How to Show Hidden Files Using CMD, Control Panel and Software

Jean updated on Nov 25, 2020 to File Recovery | How-to Articles

When files and folders get hidden on USB flash drive, external disk and computer hard drive due to careless operation or virus infection, virtually you have 3 options to show hidden files using cmd Command Prompt, Windows control panel, and data recovery software.

There are three ways in all to show hidden files. The following table shows the outlines, go to check the details.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Use attrib cmd Press Windows + X keys and select Command Prompt as an Administrator. Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.*...Full steps
Fix 2. Use Windows control panel Open Windows Control Panel and navigate to File Explorer Options. Find the View tab, and tick the option...Full steps
Fix 3. Use data recovery software Use EaseUS data recovery software to find all files and folders that were hidden somewhere...Full steps

How do I make hidden files visible

Suppose that you don't actually delete anything off from a storage location, but files and folders disappeared from computer hard drive, USB flash drive or external hard disk mysteriously. What will you do?

If you have the same question of "How do I make hidden files visible" or "How do I see all hidden files", don't panic. Normally, files might be hidden by virus, or simply because you don't have the permission to see all hidden files and folders in Windows. 

Three most commonly applied approaches - Attrib CMD (Command Prompt), Windows Control Panel and data recovery software to show hidden files on a Windows computer are available here to help.

What is the best way to show hidden files

Before you start, it's a smart choice for you to take a deeper view of all file unhiding operations and choose the most applicable one for your own case.

Comparison Attrib CMD Control Panel Settings Data Recovery Software
Applicable Situations Unhide files from virus or false operations Show hidden files from Windows File Explorer Revive hidden files from virus or permission issues
Supported Devices Windows hard drive, USB, SD, external hard drive, etc. Windows hard drive and partitions Windows hard drive, USB, SD, external hard drive, etc.
Supported OS Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP, Windows Server OS Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP, Windows Server OS, and macOS
Steps to Show Hidden Files 3 Steps 3 Steps 3 Steps

Command Prompt with Attrib command works 100% to find hidden items on PC as well as external storage devices. However, it requires higher-level computer skills. To unhide files with Control Panel Settings is easy to start but doesn't support the case of virus infection.

While data recovery software offers both easy to use and powerful features in finding hidden documents, pictures and all types of files for you. Let's go through each file unhiding guide and make all your hidden files and folders visible again.

If your hidden files were saved on an external storage device, connect it to your PC in advance. Then you may continue with the following solutions to make the computer display those hidden files.

Method 1. Show hidden files using attrib cmd

This command will show up all hidden files from manual file hidden methods or virus infection. The attrib command can also be applied to show hidden files on USB, SD card, etc. external storage devices.

Step 1. Press Windows + X keys and select Command Prompt (CMD) as an Administrator. 

Or you can click the Windows icon, select "Search" and type command prompt. Right-click on it and select to open Command Prompt as Administrator.

Open Command Prompt as Administrator.

Step 2. Determine the drive or storage device where the files are hidden and you want to recover.

Step 3. Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.* and hit Enter. (If it's drive D, then replace G: with the drive letter for your device). 

Click to copy

Attrib syntax explanation:

  • –h clears the Hidden file attribute.
  • –r clears the Read-only file attribute
  • –s clears the System file attribute.
  • /s applies attrib and any command-line options to matching files in the current directory and all of its subdirectories.
  • /d applies attrib and any command-line options to directories.

Manual input of the command line is suitable for computer professionals since wrong commands can cause more severe problems. Therefore, for security and usability, we strongly recommend you try an automatic command line alternative. EaseUS Tools M is a practical tool that enables you to check and fix files system error, enable/disable write protection and system update with one-click instead of typing intricate command lines.

Follow the simple steps below to show hidden files with this 1-click-fix software. 

Step 1.  DOWNLOAD EaseUS Tools M for Free.

Step 2. Start EaseUS Tools M, choose "File Showing" on the left pane. Next, choose the target drive for scanning.

show hidden files - step 2

Step 3. After the operation completes, click the View button to check the hidden files. 

show hidden files - step 3

Method 2. Unhide hidden files using Windows control panel

When you can't see some saved files on your computer hard drive or external storage devices but 100% for sure that these files are still there, follow tips here for help.

Step 1. Open Windows Control Panel and navigate to File Explorer Options in Windows 10, 8.1 and 8.

Step 2. On File Explorer Options window, navigate to the View tab, under Hidden files and folders section, tick the option of Show hidden files, folders and drives.

show hidden files using control panel

Step 3. Re-open your local hard drive or device to check the hidden files and folder on your PC again.

If the hidden files fail to show up after trying Method 1 and Method 2, it's highly possible that your files saved on the hard drive or external storage device were lost.

Method 3. Show and recover hidden files using EaseUS data recovery software

In addition to the above two manual methods, reliable data recovery software should also be an ideal choice to find all files and folders that were hidden somewhere by a virus or improper file option settings.

Here, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can not only help you find all hidden files on your computer or external storage devices but also works effectively in deleted file recovery, formatted hard drive recovery, raw drive data recovery and so on. Mac user can also download the Mac version of this software for restoring hidden and lost files with ease.

Let's see how to bring your hidden files back by using EaseUS data recovery software:

Step 1. Select a location to scan.

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, hover on the partition, external hard drive, USB, or memory card where the files are hidden, and then click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Select the files you want to recover.

Wait until the scanning completes. Afterward, select the hidden files you want to recover. If you need, double-click the file to preview its content.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Recover the files.

After choosing the files, click "Recover" and choose a location on another drive to save the recovered files.

Recover lost data

Bottom Line

This page includes three practical methods to help you restore and show hidden files from Windows computer hard drive or external storage devices. Attrib command, Control Panel, and EaseUS data recovery software can all be applied to help you get rid of this issue on Windows 10/8/7/Vista and XP. 

Here, we have collected some top questions and answers that you may also want to know such as how to remove viruses from PC, storage devices or how to protect your valuable files. Check out and hope these answers can help:

Question 1: How do I make hidden files visible in CMD?

Right-click Windows icon and type: cmd in the search bar > Select to run Command Prompt as Administrator > Sign in with your administrator account if necessary > Type: attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.* (Replace G with the drive letter where you'd like to show hidden files) and hit Enter. After this, your files will show up again.

Question 2: How do I show hidden files?

Open Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Folder Options > View > Under Advanced Settings, select Show hidden files, folders and drives > OK.

Question 3: How do I revive my hidden file from my USB?

When your files disappear or got hidden on USB, connect it to your PC first. Then use Control Panel to enter the File Explorer Options, set to show all hidden files and folders. CMD attrib command - attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.* can also help you to view and show the hidden files. 

Besides, reliable data recovery software also enables you to clearly view and revive all missing files with ease. All the detailed steps have been listed on this page and you go back to find the best solution anytime.

If you have further questions about finding missing or hidden files on your PC, use the Search option on the EaseUS website or go to How-To directory page to find more answers. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

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"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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