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How To View Hidden Files and Folders in Microsoft Windows XP

Windows XP Hidden File and Folder Settings Tutorial

By default certain Microsoft Windows XP files and folders are hidden from view.  Some of those folders include files that are essential for the operating system to function properly.  For most situations, having access to those hidden files isn’t needed. But if your computer becomes infected with a computer virus or some other form of malicious software, you’ll definitely need access to those hidden files. Most computer viruses install their files in folders that are in hidden areas. And to completely remove some of those viruses, you’ll need direct access to their containing folders.  This tutorial will show you how to access those hidden areas of your file system. A supplemental video is also included at the bottom of this page.

To modify your Windows XP file and folder view settings, begin by:

  1. Clicking on the “Start Button” in the lower left corner of your desktop screen.

  1. Next click on the “Control Panel”.

  1. Next click on “Folder Options”. Your view should be set to “Classic View” in the upper left.


  1. Next, click the “View” tab at the top of the “Folder Options” settings.

  1. Next, click on “Show hidden files and folders”. And depending on what specific files you need to access, you may also need to uncheck the “Hide protected operating system files” option as well.

  1. Afterwards, click on “OK”. Your hidden files and folders should now be viewable.

The information in this article is provided "as is". It should be used for educational purposes only. Smith Technical Resources makes no guarantees or claims that the information contained in this article will help you completely remove the above listed malicious program(s) from your computer.

If you feel uncomfortable performing any of the procedures that we've listed on this page, please contact a professional computer repair company in your area and have them complete the needed repairs on your computer. Smith Technical Resources takes no responsibility for any possible damage that could result from your use of the above instructions.

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