Show Hidden Files and Folders Option Missing or Does Not Work

The hidden files and folders in Windows Explorer may not be displayed even though you enable the Show hidden files and folders option in the Folder Options. The files and folders can be viewed when using search, or using the DIR /A command from the Command Prompt window.

Also, when you go to open the Folder Options and click the View tab, both the radio buttons Do not show hidden files and folders and Show hidden files and folders may be enabled.

The above symptoms occur if the system is infected by Malware, which modifies the CheckedValue registry value in these branches:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced \ Folder \ Hidden \ NOHIDDEN
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced \ Folder \ Hidden \ SHOWALL

This ploy is used by many Viruses, so that the hidden file (malicious executable or script) won’t be displayed in Explorer. (REF Google Search Results). Also note that some Viruses remove the above option altogether from the View tab of Folder Options applet.

Registry Fix

To fix the above setting, download foldersettings.reg and save to Desktop. Right-click on the file and choose Merge. This fix can be applied in Windows XP as well as in Windows Vista systems.

Reconfigure the Show hidden files and folders option now. Then update your anti-virus software and run a full system scan. And don’t forget to follow-up with a thorough checkup for Malware.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

20 thoughts on “Show Hidden Files and Folders Option Missing or Does Not Work

  1. My registry entry was exact same as in patch. I tried it anyway but it did not fix the problem. I renamed the “hidden” key and that solved it. I guess after a restart windows would probably re-create the hidden folder correctly. we’ll see. LOL

  2. Great Help, thanks !!
    It saved me loads of time from unhiding all the files manually from the command line.
    I just got finished cleaning a machine with an mbr rootkit and about 50 trojans on it. At first I thought the files were hidden by the rootkit, but after nailing the rootkit, I was surprised to see the files were still hidden. Then I realized they weren’t hidden from windows just the ‘hidden’ file attribute was set. I found this rather humorous. When I went to unhide the files, the ‘show hidden files and folder’ view options were missing. But I could unhide them by using “attrib -s -h ” from the command line. Then I figured, the trojan disabled the view options in the registry and after a little searching I found this article on how to restore them.
    Worked like a charm, thanks mate !

    cheers ;)

  3. Hi Im running windows seven and the registry didnt work still shows no tab to show hidden files please help

  4. Hello,

    i got a monstrous problem concerning my hidden files, i can’t see them anymore and when i enter in tools, folder options so as to click and see my hidden folders…it returns back to “do not show” any clue????

  5. thx it worked….i tried several things in regedit but it was not working…but u simplified it through foldersettings.reg…Thx

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