Windows - Show hidden files and extensions

Ask a question



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"
Jean-François Pillou

CCM is a leading international tech website. Our content is written in collaboration with IT experts, under the direction of Jeff Pillou, founder of CCM.net. CCM reaches more than 50 million unique visitors per month and is available in 11 languages.

Learn more about the CCM team