How to Restore Missing or Hidden Libraries in Windows 7

When you open Explorer, all the libraries may be missing, and clicking the “Restore default libraries” context menu option would have no effect. For reasons unexplained, in some cases, the libraries may become hidden, and all you need to do is to remove the hidden attribute set from the “library-ms” files.

Removing Hidden Attributes from Libraries

1. Press WinKey + R, and type the following command:

CMD /K CD /D "%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Libraries"

2. Type the following command to unset the Hidden attribute for the library-ms files:

ATTRIB -H *.library-ms

3. Type EXIT to close the Command Prompt window.

Editor’s Note: If the above doesn’t help, you may rename the default “.library-ms files” using these commands:

REN "%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Libraries\Documents.library-ms" Documents.old
REN "%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Libraries\Music.library-ms" Music.old
REN "%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Libraries\Pictures.library-ms" Pictures.old
REN "%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Libraries\Videos.library-ms" Videos.old

Then, open Windows Explorer, right-click Libraries (in the left pane), and click Restore default libraries.

Show Hidden Files in Explorer

Alternately, you can configure Windows Explorer to show hidden files, using the steps below:

  1. Open Windows Explorer, click Organize.
  2. Select Folder and search options.
  3. Click the View tab, and select “Show hidden files, folders and drives”
  4. Click OK.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

2 thoughts on “How to Restore Missing or Hidden Libraries in Windows 7”

  1. Dear Ramesh: I appreciate the detailed knowledge you put forth on this subject. Renaming the default files worked for me. Recovered the past 20 years of pictures and am very grateful. Respectfully, Renee


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