How to Access Your Mac’s Hidden Files? Introduction 

Hidden Files in Folder

Your computer has backend directories, libraries, and files that help keep the operating system running smoothly. If you were to delete or move any of these files, something could go seriously wrong. It’s why we don’t recommend you play around with them unless you know what you’re doing.

Obviously, you should back up your important files just as you would back up your important documents. But what about all those other files? Well, most often, these are the files that get left behind when you upgrade your operating system. And sometimes, they can even be the culprit when you have problems with your PC. So, what exactly are these files? They’re called “backend” files and they reside in your System directory. Here is a list of some of the things that will probably be found there:

Anyway, this brief is not intended to be an exhaustive list. There are probably several dozen files and directories that fall into this category. However, these are the ones we usually tell people to watch out for. Now, let’s talk about how to examine your backend files and folders so you’ll know what’s going on with them. Go to Start | Run and then type in cmd. (You may have to click on the “Windows Explorer” link at the bottom of the box that comes up.) Next, in the folder window at the top, type in cd \system and then press Enter. Now you should see all the files in your System directory. Look at the files one by one.

Hidden Files in Folder

View Hidden Files in Finder 

View Hidden Files in Windows Explorer Show All Files Hide All Files Note: If you’re using a Mac. You can use the command-line interface (Terminal) to view hidden files. You do this by typing in defaults write com. apple.finder Create Hidden Items -Boolean true and then press  Return. Now, there’s an interesting titbit of info we left out when we discussed these files earlier.  It’s that many of them are links to other directories or files. And those other links often point to a file called “.” (The “dot” file.) What that means is that every file in your System directory has a link to the “dot” file. In fact, the “dot” file itself is a link to another directory.

In fact, the “dot” file itself is a link to another directory. Here’s what that looks like: That means that. If you delete the “.” file, all the files it points to will be deleted as well. This means, of course, that all the files those files point to will also be deleted. This can cause quite a cascade of problems. Imagine that you’ve got a file called “Pictures” in your Pictures folder. And that file has a link to the “dot” file. Well, if you delete the “.” file, that link will be broken. And so the “Pictures” file won’t be able to find the “dot” file anymore. This means that when you next try to open the “Pictures” file. Your operating system will ask you if you want to see it or not.

View Hidden Files in Terminal 

(Mac) The terminal is a command-line interface (CLI) that lets you work with your Mac from the command line just like you would if you were using the command-line interface (CLI) on a PC.  To use it, simply type in the terminal followed by the name of the program you want to run. In this case, we’re going to use Finder which is the default GUI (Graphical User Interface) Finder  window. The first thing we need to do is tell Finder to open up every single file and folder for us so we can examine them. You do this by typing in sudo -s (which gives you superuser status) followed by the Finder window command. Type in: defaults write com.

Always Show All Files -boolean true and then hit Return. Next, closeout of the terminal. Restart Finder and then you should see all your files and folders as well as any hidden files and folders.  View Hidden Files in Windows Command-Line Interface (CLI) In Windows, you can use the Command-Line Interface (CLI) to do the same thing. In this case, you’re going to use the command-line interface to get a list of all the files and folders in a directory, and then you’re going to filter out the hidden ones. Here’s how to do it: Type in cmd and then press Enter.

How to Find the Library Folder 

On Your Hard Drive (Mac) Once you’ve got the library folder open, you need to go into the  folder called “System” which is inside the “Library” folder. This folder contains a lot of very important system files. And, if they get deleted or corrupted, your Mac could become very unstable. Inside this “System” folder, you’ll find other folders like “Boot”, “etc.”, “usr”, and “var”. Inside “etc.” there is a folder called “hosts”. This is where your computer stores information. About what IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are currently assigned to your network interface cards.

In any case, what you need to do is go into the “hosts” folder and then look for any file that has an entry that looks like this:

localhost Now, what you do is copy (or write down) the line of text that has ”

localhost” in it and then you paste it right above the line of text that says “localhost”. This Means That You’ve Found Yourself a Winner! Now, go to the folder called “Users” which is inside the “Library” folder. Here you’ll find a folder called “Desktop”.

Try Using Third-Party File Manager 

Apps Instead If you don’t like the idea of using the terminal or the CLI to perform these tasks, there are other ways you can do it with a GUI (Graphical User Interface) tool like Finder or  FileZilla. You can also use Stuffit Expander or Total Commander or even OS X’s own Preview or Maps. Find a Free Domain Name and Set It Up On Your Own If you’re going to be selling anything on the Internet, you need a domain name. A domain name is like a phone number for your website.

Hide the Clutter 

On Your Desktop with These 5 Simple Tricks By default. The Mac desktop is cluttered with a bunch of icons. There’s your Trash can, your Mailboxes, your Downloads, your Movies folder, your Music folder, and so forth. All that stuff is great when you’re using your Mac. But, when

you’re just looking around to get yourself oriented, it gets in the way. Here are five simple ways to hide the clutter: Change the Background Color Of Your Desktop To White Drag your mouse  pointer over the white area in the center of the screen until you see the border around your  desktop.

Next, click and hold on the corner of the border and then drag it up or down to raise or lower the level of the desktop. Click and hold on another corner of the border and then drag it to the left or right to move the desktop to the left or right. Click inside the border to bring up the menu and then choose “View” and then “Show Desktop”. Hide All Icons Except Those In The Specific Folders You Want To Keep Set up a folder called “Hide Icons” and then put all the folders you want to keep on your desktop into that folder. Now, select that folder and click on the Edit button at the bottom of the toolbar. This will open up a dialog box that has a list of all the icons in that folder.

Hidden Items  

First, make sure the “Hidden Items” checkbox is selected. Next, click on the “+” button (the one with two arrows pointing to the right of it) and navigate to the “Users” folder. Select all the icons in this folder and then click on the “+” button again. This time navigate to the “Desktop” folder.  Select all the icons in this folder and then click on the “+” button again. Continue doing this until you’ve selected all the icons you want to keep on your desktop. Now, go back to the “Hide Icons”

folder and then select all the icons in this folder and click on the “-” button (the one with two  lines coming out of it). Now, close the Hide Icons folder and then open the one called “View”.


I hope you’ve found this brief guide useful. Again, please remember I am not a technical advisor, so take this information with a grain of salt. Also, please remember this guide was written for Mac users. So, some of the instructions may be slightly different for Windows users. In any case, I’ve tried to provide as much detail as I can to help you get up and running on this exciting  project.


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