By default, hidden files are not viewable in Windows XP. Hidden files are usually hidden because they're important, and thus harder to move around or delete if you can't normally view them.
Sometimes, however, you may need Windows XP to show the hidden files and folders on your computer.
If you need access to files under a hidden folder, you'll need to be able to view that hidden folder. You may also need to view a hidden file so you're able to delete it, in the case of a particular problem you might be having.
Regardless of the reason, configuring Windows XP to show hidden files and folders is really easy.
Time Required: Configuring Windows XP to show hidden files and folders usually takes less than 5 minutes
Open My Computer.
From the Tools menu, choose Folder Options....
Click on the View tab in the Folder Options window.
In the Advanced settings: text area, locate the Hidden files and folders category.
Note: The Hidden files and folders category should be viewable at the bottom of the Advanced settings: text area without scrolling down. You'll see two options under the folder.
Choose the Show hidden files and folders radio button under the Hidden files and folders category.
Click OK at the bottom of the Folder Options window.
You should now be able to view all files and folders with the hidden attribute turned on.
You can test to see if hidden files are being displayed by navigating to the C:\Windows folder. If you see a number of folders beginning with $NtUninstallKB, then you are now able to view hidden files and folders.
Note: These $NtUninstallKB folders contain information needed to uninstall updates you've received from Microsoft. While unlikely, it's possible you might not see these folders but may still be configured correctly to view hidden folders and files. This might be the case if you've never installed any updates to your operating system.
If you no longer want to see them, you can always hide hidden files in Windows XP.
Not a Windows XP user? See How Do I Show Hidden Files and Folders in Windows? for specific instructions for your version of Windows.