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Restore "Show Hidden Files and Folders" Option in Vista

I’ve received a number of emails from readers telling me that their computer has no option for “Show Hidden Files and Folders” in the Folder Options dialog. The question even showed up on the forum, where Scott promptly found a registry tweak which I’m sharing with everybody.

Note that if you don’t have this option there’s a very good chance of spyware infection somewhere, so you should scan your computer thoroughly. The scanner applications won’t restore this setting, however.

To understand what I’m talking about, open Folder and Search Options from the Organize menu, and then choose the View tab, and you’ll see that the entire “Hidden Files and Folders” radio button is completely gone!

image

Manual Registry Tweak

Open regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then navigate down to the following key.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer
\Advanced\Folder\Hidden

image 

Look for a key named Type on the right-hand side and change the value to group as shown above. If the key does not exist, create a new String value.

You should be able to immediately re-open the folder properties, and the option should have returned, as you can see here:

image

Many thanks to Scott for finding this… I hope it can help somebody.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/11/07

Comments (65)

  1. redx

    You can also show hidden files and folders by searing for “folder” in the control panel.

  2. Aston

    Thank a lot guys that really helped me.

  3. William Steele

    Do you know of a way to add “Show hidden files and folders” to the context menu? Maybe with the program “filemenu tools”?

  4. Pedro

    Hi, I have the same problem, but in regedit, I can’t find the “Hidden” folder in

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer
    \Advanced\Folder\Hidden

    only

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer
    \Advanced\Folder\

    can you help me?

  5. Wil

    found a program from moon software that allows you to add “show hidden files” to the context menu. This is normally accessed by going in to tools>folder options>View>advanced settings>show hidden files and folders. So this shell extension is nice.

  6. jd2066

    @Pedro: I exported a registry file of the hidden key. Just download it from http://www.techoddity.com/downloads/fixes/xp-folderoptions-hidden.reg and add it to the registry to restore the whole hidden registry key.

  7. @i

    hi guys
    it didnt work for me
    my folder option menu still doesnt have “show hidden files and folders” radio button

  8. oat

    Thank’s exported a registry file It’s work

  9. Jihad Kibbi

    many thanks to Scott
    it really helped me showing my hidden folders and file
    best regards

  10. Jihad Kibbi

    I must tell that in my case i realized that the CheckdValue for the SHOWALL was deleted, so I created a DWORD VALUE (right click and create one) name it CheckValue and modified the binary data to read:0×00000001 (1) and voila, the ‘show hidden files ‘ option is back.
    anyway thanks for helping me where to search. Jihad

  11. Aung

    Thanks…It works….Great ..

  12. George

    Thanks jd2066…problem solved.

  13. gv

    hello,
    i m not able to see the folder options folder in control panel at all, and when i tried to use ur uploaded regedit – forbidden to edit by administrator – message is coming – pls. advice me immediately.
    i m using vista ultimate x64 in lap top and xp professional in home

  14. Murat Selam

    Sometimes adding this value is not sufficient to view hidden files. Also add the following key if it is does not exist,

    in the HIDDEN SHOWALL key add the following string value

    CheckedValue REG_DWORD
    value = 0×00000001 (1)

  15. bruswain

    Murat,

    My “show hidden folders” button had disappeared, and when I added the CheckedValue as you said, it showed up and functioned as normal. So I supposed it used to be there, but then got deleted. My concern is, what caused this, maybe the problem is bigger than just a button disappearing, and I’d like to know so there are no more surprises. Thanks for your help,

  16. Vince

    @Pedro thanks man this worked like a charm!

  17. Sipphreus

    Thank you very much!
    Many greetings from Italy :-)

  18. RichardS

    Alright, I need some help with this. Well I do have the option, and it does stick, it just doesn’t work. I choose the option and apply it, but the hidden folders and files don’t show up. I go back in to check if it’s still selected and it is. Will the above help with this problem?

  19. Kari

    Thanks a lot JD2066 – downloaded your fix and hidden folders were shown immediately. Great job, Many thanks !

  20. Jav

    jd2066 thanks.

  21. Herpes

    it doesnt work with me still not find the hidden option.!!

  22. Niels

    Thank You very much, jd2066, it solved my problem of not viewing Show or hide file option on folder options.

  23. nhufas

    Thanks jd2066 …

  24. saran

    Thank you very much jd2066….

  25. Arash

    Friends just rename the name of file jd2066 uploaded to *.reg and install it .
    It does worked good in my PC

  26. VezeV

    Thank you for the fix, I didn.t trust downloading it at first but then I just took the risk and I promise it works you guys!!!!

  27. shravan

    thanx dude…….. i shall tell u wad happend wid me…..i my case i couldnt resolve the prob. by changing it to “group”…. i had to create a new string ” CheckValue” and then changed both the values of type to “radio”………….. only then i could restore the show hidden files option

  28. Sahron

    Thanks jd2066

  29. @i

    THANKS
    my “show hidden files and folders” option appeared again but it’s not like a radio button! it’s like a black checkbox that i cant check it! and ”dont show hidden files and folders” is still a checked radio button!

  30. parinda

    some times even set the show all files in hidden files and folder in folder option under tools menu the hidden files will not show. this may due to some malicious .cmd file and it will create following 2 files in every driver you have
    1.kdxdweli.cmd
    2. jk.exe
    and execution done through autorun.inf file which have in every driver
    those 3 files are hidden and can’t view under normal condition
    kdxdweli.cmd file do some changes to register and as a result HIDDEN SHOWALL value

    CheckedValue REG_DWORD
    value = 000000001 (1)
    could not change to (1) it alway set to (0)
    this is the reason for hide the files even we prompt to show them
    in my case those files did’t catch by the avg or nod antivirus programs

    solution
    to see whether those 3 files in your driver
    1. goto command prompt and type dir/ah to display hidden files
    2.download killBox.exe from http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm
    3. delete all 3 files kdxdweli.cmd autorun.inf and jk.exe files
    4. do this for all driver you have in your pc
    5.finally you can view hidden files
    (note i do this in xp professional vision only )

  31. Shashant Singh

    whew!! thank you so much… was strugglin with this issue since ages…

  32. KyddFlynn

    Hi All –

    In my system, I have the “Hidden Files and Folders” Tab, but below it I only have the option “Don’t show hidden files and folders” There is no option to “Show hidden files and folders. Any ideas on why this might be? The post topic is slightly different from the issue I’m having. Thanks.

  33. jd2066

    @KyddFlynn: The registry fix I posted earlier in the comments should restore that option.

  34. TEST

    Many tx jd2066

  35. prix-e

    THANKSSSSSSSSSSSSS jd2066

    :D i was afraid it was some type of a risk to download your file but i took the chances since my hidden (and almost lost) files were important.. but it WORKED :D

    do it guys…it works i swear

  36. KyddFlynn

    Thanks so much. It seems to be working now. All the best…

  37. Erwan

    It works !

    Thanks so much to all and jd2066 for the registry export

    Indeed several values had dispeared !

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\Folder\Hidden]
    “Text”=”@shell32.dll,-30499″
    “Type”=”group”
    “Bitmap”=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,\
    00,25,00,5c,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,53,00,\
    48,00,45,00,4c,00,4c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,2c,00,34,00,00,\
    00
    “HelpID”=”shell.hlp#51131″

  38. Nayebi

    You can simply cut the text below between lines (excluding dash marks) and save it to a file, say fix.reg, by a text editor like Notepad and then double click on the saved file to restore the missed part of the registry.

    —————————
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\Folder\Hidden]
    “Text”=”@shell32.dll,-30499″
    “Type”=”group”
    “Bitmap”=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,\
    00,25,00,5c,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,53,00,\
    48,00,45,00,4c,00,4c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,2c,00,34,00,00,\
    00
    “HelpID”=”shell.hlp#51131″

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\Folder\Hidden\NOHIDDEN]
    “RegPath”=”Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Explorer\\Advanced”
    “Text”=”@shell32.dll,-30501″
    “Type”=”radio”
    “CheckedValue”=dword:00000002
    “ValueName”=”Hidden”
    “DefaultValue”=dword:00000002
    “HKeyRoot”=dword:80000001
    “HelpID”=”shell.hlp#51104″

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\Folder\Hidden\SHOWALL]
    “RegPath”=”Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Explorer\\Advanced”
    “Text”=”@shell32.dll,-30500″
    “Type”=”radio”
    “CheckedValue”=dword:00000001
    “ValueName”=”Hidden”
    “DefaultValue”=dword:00000002
    “HKeyRoot”=dword:80000001
    “HelpID”=”shell.hlp#51105″
    —————————

  39. MRest

    Worked for me. Thank you all!

  40. Shafeek

    Thanks you guys.
    your posts really helped me out a great deal.

  41. Arik M

    Thx guys, it worked like a charm.

  42. bubba damage

    thanks for the info came very good, very little info on the web about a
    “Show Hidden Files and Folders” “no radio” box problem came in very handy
    for a post at cnet.com

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\Folder\Hidden\SHOWALL
    change “type = group” to “type = radio” or “type = checkbox”

    he had a group instead of a radio box can be very confusing even for me

    thankyou heaps.

  43. frank

    i’ve tried all the options suggested above, however, they are not working. what do you suggest?

  44. vijay

    Pls HELP………

    Modified the value for the key “CheckedValue” to 1 and “DefaultValue” to 2.

    But it is not getting changed to the value for the key “CheckedValue” to 1. Instead it remains to be the same 0.

    How can i change the “CheckedValue” to 1 ?……..

  45. Ali

    thnx bro ..thx alot … it workd..

  46. UnNown

    ThankYou Very much it help alot

  47. command line version

    if you dont want to expose all the files that are hidden for a reason you have two other options:
    1) if you know the exact folder location you can open up a command line (it may have to be admin) and type in:
    Explorer [location]
    command line will return to ready prompt and an explorer window will open with your file in it, you can then change the status if you like
    2) if you know the containing file you can type :
    cd [containing file location]
    dir /AH
    (you will be given a list of hidden files in your current directory, find the name of the one you want then refer back to option 1)

  48. sub

    thanks. helped alot!

  49. Arti

    worked for me……. thanks alot.

  50. Ron

    Registry fix didn’t work for me, still a blank tab….GRRRR
    But “command line version” at least gave me back some control. Thanks for your help.

  51. vishnu

    when i give option “show hidden files” it will hide and when i give option “hide files”it shows hidden files…. can u help????

  52. subhash singh

    dear sir, both the checkboxes are still black. how will i be able to find out hidden files.

  53. vamshi krishna

    hello sir
    i am using windows 7 some of my local disk like D:,E: containing files and folders with so much of memory up to 30gb files and folders but i cant fing there files and folders in my local disk.so plz can you tell me how to get the hidden files and folders plzzzzzzzzzz
    i am waiting for your reply
    thankyou if you help meee

  54. Jan

    Help! under organize the folder and search option is grayed out. (Windows 7)
    Thanks

  55. vijay thakor

    this post is really help me this post learn me how to back your hidden file and folders. thanks.

  56. Bhuvan

    my “show hidden files and folders” option appeared like a black checkbox that i cant check it! how to resolve, my OS is vista. and during my manual virus removing i have deleted some reg. files without knowing and how to resolve them also. but the main issue is hidden folder option appears as black box. pls help me to solve it.. Thank u.

  57. raheem

    thanks dude

  58. vanessa Perry

    thank you oooohh soo much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ^__^

    thought my files were gone for good after a Malware virus I knew how to clear it off but the hidden files were annoying!

  59. John

    Also if you have been infected by a certain malware (im not sure which on at this time but im looking) it will hide ALOT of personal files on your computer and remove the option to show hidden. If you follow the steps above but look in the section that youll notice that in the key youll see nohidden and show all some programs change the value of showall/type to RATIO this needs to be RADIO (no caps) and that will restore the option to show and not show. Hope that helps

  60. weex

    thankx ,realy hel me

  61. HARA

    HI

    Pc was infected, and yes, a lot of files and folders that should be showed, were hidden. So the start -> all programs , was empty, and no files to see in my document.

    This all because of infection with spyware, this problem is solved now, but files and folders stay hidden, after clicking on right button on a file , properties, I can uncheck hidden option. File is showing now.

    So to to this automatically I used a application named unhide.exe. Now even files and folders which should be hidden, are shown.

    How can I let windows know (through registry?) to check the standaard hidden files and folders as hidden?

  62. Tashi Dhendup

    how to recover the hidden files from pen drive

  63. Muhammad Ahsan

    Thnx Guyz Its Realy works

  64. MostRecently

    i just type hidden folder in the start menu and quala.. it appears

  65. sikkandersha

    ThankYou Very much it help alot

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