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Windows - Show hidden files and extensions

Why display the extensions?

When extensions are hidden, an infected file may seem harmless.
Example: a simple image file (.jpg) may be actually an executable file (.exe).
For the same reason it may be useful to display hidden files but beware: among these hidden files, there are the system files. Never delete them without inquiring about their usefulness.

To view extensions

Windows XP

  • Open Windows Explorer.
  • Go to the "Tools" menu and select "Folder Options"
  • Select the "View" tab.
  • Uncheck "Hide extensions for file types is known" and click "Apply:

Windows Vista/7

  • Open Explorer
  • Go to the "Organize" menu > Folder and Search Options:
  • Select the "View" tab.
  • Uncheck "Hide extensions for file types is known" and click "Apply"

Windows 8

  • Open Explorer and select the "View" tab:
  • In the "Show/Hide" section, check "File name extensions

Solution via the registry

  • Open the Registry Editor
  • Go to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced".
  • Create (or modify) a new string value and name it "HideFileExt".
  • Set it's value to "0".

To display hidden files and folders

  • Use the same methods as above, but this time, select "Show hidden files and folders".
  • For Windows 8, you must check "Hidden Items"
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