By default, Windows does not display hidden files and folders. Virus writers often take advantage of this, by dropping hidden files to the system that the casual user can't see. Though the default isn't technically a rootkit
, for the inexperienced computer user it can have the same effect. Here's how to change the default settings in Windows so you can view hidden files and folders.
Time Required: 5 minutes
- Windows XP, 2000 users: To begin, double-click the My Computer icon on the desktop, then skip to Step 4.
- Windows Vista users: Click Start, then Control Panel. Click "Appearance and Personalization" then click the Folder Options icon and skip to Step 5.
- Windows ME, NT, 98, and 95 users: To begin, double-click the My Computer icon on the desktop, then skip to Step 6.
- Windows 2000 and XP users: Click Tools | Folder Options | View then skip to Step 7.
- Windows Vista: Click View then skip to Step 7.
- Windows ME/95/98/NT: Click View | Options | View
- Under Hidden files and folders, select "Show hidden files and folders"
- Now close the dialog boxes you have opened to perform this task. You should now be able to view hidden files and folders on the system. Note that this change may cause the hidden (and legitimate) file 'desktop.ini' to appear on the desktop.