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

  1. James says:

    Hate it when the dissadents don’t claenup after themselves, namely ‘Wallstreeters’, but in this case what about this tip deserves a ‘thumbs down’, sure would be nice to know.

    Good tip,

  2. faye shelby says:

    When I ran it, everything came up access denied

  3. Greg says:

    Same here … everything came up as “Access Denied – …”

  4. Hasan says:

    This helped me fix a few computers and USB disks! Appreciate it so mcuh :)

  5. Sajad says:

    I have tried several time, but it is still showing “Access denied”

  6. J Loux says:

    Says ‘aatrib’ not a recognized command

  7. ayaks says:

    what dose it mean -F:\*.* file not found?

  8. Michael S says:

    For those of you that can’t get this trick to work, try running an elevated cmd prompt.

    Click the “start” button, and in the search field, type “cmd”(without “”)
    when the command prompt shows in the search results, right click and select “Run as Administrator”

    This may help with the access denied issues

  9. Ritesh says:

    it says access denied.

  10. BG says:

    Thanks m8. Gr8 stuff. Worked like clockwork. On first attempt. Much much appreciated. *Standing Ovation*

  11. Duncan says:

    thanks a lot but while i tried that out using windows xp, an error message was displayed that ” Invalid switch – /s/d”
    any help reply to

  12. Emmanuel says:

    It keeps saying access denied.

  13. jmax says:

    Results on every attempts appears as “access denied” and is of no avail to me at all. Is there any steps that I’m skipping?

  14. Marc Ladao says:

    Doesn’t work at all.. Access Denied any suggestions?

  15. benx says:

    it worked thankz

  16. MANOJ says:

    It worked even after showing access denied

  17. mahesh says:

    It say Access Denied

  18. yclif says:

    It works… all you need is to know path where your device is… for instance if your flash disk is located on F:/… the you have to change your path form c:/ to F:/… Thanks a lot

  19. Erickson says:

    it is a reliable source.

    itz working.

    thanks a lot.

  20. steven mcclain says:

    if you are gettin access denied then find the command prompt in the system tools on the start menu and right click then select run as administrator and that should help

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