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FAQ: How do I display all files and file extensions in Windows?


By default Windows will not display all files on your computer in the Windows Explorer. You may wish to see exactly what is stored on your computer and it is very important that you can see everything when cleaning viruses or checking for unusual files etc. You should be careful about deleting files with these options below used as you can cause your system to stop functioning if you delete essential system files. If in doubt contact your local computer officer or email the Service Desk.

To make all files always appear in Windows 7 & 8:

  1. Open Computer (or any folder window)
  2. Choose Organize > Folder and Search Options
  3. Click on the View tab
  4. Ensure Show hidden files, folders and drives is enabled and untick Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)
  5. Click Yes on the warning window
  6. Click on OK to close the dialogue box

To make all files always appear in Windows 10:

  1. Open This PC (or any folder window)
  2. Click on the View tab
  3. In the Show/hide secton, tick Hidden items
  4. Select Options > Change folder and search options
  5. Click on the View tab
  6. Untick Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)
  7. Click Yes on the Warning window
  8. Click on OK to close the dialogue box

To make folder extensons appear in Windows 10:

  1. Repeat steps 1 to 5 above
  2. Tick the File name extensions box


Last updated: July 2016

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