Windows XP and Explorer - Hidden and System Files

Hide or Show Protected Operating System Files and Hidden Folders

SUMMARY: Toggle whether or not Windows XP should display files and folders that normally shouldn't be modified.


Windows XP can be configured to either hide or show protected operating system files and/or hidden files and folders.

* Why hide them? If you are setting up a computer for someone else, you may wish to hide certain files to help prevent the user from accidentally deleting or moving critical Windows files. Or, even if you are an expert user, you may wish to hide files to prevent 'accidents'.

* Why show them? If you are trying to diagnose a problem (virus, spyware, etc.) and are an expert user, you may need to see all of the files on your system to determine if they have been changed.

1. Double-click "My Computer" on the desktop.

2. Select "Tools" - "Folder Options".

3. When the "Folder Options" multi-tabbed dialog box appears, select the "View" tab.

4. Scroll down to "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)" and check or uncheck the box as desired.

5. Underneath "Hidden files and folders", check the desired radio button to show or not show these items.

6. Click "OK" to close the dialog box.

Return to the Windows XP and Explorer - Hidden and System Files page.

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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.