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I have a bunch of folders in my Documents library that were automatically generated by various programs. In order to reduce clutter, I have made these folders hidden, because 99% of the time I don't want to see them. However, there are times where I do want to see them--what is the fastest way for me to temporarily "unhide" them? (By "fastest" I mean much faster than going into the Control Panel and manually changing the visibility option.)

Often times I don't know the exact names of the folders, so just typing their names into the location bar doesn't work. Also, I know there are ways to work around this problem, like making links to these folders, but I would really prefer a direct answer to my question.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I found a nice little AutoHotKey Script at How-To-Geek.com which allows you to simply press "Win + H" to toggle showing Hidden Files. I use it myself and it works extremely well on my Windows 7 PC. And because it's small on memory (508 Kb), I have run at Windows start-up.

Have look at it: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/keyboard-ninja/keyboard-ninja-toggle-hidden-files-with-a-shortcut-key-in-windows/

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Ah, that's perfect! Exactly what I wanted. Thank you! :D –  Sasha Chedygov Sep 6 '10 at 6:29

You can use a simple vbs script that will toggle between showing & hiding your hidden files and folders.

I've tested this method on Windows 7 32-bit only.

' Script to toggle Windows Explorer display of hidden files,
' super-hidden files, and file name extensions
Option Explicit
Dim dblHiddenData, strHiddenKey, strSuperHiddenKey, strFileExtKey
Dim strKey, WshShell
On Error Resume Next
strKey = "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced"
strHiddenKey = strKey & "\Hidden"
strSuperHiddenKey = strKey & "\ShowSuperHidden"
strFileExtKey = strKey & "\HideFileExt"
Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
dblHiddenData = WshShell.RegRead(strHiddenKey)
If dblHiddenData = 2 Then
    WshShell.RegWrite strHiddenKey, 1, "REG_DWORD"
    WshShell.RegWrite strSuperHiddenKey, 1, "REG_DWORD"
    WshShell.RegWrite strFileExtKey, 0, "REG_DWORD"
Else
    WshShell.RegWrite strHiddenKey, 2, "REG_DWORD"
    WshShell.RegWrite strSuperHiddenKey, 0, "REG_DWORD"
    WshShell.RegWrite strFileExtKey, 1, "REG_DWORD"
End If

Edit: I've converted the script above to a batch file that will toggle between showing and hiding hiddenfiles & file extentions in win 7. See below.

@ECHO OFF
set regpath=HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
set regvalue=Hidden
set regdata=2
reg query "%regpath%" /v "%regvalue%" | find /i "%regdata%"

IF errorlevel 1 goto :hide
    Reg add "%regpath%" /v Hidden /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
    Reg add "%regpath%" /v HideFileExt /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
    Reg add "%regpath%" /v ShowSuperHidden /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
    goto :end
:hide
    Reg add "%regpath%" /v Hidden /t REG_DWORD /d 2 /f
    Reg add "%regpath%" /v HideFileExt /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
    Reg add "%regpath%" /v ShowSuperHidden /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
:end
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Looks fantastic! I was going to suggest making 2 reg files and using those, but this is even quicker and more efficient. I copied the script you linked to into the body of your post to make it easier for people reading your answer. Did you write the script or find it? Just curious, since I'd like to add attribution if you just found it. –  nhinkle Sep 6 '10 at 3:31
    
Nice script, thank you. I ended up using the AutoHotKey script above for convenience, but you still get a +1. :) –  Sasha Chedygov Sep 6 '10 at 6:31
    
Two words: Ku Doughs. That's good stuff. (Is working for me on W7-64 bit) These are my favorite kinds of solutions. No software to install, no processes to constantly run for the rare occasions when you need the functionality. Transparent so no security risk and wondering (like with exes that do this) what else the exe might do. –  CChriss Jul 24 '11 at 3:03

The quickest way might be to change the registry setting directly. Make two REG files, one for each setting, and run those. You could write a small batch file that would speed things up even more by running the REG files with no confirmations. Here's a REG file that disables showing hidden files:

REGEDIT4
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced]
"Hidden"=dword:00000002

And one for showing hidden files:

REGEDIT4
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced]
"Hidden"=dword:00000001
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If anyone comes here looking for a native way to do this in Windows 8, you can do this...

ALT V H H

inside any explorer window.

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Show hidden files in Windows 7 will handle visibility globally (which you want to avoid).

You should be able to search for hidden and system files under a folder.
But, look at this "Search for hidden files and folders in Windows" forum question.

There is only one way to do it,
Select the option Show hidden files from folder options and then search for the files using the start search box.

  1. Click Start.
  2. Type "search" in start search box.
  3. click "Change search options for files and folders".
  4. Now, Click on View tab .
  5. Under View,
    a)Select the radio button labeled Show hidden files, folders, and drives
    b)Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide extensions for known file types. c)Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide protected operating system files.
  6. Click on Apply and Ok.

The discussion there is a bit harsh, but its also surprising.
ps: I still expect some scripting interface (power shell?) would allow searching at the command line.

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There are free products that can hide designated folders, unhide them all in one operation, then hide them back. Here are a couple of them. It was unclear from their available description how fast it is to toggle the visibility of the hidden folders.

WinMend Folder Hidden
Hide Folders

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