How to Find Hidden Files on your PC

Your PC may be set to hide system files such as Thumbs.db and desktop.ini by default. This makes Explorer and your Desktop look tidier, but the intended benefit is more patronizing than that: Windows hides them because it doesn’t trust you with them. It assumes you’ll edit or delete them and mess up your operating system. As you’ll discover in this feature, deleting files such as Thumbs.db certainly doesn’t break your PC, and can free up a lot of wasted hard-drive to show hidden files on your PC

Being able to see these files and folders also gives you more control over your PC and how it’s organized, and lets you see how much space these often pointless items are taking up. So go ahead and un-hide them. Go to Folder Options in the Control Panel (get there quickly by typing folder options into Start) and click the View tab. Click ‘Show hidden files, folders, or drives’, untick ‘Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)’, click OK, then click Yes in the Warning box.

how to show hidden files on your PC

Microsoft’s use of the word ‘Recommended’ is its last-ditch attempt to keep your hands off them. Once that’s done, use SwiftSearch to find out how many of the files we mention here have been living and multiplying secretly in your PC. Un-hiding your system files and folders doesn’t magically make them safe to move and delete, of course. Once you can see these unfamiliar items, they make Explorer a much messier place. You may need to be careful not to click or delete the wrong thing. Always check Google for advice before you edit or delete a system file or folder that you don’t recognize, and create a system restore point before you make any changes. We’d also recommend looking up mystery system files on the excellent free site

Spencer is a tech enthusiast and passionately exploring the ever-changing world of technology. With a background in computer science, he effortlessly blends technical expertise with eloquent prose, making complex concepts accessible to all. Spencer wants to inspire readers to embrace the marvels of modern technology and responsibly harness its potential. Twitter