You can hide your personal files on all operating systems using different methods, but once hidden, it can be difficult to view again. Operating systems also come with sensitive hidden files by default to keep things simple, and you can’t access these files unless you unhide them.

There is a chance you might have hidden a file or folder by accident, or may be an app has hidden files on your device. Whatever the reason, if you want to see hidden files on your device, we are going to show you how to do it.

There can be many apps that will let you hide files and folders, but we are mainly going to address built-in OS file-hiding feature of different platforms, We are going to address three popular platforms, Windows, OS X and Android.

View Hidden Files on Windows

Viewing hidden files in Windows is really simple as compare to other platforms. You don’t need any specific commands or tools to access hidden files.

In Windows 7, open “My Computer” and in there, click on “Organize”. From the drop down menu, click on “Folder Options”.

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A new window will open, in there, click on “View” tab. Under “View” tab, you will see many options under the heading “Advanced settings.

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There under “Hidden files and folder”, you will see options to show or don’t show hidden files. Just select “Show hidden files, folders and drives” and click on “OK”. All hidden folders and files will now be shown and you can hide them again through the same process.

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Access “Folder options” through Control Panel

You can also access these options from the Control Panel (this will also work on Windows 8). Click on Start, and then click on Control Panel.

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In the Control Panel, click on “Appearance and Personalization”. From there, click on “Show hidden files and folders” and “Folder options” will open up and from there you can change hidden files settings.

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View Hidden Files in OS X

In OS X, it can be a bit tricky to access hidden files, you will require a proper command to view these files.

You can enter a Unix command in Terminal app to view all hidden files or hide them again. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Terminal app by clicking on “Go” and then “Utilities”, and from there launch the app.
  2. Copy the command “defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES” and paste it in the terminal and hit enter.
  3. Copy the command “killall Finder” and paste in the terminal and hit enter again.

The second command is for relaunching the Finder, so you could see the hidden files. If you can manually relaunch it, then there is no need for the second command.

Everything should relaunch and you should be able to see the hidden files.

If you wish to hide the files again, just enter this command defaults write AppleShowAllFiles NO in the terminal app and hit enter.

You will also have to relaunch the Finder again, so enter the command killall Finder and hit enter.

The Finder will relaunch and all the hidden files will be hidden again.

Here is a video tutorial for the above instructions:

Show hidden files on Android

In android, there is no built-in system or command for viewing hidden files. You will have to access the file using a File manager. There are many File managers for Android and they come with different features, although showing hidden files is one of the common features.

You can use any good file manager and it should have the ability to view hidden files. In this tutorial, we are going to use ES File Explorer. It has quite good reputation on Google Play Store with a rating of 4.5/5. If this manager doesn’t work for you then ASTRO File Manager is also a good option.

Download the manager and launch it. From the interface, tap on the Menu at the top left corner of the screen.

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In the menu, tap on “Settings” located at the bottom right corner. In “Settings”, tap on “Display settings”

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There, scroll down and check “Show hidden files”. Once checked, you should be able to see all the hidden folders and files. You can hide the files again by unchecking this option.

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If there are any questions or you would like to share any information regarding hidden files, fire away in the comments below.

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