Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Show Hidden files/folders in Windows (When you can't) using the Command Prompt

A friend of mine once approached me with a simple yet strange request. "How do I view hidden files and folders in Windows XP ? ". The fact that he had been using Windows for years astounded me. Off course, he knew how to view hidden files & folders, but this was a unique case.

He sent me a screenshot of his folder options box. Take a look

Strangely, both 'Do not show hidden files and folders' & 'Show hidden files and folders' were enabled.My initial reaction was it may be a virus, trojan, spyware or some malware. Scanning with various anti-virus and anti-spyware software didn't reveal anything. The funny thing here was all the hidden files were perpetually hidden; we weren't able to get the files in the hidden folders even with a Windows search. So using the command prompt to find hidden files was the best option. How to do it?Let's say you want to see all hidden stuff inside the D:\Temp folder. Check the steps below:

1. Go to Start >> Run. Type cmd and press Enter to open the command prompt.

2. Now navigate to the directory from the command prompt.[For eg. Assume you are in C:\Documents and Setting\Jose. and you want to go to D:\Temp; type D: and press enter. This will take you the root D:\ in the command prompt. Type cd Temp in the command prompt and press Enter. Now you'll be inside D:/Temp from the command prompt.]

3. Type the command dir/ah to list all the files under D:\Temp.

Once you get the name of the files, you can view or run them by entering the file path in the address bar of Windows (The address bar of Windows is similar to the address bar of Internet Explorer, where you type the website or folder address).To delete files use the del [Folder Name] in the command prompt. This will delete the folder you specify under the current directory. Eg del Temp

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