How to Find a Hidden Folder | Windows Search Alternative Tools for Windows 10

Date of publication of the material 17.10.2019 Article views 154 Number of likes to article 0 Number of Comments

The computer (as well as mobile gadgets) have long become not just electronic devices used to implement computing functionality, but devices that users trust in their lives.

To look into someone else’s smartphone or the screen of someone else’s computer without permission is considered by many (and quite justifiably) as a violation of the inviolability of private / personal life.

Given the importance, and sometimes the compromising nature, many users protect the data stored on the computer with a password or hide it by all available means from unauthorized access.

This article will focus on the functionality of hiding files and folders from prying eyes, as well as what elements in the operating system are hidden from users and how to search for objects that are "invisible".

Why is Windows hiding Files and Folders?

If everything is very clear with the desire of users to hide their personal information, then with the reasons for hiding directories from the user on the part of the Windows operating system itself, it is somewhat more complicated, and some users ask themselves: “Why and why?”.

It is not a secret that in the structure of the Windows operating system there are a huge number of files and folders that are not intended for the eyes of an ordinary user, since their thoughtless changes can lead to the loss of the regular operation of Windows.

Therefore, by hiding system components, Windows tries to protect itself by automatically protecting the integrity and accessibility of user files.

How to Search for Hidden Items?

So we come to the main issue of this article.

But it’s worth noting right away that all the actions outlined below are aimed at obtaining legitimate access to hidden information, and each user accepts and bears responsibility for the implementation of recommendations in an illegal manner and is solely for himself.

Among all the possible search options, two should be distinguished, one of which is carried out using the standard tools of the operating system, and the second, using third-party software.

Search Function in Windows:

  • Open Explorer and go to the View tab;
  • Pay attention to the section “Show or hide” and expand it;
  • Check the boxes in the line "File name extensions" and in the line "Hidden items";

    Pay attention to section: Show or hide, check boxes: File name extensions

    It is worth noting here that the external difference between a hidden folder and an “open” folder is that the former has a slightly more transparent look, which immediately catches your eye in comparison with ordinary elements.

    Difference between standard and hidden folder in Windows

  • Without closing the explorer, place the cursor in the “Search” line (on the right side of the window, marked with a “magnifying glass” icon); After placing the cursor, the advanced search functionality will become active, where you can select additional criteria, since: “Type”, “Size”, “Date of change”. As an example, the search will be conducted by the type of “Folder”, with the time change “This week”.
  • Enter the name of the item you are looking for and press the Enter key.

    Enter name of the item you are looking for

Wait until the search is completed, given that when you open the explorer, the search will be carried out in all sections, which can take quite a long time.

If you know (at least presumably) the location of the desired item, open this section and enter a search query, this will reduce the search circle.

It should be borne in mind that a search query can consist not only of the name of an element, but also, for example, of its extension (docx, html, png, jpeg, etc.).

Windows Search Alternative Tools

There are many utilities that offer the functionality in question, but a small program called “Everything”, which is distributed not only on a free basis with a portable version, has shown itself to be particularly profitable.

The utility is available for download on the official website of developers - https://www.voidtools.com/en-us/

The functionality of the program is limited to search, which can be called a plus, since the interface is as simple as possible and looks like an Explorer.

To search for a hidden element using the Everything program, you only need to do the following:

  • Run the utility with administrator rights, pre-installing it on a computer, or using the portable version;
  • Click on the “Search” tab and select “Advanced Search”;

    Software - Everything: open Search and click on Advanced Search

  • A large list of parameters will open that allows you to fine-tune the search query, fill in all the data of the element you are looking for, and click on the OK button;

    Advanced Search:  fill in all the data of the element you are looking for, and click on the OK button

    Advanced Search:  set type, Extension and other Attributes for search

  • After closing the window, a filter with the search results will be automatically applied, it remains only to find the desired item from the presented list.

    Search result for hidden files or folders

Everything is as simple and fast as possible.


As you can see, to solve the question posed in the framework of this article, only a few actions are required, the exception is only those cases in which there is no specific information about the element of interest.

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