How to show or hide hidden and system files and folders in Windows 11

How to show or hide hidden and system files and folders in Windows 11

Windows 11, like previous versions of the system, does not show by default two types of files and folders: hidden and system ones. You can enable them if you wish or, on the contrary, hide them if their display disturbs your work.

This step-by-step tutorial details how to show hidden and system files and folders or, conversely, turn off their display in Windows 11 in various ways.

Easily turn on or off the display of hidden files and folders in the explorer

The first and quickest way to turn the display of hidden files and folders on or off (system files will not be shown) is to use the Windows 11 Explorer menu.

The steps would be the following:

  1. In Explorer, in the title bar, click the "View" button.
  2. Pull down “Show” (if the item isn't showing, click the dotted line in the title bar on the right) and select “Hidden Items”.
  3. Hidden files and folders will start showing up immediately.

As noted, this won't affect the display of system items – you'll have to use your browser's settings to display them.

How to hide or show system and hidden items in Windows 11 Explorer settings

The main way to configure the settings for showing hidden and system items is to use the “Explorer Options” item in the Control Panel. You can open it in the following ways:

  • Open the Windows 11 Control Panel and with the “View” option set to “Icons”, look for the “Explorer Options” item.
  • Press the keys. Win + R on your keyboard (or right-click the Start button and select Run), enter control folders and press Enter.
  • Open your browser, click the triplet in the title bar, and open the Settings item.

To control the options for showing hidden and system files and folders in the Explorer options window that opens:

  1. Select the "View" tab.
  2. Locate “Hide protected system files”, turn it on or off depending on the task.
  3. Under “Hidden files and folders”, turn the display of hidden items on or off.

After applying the settings, hidden and system files and folders will be displayed according to the settings made.

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