How to Find Hidden Data on a Computer

by Steve Gregory
You can view and hide the hidden files in Windows.

You can view and hide the hidden files in Windows.

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By default, the Windows operating system automatically hides specific files and folders, such as system files, to prevent users from accidentally deleting or changing them. However, finding your computer's hidden files is necessary in some circumstances to protect your business data, such as when determining if malware or a virus has created hidden files on your system. Although finding the hidden files may seem complicated, you can access the settings to view them in a few minutes as long as you have an administrator account on your work computer.


Move your mouse cursor to the lower-right corner of the screen.


Click the "Search" charm and then select "Settings."


Type "Folder" in the Search bar and then click the "Search" icon to reveal the list of results.


Select "Folder Options" from the list to open the Folder Options window, and then select the "View" tab.


Select the "Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives" check box in the Hidden Files and Folders section of the Advanced Settings box.


Click the "Apply" button to save the changes, and then click "OK."


  • You can also manually hide a file or folder on your system. Right-click on the item and then select "Properties" from the pop-up menu. Select the "General" tab and then click the "Hidden" check box in the Attributes section. Select "Apply" and then "OK."


  • Do not change or delete any hidden files unless you know their function and how changing them will affect the operating system.
  • The information in this article applies to the Windows 8. Instructions may differ slightly or significantly with other versions.

About the Author

An avid technology enthusiast, Steve Gregory has been writing professionally since 2002. With more than 10 years of experience as a network administrator, Gregory holds an Information Management certificate from the University of Maryland and is pursuing MCSE certification. His work has appeared in numerous online publications, including Chron and GlobalPost.

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