Just like every other Windows version, Windows Vista likes to hide files. When you are interested in tweaking and customizing your computer, hidden files can become annoying. (Many of the system files with which you want to work are often hidden.) The following two sections show you how to make Windows Vista display all hidden and system files as well as the super hidden files.
When tweaking your computer, you often need to edit different configuration files for different applications. This can cause a problem because those configuration files are often hidden. The only way to edit them would be if you knew the exact filename and typed it in the Browse box. Otherwise, you would be out of luck.
Telling Explorer to show hidden files and folders is the only solution to this problem. Making Explorer show hidden files is just a matter of getting to the right place. Follow these steps to show all hidden files:
Open a copy of Explorer by clicking the Start button and selecting Computer.
Click Organize and select Folder & Search Options.
When the window appears, click the View tab to see all the different file display options.
Under the Advanced Settings section, scroll down the list until you see the entries for Hidden Files and Folders. Select Show Hidden Files and Folders, as shown in Figure 5-10.
Figure 5-10: Revealing hidden files
While you are on the Folder Options advanced settings list of features, I recommend clearing the Hide extension for known file types box. This is always one of the first things I do right after installing Windows Vista.
When you are finished, just click OK to save your changes and exit the configuration window.
You should now see all the files on your computer that are hidden. However, you may notice that some files are still not showing up. These are the system files. To show these files, continue to the next section.
Microsoft has added many features to Windows Vista to protect the critical files of the operating system. The new super hidden files feature allows Windows to protect itself even further by hiding some of its most critical files from users. If they can't get to it, they can't hurt it, right?
Revealing the super hidden system files is not very difficult. You can uncheck the box on the list on the View tab of Folder Options that says Hide protected system files, but where is the fun in that? Use the Registry Editor to turn this feature off:
Click the Start button, type regedit in the Search box, and then press Enter.
After the Registry Editor appears, navigate through HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer and Advanced.
Right-click ShowSuperHidden and select Modify.
Change the value to 1 and click OK to save your changes.
Now you will be able to see all the files on your computer, including the super hidden system files.