How to Show Hidden Operating System Files

Have you ever seen your operating system files? Chances are, you haven’t. These are hidden by default to protect them (and you, too).

If you’re a bit of a curious George, you can use a registry tweak for Windows XP that will force these hidden operating system files to be shown. However, before you attempt this, you should create a backup of your current registry settings.

Note that Hidden Operating System Files are different from Hidden Files and Folders. Hidden Files and Folders use a different value name from Hidden Operating System Files. The former use the value name Hidden while the latter use the value name ShowSuperHidden in the registry. Be sure not to confuse the two.

Here are the instructions for showing the hidden operating system files.

  1. Click Start and go to Run. Enter regedit. Your registry editor will appear.

  2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER. You can find this on the left side of your registry editor. Expand this folder by clicking on the cross to the left of the folder.

  3. Look for Software. Expand this folder when you find it.

  4. This will take you to Microsoft. Expand Microsoft.

  5. Now look for the Windows folder. Expand the Windows folder.

  6. You should be able to see CurrentVersion. Expand CurrentVersion.

  7. Now go to Explorer. Expand this too.

  8. You should now look for the Advanced folder.

  9. Look at the right side of your registry editor. If you can find ShowSuperHidden, jump ahead to step ten. If you can’t find the ShowSuperHidden value, create it using the steps below.

    • Right click on the right hand pane of the registry editor.

    • Select New and then select DWORD.

    • Rename the new DWORD value ShowSuperHidden. You can also right click on the new DWORD value and select Rename.

  10. Double click on ShowSuperHidden. A new box will pop up.

  11. You may choose to enter 0 if you want ShowSuperHidden disabled. If you want to enable ShowSuperHidden, you can enter 1 in the value data instead.

  12. Exit the registry and reboot.

So, can you now see your hidden files?