How to view hidden files in Windows 11

Windows 11 introduces a new version of File Explorer with a more minimalist menu. If you’re used to older versions of Windows, you may find that some settings are hard to find, including the ability to view hidden files. Luckily, displaying files is a simple process that requires fewer steps than in previous versions.

If you’re curious about how to view hidden files in Windows 11, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll show you two different ways to do it with File Explorer.

How to view hidden files in Windows 11

There are two ways to view hidden files in Windows 11, and both require you to use File Explorer. The difference is that one uses layout and view options, while the other uses folder options.

How to View Hidden Files in Windows 11 Using Layout and View Options

Here is what you need to do to show hidden files in Windows 11 using layout and view options:

  • Open File Explorer from the taskbar. It’s a yellow folder icon.
  • Select the Layout and View Options icon. It’s the second icon from the right in the top menu.
  • Click Show.
  • Select Hidden Items.

The files will now be visible in File Explorer.

How to View Hidden Files in Windows 11 Through Folder Options 

You can show your hidden files in Windows 11 by adjusting the folder options. To do this, follow the instructions below:

  • Launch File Explorer and click the three dots.
  • Select Options”.
  • Go to “View”.
  • In the “Advanced settings” section, check the “Show hidden files, folders and drives” box.
  • Select Apply.
  • Click OK.

Folders and files will appear in File Explorer. You will easily recognize them because they will look faded. If you want to hide files again, repeat the steps and check the “Don’t show hidden files, folders, and drives” box.

How to show protected operating system files in Windows 11

There is another type of hidden files in the Windows operating system: system files that keep the operating system running properly. These files are protected to ensure that other programs do not overwrite them and cause problems.

If you need to see these files, follow these steps:

  • Launch File Explorer.
  • Select three dots from the top menu.
  • Select Options and open View.
  • Under “Advanced settings”, look for “Hide protected operating system files (recommended)” and uncheck it.
  • A dialog box will appear on the screen informing you about the disclosure of confidential operating system files. If you understand the risks, select Yes.

Protected operating system files will now appear in File Explorer with a faded appearance. Don’t forget to hide files again when you’re done with your tasks.

Frequently asked Questions

How to Hide Certain File Types from Search Results in Windows 11

Windows 11 allows users to hide certain types of files (such as images or videos) in search results. This allows you to optimize your search and easily find what you are looking for. Follow these steps to hide certain file types from search results in Windows 11:

1. Open the start menu, start typing “Indexing Options” and open it.

2. Select Advanced.

3. Click the File Types tab.

4. All types of files that Windows displays in the search results will appear on the screen. Find the file type you want to exclude from search and uncheck the box next to it. If you don’t see the format you want to hide, click Add New Extension to List, enter the format, and select Add.

5. Click the Index Settings tab and select Rebuild next to Delete and Rebuild Index.

6. Click OK.

7. A message will appear on the screen stating that rebuilding the index may take some time and the search results may be incomplete. Select OK.

Wait a few minutes until the process completes and the selected file types are excluded from the search results.

How to protect your files in Windows 11?

If you share your computer with others and want to stop them from accessing your files, there are many things you can do.

The first hides your files. Here’s what to do to hide your files in Windows 11:

1. Find the folder you want to hide and right-click it.

2. Select “Properties”.

3. Check the box next to Hidden.

4. Go to File Explorer and click the Layout and View Options icon. It’s the second icon from the right.

5. Hover over “Show” and uncheck the box next to “Hidden Items”.

While this can be a good way to protect your files, it’s not the most secure way as other users can enable showing hidden files in a few steps. If you want to be safe, it’s best to protect your files with a password. Here’s how to do it with Easy File Locker :

1. Open a browser and download Easy File Locker.

2. Complete the installation process and run the program.

3. Go to the System menu and select Set Password.

4. Enter your password and click OK.

5. Go to the “Files and Folders” menu and select “Add Folder” or “Add File” depending on what you want to protect.

6. Select a file or folder by clicking on the three dots on the right.

7. Uncheck the box next to “Available”. If you don’t, everyone will still be able to access your files and folders, even if you’ve blocked them.

8. Check the box next to Visible.

The selected file or folder is now password protected. If someone tries to access it, they will get an “Access Denied” message. If you want to block multiple files and folders, you will need to repeat the steps for each of them.

Keep track of your files and folders in Windows 11

Hiding files is a great way to optimize search results or prevent others from accessing them. However, many people who hide their files tend to forget about them after a while. Luckily, Windows 11 allows you to show hidden files in just a few steps.

We hope this article has explained how to view hidden files in Windows 11 using various methods and provided more information about protecting your files.

Do you hide your files in Windows 11 or do you prefer to password protect them? Have you ever forgotten about hidden files after a while? Tell us in the comments section below.