How to view hidden files, folders, and drives in Windows 11

This tutorial will show you step by step how to view hidden files, folders, and drives in Windows 11.

Microsoft hides selected system and app files and folders by default to prevent users from accidentally deleting items that can cause the system or an app to become unstable.

However, if you're an experienced user and need access to hidden files or folders to troubleshoot a PC or for another reason, follow the steps below to show them on Windows 11.

Show hidden files, folders, and drives in Windows 11 - method 1

1. Open File Explorer.

Windows 11 File Explorer

2. Click on View located in the top toolbar > Show > Hidden items.

View hidden files, folders, and drives in Windows 11

File Explorer will now show hidden files, folders, and drives.

Show hidden files, folders, and drives in Windows 11 - method 2

1. Open File Explorer.

Windows 11 File Explorer

2. Click on the three dots located in the top toolbar > Options.

Open Folder Options in Windows 11

3. In the “Folder Options” window, you click on the View tab.

4. In the “Advanced Settings” list, you select the Show hidden files, folders, and drives option.

View hidden files, folders, and drives in Windows 11

5. Click on the Apply button at the bottom of the “Folder Options” window.

6. Click on the OK button.

File Explorer will now show hidden files, folders, and drives.

Show protected operating system files in Windows 11

Warning: You are about to reveal sensitive operating system files. You can break your Windows 11 system or cause data loss if you move or delete hidden system files. So proceed with extreme caution.

1. Open File Explorer.

Windows 11 File Explorer

2. Click on the three dots located in the top toolbar > Options.

Open Folder Options in Windows 11

3. In the “Folder Options” window, you click on the View tab.

4. In the “Advanced Settings” list, you uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) option.

Show protected operating system files in Windows 11

Warning: You are about to reveal sensitive operating system files. You can break your Windows 11 system or cause data loss if you move or delete hidden system files. So proceed with extreme caution.

5. If you know what you're doing and are willing to accept the risks, click Yes.

Warning about showing protected operating system files in Windows 11

6. Click on the Apply button at the bottom of the “Folder Options” window.

7. Click on the OK button.

File Explorer will now show protected operating system files.


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Related:

How to hide files and folders in Windows 10 (+ view & unhide)


References:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/view-hidden-files-and-folders-in-windows-97fbc472-c603-9d90-91d0-1166d1d9f4b5

https://www.makeuseof.com/windows-11-show-hidden-files-folders/

https://windowsreport.com/windows-11-hidden-folders-files-view/

https://www.howtogeek.com/743079/how-to-show-hidden-files-on-windows-11/