Microsoft small business knowledge base

Article ID: 302347 - Last Review: October 27, 2002 - Revision: 1.1

This article was previously published under Q302347

On This Page


The Search companion in Windows XP searches for hidden and system files differently than in earlier versions of Windows. This article describes how to search for hidden or system files in Windows XP.

Search for Hidden or System Files

By default, the Search companion does not search for hidden or system files. Because of this, you may be unable to find files, even though they exist on the drive.

To search for hidden or system files in Windows XP:
  1. Click Start, click Search, click All files and folders, and then click More advanced options.
  2. Click to select the Search system folders and Search hidden files and folders check boxes.
NOTE: You do not need to configure your computer to show hidden files in the Folder Options dialog box in Windows Explorer to find files with either the hidden or system attributes, but you need to configure your computer not to hide protected operating system files to find files with both the hidden and system attributes. Search Companion shares the Hide protected operating system files option (which hides files with both the system and hidden attributes) with the Folder Options dialog box Windows Explorer.

  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
kbhowto kbhowtomaster KB302347
Additional support options
Ask The Microsoft Small Business Support Community
Contact Microsoft Small Business Support
Find Microsoft Small Business Support Certified Partner
Find a Microsoft Store For In-Person Small Business Support