Changing the Hidden Attribute for a File

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 4, 2021)

When you create a file in Windows, that file has certain attributes that are associated with it. Sometimes these attributes seem obvious—things like file size and file name come to mind. Other times the attributes are less obvious and more esoteric. Once such attribute controls whether the file is displayed, by default, in Explorer windows. It is called, appropriately enough, the Hidden attribute.

To change the hidden attribute, follow these steps:

  1. Display an Explorer window. (The easiest way is to press Win+E.)
  2. Navigate until you see the file you want to affect.
  3. Right-click on the file and choose Properties from the resulting Context menu. Windows displays the Properties dialog box; the General tab should be visible. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Properties dialog box for a file.

  5. Use the Hidden checkbox (at the bottom of the dialog box) to specify whether the file should be hidden or not.
  6. Click OK.

When a file is hidden, it is not normally visible in the Explorer window. If you want to have hidden files included in what you see, follow these steps if you are using Windows 7 or Windows 10:

  1. Display the Control Panel by typing "Control Panel" (without the quotes) in the search box to the left of the task bar and press Enter if you are using Windows 10. If you are using Windows 7 click the Start menu and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click the Appearance and Personalization link.
  3. Click the Show Hidden Files and Folders link (under the File Explorer section). Windows displays the File Explorer Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The File Explorer Options dialog box.

  5. Select the Show Hidden Files, Folders, and Drives radio button.
  6. Click OK.

With this setting made, all hidden files are displayed in all Explorer windows. If you are using Windows 10 you can also follow these steps:

  1. Press Win+E to display an Explorer window.
  2. At the top of the window, click the View tab.
  3. In the Show/Hide group (near the right side of the ribbon), make sure the Hidden Items check box is selected.

 This tip (13078) applies to Windows 7 and 10.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Extracting Street Numbers from an Address

Want to know how to move pieces of information contained in one cell into individual cells? This option exists in using ...

Discover More

Pop-up Windows in Word

Want to add a small pop-up window over a word in your document? There is no way to do this directly in Word, but you can ...

Discover More

Aligning Plus/Minus Symbols

Scientific writing often involves the use of special symbols, such as the plus/minus symbol. If you want to align these ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Clearing Items from the Recently Used Documents List

You may wish to clear your Recently Used Documents list or even have them not remembered in the first place. How you ...

Discover More

Using Robocopy to Mirror Directories

It's simple to use Robocopy when dealing with entire directories. Dealing with directories is what it does best! This top ...

Discover More

Creating a System Repair Disk on a USB Flash Drive

Having a system repair disk is almost as important as doing regular backups. CDs and DVDs, though, tend to get scratched ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips