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Using the Command Prompt to Reveal Hidden Files

Monday, November 7th, 2011 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management, Security Help

Some viruses leave behind nasty side effects, even when your antivirus program has cleaned the actual virus from your computer. If your desktop icons are missing and your C: drive appears blank, don’t panic — your files haven’t gone permanently AWOL. Common viruses, such as the Windows 7 Recovery virus, will hide your files in an attempt to coerce you into paying for the virus’s removal. When you view your desktop or click on your C: drive, it may appear that all of your files have been deleted, but they haven’t — the virus has simply hidden them. You can restore them easily using a simple command prompt trick that works in Windows XP, Vista and 7.

Click the Start button in the lower left corner of your task bar. Type cmd in the search box at the bottom of the menu and press Enter. If you’re using Windows XP, click Run and type cmd into the Run box.

You will see this screen:

Command prompt

Type attrib -s -h -r c:/*.* /s /d and press Enter to execute the command. The command prompt window should look like this after you’ve typed the command:

Command prompt after entering the command

Allow the command to finish executing (it may take a few minutes). When it’s done, close the command prompt window and check your desktop — your files, hidden by the virus, have been restored. You can use the same trick to restore files the virus may have hidden on other drives, including removable storage such as flash drives and external hard drives; just change the drive letter in the command above to the drive letter of the storage device with the hidden files.

~Jacqui Frye

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64 Responses to “Using the Command Prompt to Reveal Hidden Files”

  1. jhusper says:

    Thank you very much! It is very helpful because it recovered my files.

  2. rsamin says:

    God bless u, thanks a lot.
    Pls, how to open software/files which is already burned as image format, by using cmd, for instance (Ashampo Burning Studio has the ability to burn items/software on its image format therefore, the image will not open itself if you click on it, until you install Ashampo (ABS) to support image open/run properly), therefore, cmd can open any format of burning? such as Ashampo format, Nero format. If yes, how do we do?

  3. Emmanuel Afreh says:

    I had the same problem and I tried the cmd-attrib command.
    However, it says “Access Denied” for all the files.
    my windows partition isn’t showing its files so it shows “boot manager missing” anytime I try to boot from HDD

    I am now trying to recover them by making my HDD and external drive but it says, “access denied” please, help!

  4. shubhankar says:

    I had hidden a file with cmd prompt long time age and now I don’t know the exact file location. Only i know is the file name. So how can I now access the that file???
    pls help me..

  5. R S says:

    the command worked great , disabled all my hidden files in the SD Card

  6. R S says:

    Opps , enabled :)

  7. Fali says:

    i’m doing attrib comand. but the process showing “access denied”
    nothing happened to that folder. the file still hide

  8. goutham says:

    dude thank u so much for suggestion. it worked.

  9. Akhlaq says:

    Nice Effort Thanks…

  10. Amit says:

    Thanks a lot.
    Good job. God bless you. really superb

  11. Abdul Samadh says:

    Fine irecover my Hidden Files Thank you

  12. reza says:

    thank you for your help but how can I rehide my secure files?

  13. Dave says:

    I ran the cmd prompt and got “access denied” for all files ..

    My Outlook has stopped working and tells me that my default files are not accessible. I also cannot back up my system thru windows back up as I get the message “task file is corrupt. Can anyone help?

  14. Michael Shyman says:

    In many of your articles, such as this one, you fail to mention Win 10. Even if the tip won’t work in Win 10 you can tell us that. I often want to try your tip in Win 10 but am hesitant to try if you haven’t mentioned it.
    Thanks for all the great tips through the years!

  15. Thulani Madlala says:

    I seriously need help. I copied file to my laptop hard drive, i used the file on the same computer for few days and disconnect my drive after some time i connected it again and i saw my file that i copied to my drive disappear. When im scanning my hard drive on my computer it showing that the files are somewhere around my computer and the space of my computer is significantly low. From 500 gb im left with 170 gb free and calculating the stuff i got on my laptop it doesnt add up to that space taken. Please people help me.

  16. jett says:

    it didnt work

  17. Forrest Mills says:

    The /D switch is only valid with the /S switch.

    what does this mean is it because I’m using windows 10

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