Had this question 21
jjk98 asked on

Search for hidden files and folders in Windows 7

How for an individual search do I tell the search process to examine hidden files and folders.

Found this helpful 18
Fahimulla K replied on

There is only one way to do it, Select the option Show hidden files from folder options and then search for the files using the start search box.
1. Click Start.
2. Type "search" in start search box.
3. click "Change search options for files and folders".
4. Now, Click on View tab .
5. Under View,
       a)Select the radio button labeled Show hidden files, folders, and drives 
       b)Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide extensions for known file types.
       c)Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide protected operating system files.
6. Click on Apply and Ok.

For more information on search, click on the following link:

Thanks and Regards:
Swati K- Microsoft Support Engineer
Found this helpful 13
DM2123123123123123123123 replied on


I have to say, it was stupid of microsoft to remove the ability to change the search on the fly.

WHY did it get removed? If I want to specify hidden and systems folders *IN* the search I should be able to, without turning on "View hidden and system files".


Are you guys REALLY that damn stupid?

Found this helpful 4
petersquare replied on


I'm totally agree with you DM. Microsoft is just trying to make the search integrate with online searches since most people search online and are not technical to search for hidden or system files(Most of them don't even know there are hidden files.) Therefore MS took away those functions or make it harder to find and use. For advance people like us, I think MS can do a better job than this. They are trying to make the search smarter but it turn up to be smarter in the online world but stupid or almost useless in the local machine world. Just to design something better and smarter doesn't have to sacrifice other functions. No wonder they can't beat GOOGLE.

Found this helpful 6
EtherKnight replied on


God I am so in agreement with you guys! Regardless of the need for "web friendliness" it seems like a giant stepbackwards to be required to make a global change to search for asingle hidden file; and then have to change it back afterward? Come on! What is this? Windows 98? Wait, even 98 could do this.... For the love of all things good in the world, at least they could have given some kind of admin-only search interface. Even it had to be run from the command line. Whatever. Just throw us admins a bone here Microsoft!

I like Windows 7 and all, but MS has dumbed-down the UI with every new version. I get that Windows is a broad-based OS, targeted to a broad base of people, but I really don't want to lose a basic function just because you think it's 'too complicated' for the lowly user. You break my Microsoft. You break my heart.

Found this helpful 1
Phil Preen replied on


at least they could have given some kind of admin-only search interface. Even it had to be run from the command line.

But they have!

Try HELP DIR from the command prompt.

Found this helpful 3
BDS1959 replied on


I wholeheartedly agree with DM, petersquare, and EtherKnight.  In their never-ending quest to dumb things down, MS, in it's infintessimal wisdom, makes things more DIFFICULT for the "real" users - those of us who have to set-up and troubleshoot workstations.  Thanks, MS, for breaking something that didn't need fixing, or fixing something that wasn't broken, or... ??? ... Once more, I need to spend unnecessary time trying to figure out something that I shouldn't have to!   
Found this helpful 1
ARay Davis replied on


On the subject of Hidden Files.

When you receive a PDF file in Microsoft Outlook, and you open the file, a copy of the pdf file is automatically saved in a hidden file.

I am told after you have received 99 PDF files, this hidden folder is full, and you can no longer open a pdf file from Outlook until the files in this hidden folder are deleted.

I believe the following is the path to one of these hidden folders, but on other Windows 7 PC's it doesn't seem to be the same folder:

C:\Users\ad0976\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\ALWQZ40U

Is there a way to stop Microsoft Outlook from saving a copy of every PDF file that you open and print?

Found this helpful 2
Geesac Antony replied on


This might not be useful in emergency situation. Last time I spend half an hour to find an important file. Thank god I was not fired for the delay in submission of report.  

Microsoft, please make something simple.
Found this helpful 1
Carlos Sang replied on


Even I have the options set up as you have mentioned, after I did a search (Windows key + F) it didn't show folders and files that are in the appdata folder in the search results. I know they are there, because I can manually look for them.
Found this helpful 1
ttr2121 replied on


Okay, I have changed the search options, but I still don't know how to find non-indexed, hidden and system files.  Specifically, how do I look at ALL of these to choose the ones I need to check on? There are no prompts to help me as in older 'advanced search' Windows versions, so how do I proceed?
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