Does Ctrl+A in a folder select the hidden items as well? Will copying a folder containing hidden files also copy the hidden files?

This question pertain to:

  • Windows Explorer (Windows 7)
  • Nautilus (Ubuntu)
  • pcmanfm (LXDE)

3 Answers 3


In Windows ctrl+A will not select hidden files if they are not displayed and therefore they will not be copied.

If you copy a whole folder "from the outside" which contains hidden files, the hidden files will also be copied.

  • Now that it's been mentioned, I'm really curious what the logic is behind this behavior?
    – Arctiic
    Aug 13, 2020 at 6:52

No, unless the hidden files display setting is enabled.

Here's how to display hidden files and folders:

  • Open Folder Options by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Folder Options.
  • Click the View tab.
  • Under Advanced settings, click Show hidden files, folders, and drives, and then click OK.

No. As others said, Ctrl+A selects only visible content so any hidden or system files won't be selected. In fact in the past if you press Ctrl+A in a folder with hidden items you'll get a warning saying that there are hidden files in that folder

The warning has been removed in later versions of Windows but the behavior retains: You can't select something that you can't see

XP select all warning

  • This doesn't give substantial new information. Would better fit as a comment. Mar 12, 2020 at 16:02
  • I don't agree. This gives a direct proof from Explorer instead of just a statement
    – phuclv
    Mar 12, 2020 at 16:12

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