By default, hidden files and folders are not displayed in Windows 11 . However, it is very easy to activate the option from File Explorer. In this article, we are going to see together how to show hidden files, folders and drives In Windows 11 .

  1. What are hidden files and folders in Windows 11?
  2. How to show hidden files and folders in Windows 11
  3. How to view protected operating system files in Windows 11

What are hidden files and folders in Windows 11?

Some files are hidden by default to ensure that no unwanted changes are made by the user.

Indeed, it could very well be normal files like important system files. Moving or deleting a system file can affect the system, and in the worst case, render it completely unusable.

However, sometimes you may need to view and access hidden files and folders. To do this, we will see together how to activate the option to show hidden files and folders in Windows 11.

How to show hidden files and folders in Windows 11

1. First, open File Explorer by clicking on its icon located in the taskbar or by using the keyboard shortcut WindowsE.

File Explorer icon in the Windows 11 taskbar

2. Click the ellipsis button (the three dots) in the File Explorer toolbar, and then click “ Options ” from the context menu.

3. From the “ Folder Options ” window , click on the “ View ” tab . Then, check the radio button next to ” Show hidden files, folders and drives “, then validate with ” Apply  ” and ” OK  “.

✅ Hidden files and folders will then appear instantly in File Explorer and on your Windows 11 desktop. Their icons will have a slightly translucent appearance.

Example of hidden folders in Windows 11

If later you want to hide them to prevent anyone from doing anything, go back to the file explorer’s folder options, then check the “Do not show hidden files, folders or drives” radio button.

How to view protected operating system files in Windows 11

In Windows 11, there is also another type of hidden file – protected operating system files. If you want to activate their display, I invite you to follow the few steps below. But beware, these hidden files keep your computer running smoothly. So don’t do anything with ?

1. Open Windows 11 File Explorer again .

2. Return to the “ Folder Options ” window as described previously.

3. Click on the “ View ” tab , then scroll down the “Advanced settings” list and uncheck the “ Hide protected operating system files (recommended) ” box.

4. A warning message will then appear instantly. Click ” Yes ” to confirm your choice to view protected operating system files.


✅ Now the operating system proteges will be displayed in File Explorer and on your desktop. Like the hidden files revealed in the previous section, they will appear translucent.

Once you are done with what you need to do, it is a good idea to hide protected operating system files again. To do this, go back to the folder options as shown above, then click on the “View” tab, and check the box next to “Hide protected operating system files (recommended)”. Then validate the modifications with the “OK” button.

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About the Author

SAKHRI Mohamed

The blog of a computer enthusiast who shares news, tutorials, tips, online tools and software for Windows, macOS, Linux, Web designer and Video games.

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