Certain files are hidden in Windows 7 so that they cannot be seen when you are exploring the files and folders on your computer. This feature is specially done so that important system files are kept hidden and untampered. These hidden files are usually system files that can cause your computer to malfunction and may cause problems with your computer’s operation if they are improperly tampered with.

However, it is also possible for a user to set a certain file to be hidden by changing its settings in file properties. With this, it is also beneficial to show these hidden files so that you can access these hidden files on your computer. If you are running on Windows 7 operating system, the following are the steps on how to show the hidden files in Windows 7.

Another benefit of showing hidden files is that it would allow you to see certain malware that may secretly run on your computer. Malware and other suspicious files may keep themselves hidden so it is important to show these hidden files so that these may be easily detected and removed.

Steps to Show Hidden Files

To enable these hidden and protected system files in Windows 7, the following are the steps.

  1. Make sure that all programs and applications are closed while doing these set of steps. Only your desktop should be seen.
  2. Click on the Start button, the small round button on the lower left side of your screen with the Windows flag in it.
  3. Click on the menu option Control Panel.
  4. The Control Panel window will now appear on your screen.
  5. Find the “Appearance and Personalization” link and click on it.
  6. The Appearance and Personalization control panel will now appear on the screen. Under Folder Options, click on the “Show hidden files as well as folders” option.
  7. The Folder options window will now appear. Under the Hidden files and folders section, click the radio command button that has a label called “Show hidden files, folders, and drives”.
  8. Remove the check from the option with a label that says “Hide extensions for known file types”.
  9. Also, remove the check from the option that says “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)”.
  10. Press the Apply button. Then click the OK button to close the window.

Upon completing the steps that are outlined above, Windows 7 is now configured to show all hidden files and folders. Now, you must be more careful of the files that you delete or modify since it could be a protected system file.

You can bring the settings back to their original settings by checking back the unchecked options described in the above steps when you are done with getting the hidden file you need and checking for malware. It is still safer to keep these system files hidden to prevent accidental tampering.