How to show protected operating system files in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012

The other day I was working with an application within Windows Server 2012 and I needed to view content of a folder that was hidden as a protected operating system folder.  So first off one of the things that you will notice is that Windows Explorer has been renamed to File Explorer.  The drop down menu bar to in previous versions has been replaced with a new ribbon based user interface.  The ribbon bar is hidden by default, to display the ribbon bar click on the View button.

It is pretty obvious from the ribbon bar how to unhide files of show file extensions.  Just check the appropriate box, but to placing a check box in Hidden Files does not show protected operating system files.

To unhide the protected operating system files follow the following steps:

  1. Click on Options.
  2. Click on Change folder and search options.
  3. On the Folder Options screen, click the View tab
  4. Scroll down and remove the check box from Hide protected operating system files (Recommended).

The protected operating system files are now exposed.  Just remember once you have completed the task that required you to unhide them you should repeat the steps above to hide them.  Until next time, RIDE SAFE!

Rick Trader
Windows Server Instructor – Interface Technical Training
Phoenix, AZ

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