General Computing
windows-10 windows-explorer dialog
Updated Wed, 13 Jul 2022 08:58:49 GMT

How do you see hidden files and folders in the open file dialog in Windows 10?

I have explorer set to view hidden files and that works fine. However, I just noticed when trying to open my hosts file that the 'etc' folder is hidden and therefore doesn't show up in the open file dialog.

Apparently the open file dialog doesn't use those explorer settings.

Is there any way to set the file open dialog so that hidden files and folders display?


See this writeup on File System Redirector.

If a 32 bit program attempts to access the System32 folder it will be invisibly redirected to the %windir%\SysWOW64 directory, to maintain compatibility between 32/64 bit applications.

The %windir%\System32 directory is reserved for 64-bit applications. Most DLL file names were not changed when 64-bit versions of the DLLs were created, so 32-bit versions of the DLLs are stored in a different directory. WOW64 hides this difference by using a file system redirector.

In most cases, whenever a 32-bit application attempts to access %windir%\System32, the access is redirected to %windir%\SysWOW64. Access to %windir%\lastgood\system32 is redirected to %windir%\lastgood\SysWOW64. Access to %windir%\regedit.exe is redirected to %windir%\SysWOW64\regedit.exe. If the access causes the system to display the UAC prompt, redirection does not occur. Instead, the 64-bit version of the requested file is launched.

To prevent this problem, either specify the SysWOW64 directory to avoid >redirection and ensure access to the 32-bit version of the file, or run the 32- > bit application with administrator privileges so the UAC prompt is not displayed. Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP: UAC is not supported. Certain subdirectories are exempt from redirection.

Access to these subdirectories is not redirected to %windir%\SysWOW64:







Comments (5)

  • +0 – Thanks for reply.Nope. I thought I had that set already. I didn't, but I set it and it doesn't change anything. — Dec 14, 2015 at 18:59  
  • +0 – Which File/Open dialog specifically (system or app-specific) is not showing the folder and/or contents? — Dec 14, 2015 at 19:23  
  • +0 – It's from an app (Notepad++), but I'm pretty sure it's a standard windows api open file dialog that's being used. — Dec 14, 2015 at 19:24  
  • +0 – 32-bit or 64-bit Notepad++? and what architecture is your Windows OS? — Dec 14, 2015 at 19:25  
  • +0 – Aaaah! I think you nailed it. I think it is related to Notepad++. I just tried the same thing from Notepad and it displayed the folder with no problems. — Dec 14, 2015 at 19:26  

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