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How to configure Windows to show file extensions and hidden files

Article ID: 26
Last updated: 06 Aug, 2015
Views: 185742

In order to avoid confusion regarding your saved files, you may want to configure Windows to show all common file extensions, such as .zip. This will help differentiate between different archives (and other files). You may also want to configure Windows to show you hidden files and folders. Both involve using the same Control Panel applet. Here are the steps:

Windows 10:

  1. Click Start and then click File Explorer
    Click Start and click File Explorer
  2. Click the View tab in File Explorer and then click the Options button (or click the drop down menu and click Change folder and search options)
    Click View and click Options
  3. Click the View tab at the top of Folder Options
    • To see file extensions, uncheck Hide extensions for known file types
    • To see hidden files and folders, select Show hidden files, folders, and drives
  4. Click OK
    Edit your Folder Options

Windows 8:

  1. On the Start menu screen start typing "Control"
  2. When you see Control Panel under Apps, click it
    Click Control Panel
  3. If you are in the Category view, click the drop down menu and choose either Large icons or Small icons
    Control Panel view may need to be changed
  4. Open Folder Options
  5. Click on the View tab at the top of the dialog box
    • To see file extensions, uncheck Hide file extensions for known file types
    • To see hidden files and folders, select Show hidden files, folders, and drives
  6. Click OK
    Edit your Folder Options

Windows 7, Vista, and XP:

  1. Click Start and open the Control Panel
  2. Windows 7: If you are in the Category view, click the drop down menu and choose either Large icons or Small icons
    Windows Vista or Windows XP: Switch to the Classic View if you are not already in this view
  3. Open Folder Options
  4. Click on the View tab at the top of the dialog box
    • To see file extensions, uncheck Hide file extensions for known file types
    • To see hidden files and folders, select Show hidden files, folders, and drives
  5. Click OK

If you have any questions, please email Technical Support.

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