- Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista
When attempting to show hidden files in the Windows Folder Options settings window, the bivariate “So not show hidden files and folders” / “Show hidden files and folders” radio buttons do not have a pre-selected value.
No matter which of the options you chose your system will not display hidden files through Windows Explorer, and will not save the “Show hidden files and folders” setting.
This is invariably caused by a virus infection or spyware such as (but by no means exclusive to) W32/DKR.worm.
You need to ensure that you have fully disinfected your system using AntiVirus and AntiSpyware software before making the changes to restore the functionality of the Folder Options applet. Otherwise you are frankly wasting your time by troubleshooting the problem.
Step 1: Why does it do it?
The virus will have modified the default property value of the registry flag responsible for specifying your preference. While Windows Explorer expects to be able to set a DWORD type for the value, the Virus will have changed the registry type to a Reg_SZ, meaning that the system is unable to read to or write to the value – hence you are unable to save your preference change after you have removed the virus from your system.
Note: If you have not removed the virus from your system then there is good reason to believe that the virus itself is preventing you from making any such that so as to prevent its own demise.
Open regedit and navigate to:
Delete the REG_SZ named Hidden, you do not need to manually recreate the DWORD. Don’t celebrate yet, follow step 2 BEFORE you succumb to the spleen bursting need that you now have to view your hidden files. Otherwise you will be doing step 1 again.
Step 2: Repairing the Explorer Default Flag Associations
The virus really did not want you to view hidden files on the PC, so in addition to preventing you from changing the setting, it also ensured that should you attempt to fix the problem, Explorer would simply break the setting itself – thus ensuring that there is no way that Windows Explorer is going to show you hidden files.
Note the presence of the REG_SZ Checked value, this should be a DWORD value. Its job is to tell the Explorer form what to do when someone selects the Show hidden files and folders option, and currently it is being told to write a string value, not a DWORD.
Delete the CheckedValue REG_SZ, create a similarly named DWORD and set its value to equal 1 as shown in the image below.
You can now view your hidden files and folders.