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In Windows 7, if you view a hidden folder, its name gets saved in the history like any other folder's would. That means that the path autocomplete feature will display it in the list of suggestions, like so:

screenshot of hidden folder appearing in suggestion dropdown

Is there any way to prevent hidden folders, or perhaps a manually selected whitelist of folders, from being shown in these suggestion dropdowns? If so, what is it?

(And yes, I know merely making a folder hidden doesn't provide true security, but it's good enough for the occasional C:\PlansForSurpriseParty\-type folder.)

To clarify, the "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" option is not now and was never enabled. I originally entered the folder by typing its location directly into the path bar. This is still occurring for me, but I'm at a loss as to why others can't repro it.

share|improve this question
Hmm, I can't seem to simulate this – Sathya Mar 30 '11 at 14:09
I tried to replicate what you have - Windows showed me hidden folders in the dropdown list even with it set to hide hidden folders. Once I had gone into a hidden folder, then clicked back, the hidden folders were not in the dropdown list as they were previously. Maybe not what you were looking for but just a suggestion. I couldn't find any sort of setting that lets you change it. – steve Mar 30 '11 at 14:11
That's odd, clicking back doesn't remove them from the list, for me. At least, I don't think so; I'm not by that machine (or any Win7 machine) right now. This should really be a comment and not an answer, though. – Pops Mar 30 '11 at 14:16
@Sathya, could I get you to try again? Ryan indicated in a comment that he was able to repro the issue when typing the hidden folder's name into the path bar, but not when clicking on the folder's icon. – Pops Apr 5 '11 at 16:36
@LordTorgamus That's how I had initially tried it. Tried again, but can't simulate it. ( pic1: w/show hidden files, HP is the hidden folder pic2: w/hide hidden folders, you can see it doesn't show up for me – Sathya Apr 5 '11 at 16:47
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The drop down isn't showing you hidden folders, it's showing you most recently visited places that you either typed into the address bar, or navigated to using the paths/arrows in the address bar itself; that's why the "Don't Show Hidden Folder" option doesn't affect it. :)

You can manually delete the list by right-clicking the address bar and clicking "Delete History".

You can also use RegEdit to access the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\TypedPaths registry key and remove the entries from inside.

Perhaps Export a blank copy of that registry key and import it via a log-out script (using reg.exe in a batch file, or alike) to ensure it's been cleaned at logout.

share|improve this answer
This post wins for the "delete history" tip. I made no attempt to try the registry part of the answer. I don't like to touch the registry if I don't have to, and this wasn't important enough for me to muck around in there. – Pops Jun 24 '11 at 3:25

Apparently Windows does not provide an option to prevent it.

Instead, you can manullay run a batch script whenever you want to delete those history entries. This may help:

@echo OFF

SetLocal EnableExtensions EnableDelayedExpansion

set key=HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\TypedPaths

for /f "delims=" %%A in ('reg query %key%') do (
    for /f "tokens=1,2,3 delims= " %%B in ("%%A") do (
        set name=%%B
        set type=%%C
        set data=%%D

        if exist !data! (
            set attribs=%%~aD
            echo !name! !type! !data! !attribs!
            set hidden=!attribs:~3,1!
            if !hidden!==- (
                echo !name! is not hidden.
            ) else (
                reg delete %key% /v !name! /f > nul
                echo !name! was removed.


I think the option is not provided because it is not that simple to decide what to do in many cases like:

  • Hidden attribute may be set/reset after url is visited.
  • Resource pointed by url may be non-local.
  • Visited file may be deleted.
share|improve this answer

You could try this approach.

Essentially, they're saying you turn your folder into a hidden system folder which are, by default, unsearchable.

Also, I couldn't replicate what you were talking about. Make sure that when you're done using the 'hidden' folder, you select 'Don't show hidden files, folders, or drives'.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Good idea with that link, but it didn't stop the folder from showing up in the autocomplete dropdown. I've updated the question to clarify that the "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" setting is not the problem. – Pops Apr 5 '11 at 5:50
Ah. I am able to reproduce the issue when I type it in. Before, I was clicking on the hidden folder, and when doing that, it isn't added to your history. – Ryan Apr 5 '11 at 16:30

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