4 Ways to Show Hidden Files Using CMD, Control Panel and Software

When files and folders get hidden on a USB flash drive, external disk, and computer hard drive due to the careless operation or virus infection, virtually you have 4 options. You can show hidden files using cmd - Command Prompt, third-party tool, Windows control panel, and data recovery software. Follow the guide to show hidden files.

Table of Contents

Page Content: How to Show Hidden Files in 4 Ways

When your files are missing from your USB drive or hard drive, you may wonder "Is there a command on the Windows command-line that can list hidden folders?" Yes, there is a command to show hidden files. Besides, there are some other practical ways to unhide hidden files. The following table shows the outlines, go to check the details.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Show hidden files CMD Press Windows + X keys and select Command Prompt as an Administrator. Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.*...Full steps
Fix 2. Run third-party software Start EaseUS Tools M, choose "File Showing" on the left pane. Next, choose the target drive...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 4. 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 the 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. 

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

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.

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). 

Open Command Prompt as Administrator.

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.

Method 2. Run CMD Alternative to Show Hidden Files

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 3. 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.

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

show hidden files using control panel

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 4. Show/Recover Hidden Files with 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 users 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

What Is the Best Way to Show Hidden Files

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 CMD Alternative Control Panel Settings Data Recovery Software
Situations Unhide files from virus or false operations Unhide files with simple steps Show hidden files from Windows File Explorer Revive hidden files from virus or permission issues
Devices Windows hard drive, USB, SD, external hard drive, etc. Windows hard drive, USB, SD, external hard drive, etc. Windows hard drive and partitions Windows hard drive, USB, SD, external hard drive, etc.
OS Windows only Windows only Windows and Windows Server OS Windows, Windows Server OS, and macOS

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.

Notice:
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.

Bottom Line

This page includes four 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: Why my hidden files are not showing?

If the Hidden files settings are no longer available after a scan, you only need to perform a reboot, after which they will be available once 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: Which command is used to display hidden files?

CMD attrib command - attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.* is used to 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 the How-To directory page to find more answers. 

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy has been working as a technical writer for eight years. She specializes in making the complicated easy. She believes that technology should bring users satisfaction, not annoyance, so she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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