* Display hidden files: DIR /AH

* Display files with the system and hidden attributes set: DIR /ASH

This tip also works for other versions of Windows including Windows Vista, 95, 98, Me, NT 4.0, and 2000.



Protected and hidden files can be viewed through Explorer as well by toggling options in the the "View" tab in Explorer's "Tools" - "Folder Options" menu.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language.