Show Hidden Files Using attrib Command

Edited by aianne b., Charmed, Melsan, Melissa Meyer and 24 others

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There are times when certain folders or files seem to go missing but in most cases, the files or folders are simply hidden. It can happen after updates, program installations, or just randomly for no apparent reason. Regardless of the cause, this can be quite troublesome, especially if you're not sure how to make those hidden files visible again. Below we'll discuss how to show hidden folders/files using both Windows' Command Prompt and via the Control Panel for Windows 7, 8, and 10.

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Show Hidden Files Using Command Prompt on All Windows Versions

To change the drive you're on while in the command prompt, type letter of the drive plus the colon symbol then hit Enter. Example: "f": (without the quotes)

  1. 1
    From Windows Start menu, search "cmd" and click it when the results populate.
    Unhide files command prompt 01.png
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  2. 2
    Here on the Command prompt you can change the drive you wish to show hidden files or folders on
    .
    Type, "f:" (without quotes) and hit Enter.
    Unhide files command prompt 02.png
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  3. 3
    Once you're on the correct drive, type
    :
    "attrib *.* -h -s /s /d" (without quotes) and hit Enter.
    Unhide files command prompt 03.png
    Please be patient, this may take a few minutes.
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  4. 4
    When the Command Prompt returns back to the drive you selected, the operation is complete
    .
    Now you'll be able to see the files and folders that were previously hidden.
    Unhide files command prompt 04.png
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Show Hidden Files Using Control Panel Windows 7

  1. 1
    Open Windows' Start menu and click "Control Panel"
    Show hidden files win 7 01.png
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  2. 2
    From the Control Panel, click "Appearance and Personalization".
    Show hidden files win 7 02.png
    Make sure you're in "Category" view.
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  3. 3
    Inside Appearance and Personalization, click "Show hidden files and folders".
    Show hidden files win 7 03.png
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  4. 4
    On the Folder Options window, click the "View" tab
    .
    Scroll down and select the radio button next to "Show hidden files, folders, and drives", then click "Apply".
    Show hidden files win 7 04.png
    Now you'll be able to see previously hidden files and folders.
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Show Hidden Files Using Control Panel Windows 8/10

  1. 1
    From Windows' Start menu, type "control panel" into the search box and click it when it loads.
    Win10-01.png
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  2. 2
    On the Control Panel window, switch the view to "Category" and click "Appearance and Personalization".
    Win10-02.png
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  3. 3
    From Appearance and Personalization, click "Show hidden files and folders".
    Win10-03.png
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  4. 4
    From File explorer options, click the "View" tab
    .
    Click the radio button next to "Show hidden files, folders, and drives", then click "Apply".
    Win10-04.png
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Tips, Tricks & Warnings

  • After you "unhide" your files, remember to scan your computer/Laptop for viruses if you don't know how these files were hidden in the first place.
  • Make it a habit to check for hidden files. If you keep on seeing hidden files on your computer without you really doing it, it is highly possible that there is a virus. You would need then to run a strong anti-virus and do a complete computer scan in order to get rid of this.
  • Check which types of files are usually being hidden. The pattern may be able to tell you what type of virus you have in your computer.

Questions and Answers

How to unhide my files in flash drive?

My flash drive got a virus and now all files have become hidden. What can I do to restore my hidden files?

There are many ways to unhide files from a flash drive and one of them is by simply using the command prompt as stated in this article which you can easily follow following the steps provided.

Another option is through the use of "Folder Options". These are the steps to properly unhide your hidden files mostly caused by virus infection using Windows 7 operating system:

  1. 1
    Click Start.
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  2. 2
    Then click your flash drive to open (usually, the default is F:).
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  3. 3
    Inside your flash drive, click "Organize" at the top left part of the window.
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  4. 4
    Click "Folder and Search Options".
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  5. 5
    Click the "View" tab.
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  6. 6
    Tick the "Show hidden files" under the "Hidden files and folders".
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  7. 7
    Then click "Apply" and "OK".
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Your hidden files will now become visible.

Here are the steps to make the hidden files to become permanently visible:

  1. 1
    Follow the above steps.
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  2. 2
    Right-click the hidden file.
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  3. 3
    Click "Properties".
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  4. 4
    Then untick or uncheck the option "Hidden".
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  5. 5
    Then click "Apply" and "OK".
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Take note that after making your hidden files visible, thoroughly scan your flash drive for viruses using your preferred antivirus program in order to prevent the files from becoming hidden again.

See more questions like this: After scanning my USB drive with Avast antivirus, it is not showing the inside folders

How to open my hidden files and folder?

I don't remember the directory and folder name in files, pictures, or videos?

Different operating systems have specific methods of displaying hidden files and folders. If in case you forgot the directories or even the file names, that won't be a problem because you can enable display of folders you have set hidden by performing these set of actions:

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If you are using Windows XP:

  1. 1
    Click on the "Start" button that can be found right at the left lower part of the screen.
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  2. 2
    Choose "Control Panel" from the Start menu.
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  3. 3
    Click on "Appearance and Themes" from the Control Panel menu.
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  4. 4
    Go to "Tools" and click on "Folder Options".
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  5. 5
    Click the "View" tab.
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  6. 6
    Click to enable the "Show Hidden Files and Folders" option.
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  7. 7
    Click "Apply" and "OK".
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For Windows Vista, take these steps:

  1. 1
    Go to "Start" button that can be found on the bottom left part of the screen.
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  2. 2
    Click on "Control Panel".
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  3. 3
    Choose "Classic View".
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  4. 4
    Click on "Folder Options".
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  5. 5
    Go to "View" tab.
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  6. 6
    Select and check on the "Show hidden files and folders" option.
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  7. 7
    Click "Apply" and "OK".
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If you are using Windows 7, perform the following actions:

  1. 1
    Click on the "Start" button located at the lower left portion of the screen.
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  2. 2
    Go to "Control Panel".
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  3. 3
    Click on the "Category" button found on the right upper corner of the menu.
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  4. 4
    In the drop-down menu bar, choose "Small Icons".
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  5. 5
    Click on "Folder Options" from the "All Control Panel Items".
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  6. 6
    Select "View" tab and enable the "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" option.
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  7. 7
    Click on "Apply" and "OK" buttons.
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See more questions like this: How to unhide files and folders hidden by virus

My d: drive is almost full but I can't see any file on it. I've already used the tool menu to show hidden files but nothing happened?

I can't seem to show hidden files on my drive, but the drive is almost full. What can I do?

You may want to try defragmenting your drive. Sometimes, when it's too fragmented, you'll find that there's a lot of wasted space on the drive. Just keep in mind that it will take some time to do this, but it will be worth it, as you'll free up space and have a more organized drive.

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Also, check whether you have applications under drive D. In this case, even when there are no files, it will appear full because you're running applications from the drive.

Lastly, make sure you clear out any temporary files, downloaded files, or system cache files and folders. Sometimes these can be quite large, and take up much more space than you need to run your system.

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See more questions like this: My flash drive displays as empty, yet when I view the properties I can see the flash has data. How can I see this data

How to view my hidden file that I hid?

I just clicked on one of my folders and accidentally hid it. Now, when I'm trying to find my file, I can't see it in search results anymore.

You can choose to view hidden files and folders on your PC by taking the following steps:

  1. 1
    Open any folder.
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  2. 2
    Click on "Organize" button
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  3. 3
    Choose "Folder and Search Options"
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  4. 4
    Hit the "View" tab
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  5. 5
    Select "Show hidden files and folders" option
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  6. 6
    Uncheck "Hide protected operating system files"
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  7. 7
    Click "Apply" and "OK" button
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See more questions like this: The volume does not contain a recognized file system?

How to show hidden files from memory card and flash drive?

In my flash drive some files in Microsoft Office Word are shown, but the others in the form of folders are hidden. How can I show these files with the command prompt?

Just take the following steps to unhide the hidden files on your memory card and flash drive using the command prompt.

  1. 1
    Connect your flash drive or memory card to your PC.
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  2. 2
    Click Start then Type CMD into the search field and then hit enter.
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  3. 3
    On your Computer/My Computer, look for the drive letter allocated for your removable disk, i.e
    .
    Removable disk (F:).
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  4. 4
    Type F
    :
    on the Command Prompt, then hit enter.
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  5. 5
    Type in attrib -s -h -r /s /d then hit enter.
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  6. 6
    That's it
    .
    You have now successfully unhidden the hidden files on your Removable Disk (F:) using the command prompt.
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See more questions like this: Some files in memory card can't be deleted. I tried to format it, but I can't

How can I revive my hidden file from my USB?

What can I do to retrieve hidden files from my USB drive?

Please take the following actions to unhide the hidden files on your USB flash drive.

  1. 1
    Connect your flash drive to your PC.
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  2. 2
    Click the "Start" button, then on the search field, type in CMD and then hit enter.
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  3. 3
    On your Computer, look for the drive letter allocated for your USB flash drive
    .
    For example, your USB flash drive is detected as Removable Disk (F:), so it is "F".
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  4. 4
    Go back to the Command prompt and then type "F:" without the quotes, then hit enter.
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  5. 5
    Now, type-in "attrib -s -h -r /s /d" without the quotes and then enter.
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  6. 6
    That's it
    .
    You can now view the hidden files on your USB flash drive.
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You can properly retrieve or recover your hidden files from your USB by simply making your hidden files visible by following the steps provided in this wiki using the command prompt.

Another way to recover your hidden files without using the command prompt (which is much easier) is to simply unhide your hidden files using the Folder Options.

Here's how to unhide hidden files using a computer that has Windows 7 OS installed:

  1. 1
    Open any folder or click start then click computer.
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  2. 2
    On the top left part of the window, click Organize then Folder and search options.
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  3. 3
    A new small window will open then click the view tab.
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  4. 4
    In the view tab, tick or mark the "show hidden files" option then click Apply and OK.
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  5. 5
    Your USB will now show you all the hidden files stored which you can now retrieve easily.
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For your reference, please watch this video on how to unhide hidden files using the Folder Options:

http://screencast.com/t/4ByU0nuVt

See more questions like this: How can I delete a virus on my USB when I can't see my files

Can you explain the attrib -s -h -r /s /d line. Exactly what are these attributes doing?

Hi, please explain why these files will be hidden all the time. What exactly is the problem? Is it related to the pen drive or I have a problem with my laptop. I know that attrib line is doing something related to the attributes of the files. Can you explain to me what exactly it is doing? Also, these files will open in Linux, why not on Windows? All the Windows file format I can open in Fedora, but Fedora files I can't open in Windows, why? I think I have asked many questions at once hope you will have the patience to explain each. Thank You.

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Hi sure I can explain what each attribute switch does:

  1. 1
    -s 
    :
    Remove System File Attribute. The operating system will no longer hide this file as a system file. Be careful not to delete system files. They are there for a reason. You can omit this flag if the file is not hidden as a system file.
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  2. 2
    -h 
    :
    Remove Hidden File Attribute. After removing the hidden attribute the file will become visible in most cases (unless it is marked as system for example.)
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  3. 3
    -r 
    :
    Remove Read Only Flag. If the files this command runs on were read only, they will now become writable. This may or may not be desirable depending on what you are trying to do. Typically your data files will not be read only so that is why it is included in the above command.
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  4. 4
    /s 
    :
    Apply the above attribute modifications to all files in this folder and all subfolders.
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  5. 5
    /d 
    :
    Apply the above attribute modifications to the folders themselves too. Sometimes people will hide a folder and then any files inside will not be visible. This will make all the folders and subfolders visible.
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See more questions like this: Is this correct attrib -s -h -r /d /s E: *.*

How to unhide folders on a USB stick after a virus infection turning them into screensaver extension?

What a surprise to see the chat. Yesterday, I had a virus infection on USB. I managed to remove using Malwarebytes, Avast, and Norton, on USB (D: drive). Today, I would like to recover the lost files and folders unhiding them on Windows 7.

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VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

See more questions like this: How to remove unhide virus? is there any way to prevent this problem, thanks?

I get the message invalid switch /b but I cannot find the files, what is the problem?

What does the message of an invalid switch /b mean? Am I doing something wrong?

The correct switch is actually /d. You are seeing this message because the system does not understand what /b means. Please use /d instead, and you'll be able to get your hidden files restored so that you're able to view and access them normally going forward.

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How do I view files inexplicably hidden on an external hard drive in Windows 8.1?

One antivirus hid the content of my external hard drive. Now, I would be obliged if you can help me with this issue, thanks. I'm looking for an idea. I do not know what to do to solve this issue

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Failing to show hidden folders?

I have tried unhiding the folders but it is giving access denied, and when I try to change through control panel it doesn't do, it keeps reverting back to don't show hidden files

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How can I remove a virus from my laptop?

I have a virus on my laptop. What can I do about it?

To remove a virus on your laptop, you'll need to have some form of antivirus program installed. The top five paid choices for 2014, according to PC Mag, are:

  • Webroot AntiVirus
  • Norton AntiVirus
  • Kaspersky AntiVirus
  • Bitdefender AntiVirus
  • F-Secure AntiVirus

If you don't have an antivirus program installed, you'll need to try and figure out which virus you have by writing down any of the messages it displays and then searching the internet to figure out what it is, and how you can remove it. This is best done by completely disconnecting the infected computer from the internet, switching off any wireless and Bluetooth connections, and then using another system to search for removal techniques.

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Once you figure out the virus you have, and how to remove it, you'll want to start in Safe Mode (Windows) and begin the removal process from there. However, it's important to note that some malicious programs, virus applications, and malware can be deeply embedded, and prevent you from easily locating them. Often in such cases, it's easier just to back up your data and reinstall your operating system.

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If you're on a budget, you can use free antivirus and malware programs, that do not require you to pay for them when used for personal use. Two of the best are:

  • Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
  • AVG AntiVirus Free

They aren't aways as good as paid versions, but they are solid enough that you won't be completely exposed to malware and computer viruses. In fact, many people only use free antivirus programs, with some experts even claiming that they are close enough to have no significant differences when used for personal use.

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I cannot see any item on my desktop?

My desktop is hidden, I cannot see anything on it except if I open a folder then click desktop

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Hi, I am using an Android mobile. The 8GB SD card on mobile is almost occupied with almost 7.5GB. However, I don't see all the folders which make it up to 7.5GB?

This SD card when inserted to my mobile via USB card reader does not show all the files which comprise of nearly 7.5 GB. I feel that there are hidden files and folders on this card and I want to find out what these files are, whether important to me or not, so that I can manage the space on my SD card. Any help would be much appreciated. I have even tried the organize folder option > Show hidden files option. Still no go.

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Hello sir, I just bought a laptop last 2 weeks and every time I open my laptop it always shows activate your Windows license it will expire soon. What does this mean? What is this all about?

About Windows OS system license expiry date? How do I know if the Windows OS I used is original or not? I check the activation in setting and it is activated, I wonder why the computer shows a message like such, please help me understand thank you.

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How do I turn off my computer? I've done this before but I forgot?

I can't find the button. I've done this before but I can't remember. It's not in the article.

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Can you please tell me how to fix my flashdisk? The files in my flash disk can't be read in another notebook?

Four days ago I transferred my old notebook data into my flashdisk.. but when I plug the flash disk on another notebook. my data didn't show up. . when I check the properties, it still contains a lot of data. please help me, all my important data is on the flashdisk. I have tried many suggestions on Google but still doesn't work out. I think the different is some of my data still there and accessible, but most of them don't even show up. I have tried: I tried many solutions given on Google, I used CMD, installing antiviruses, file recovery software, etc. I think it was caused by: I think it's because I copied Advanced System Care program folder from C drive on my old notebook directly into the flashdisk

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Hi aien20. I tried the tips on how to recover hidden files using cmd but it does not work on my files. hope you can help me asap.

Below I pasted the result of my cmd:. . . Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]. Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.. . C:\Users\User>ATTRIB *.* -H -R -S /S /D. Access denied - C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Recovery. \High\Active. Access denied - C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Recovery. \High\Last Active. Access denied - C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Temp\CR_AF100.tmp. The target of the symbolic link C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Temp\etilqs_f731jzUG. XV7CViu does not exist. Access denied - C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Temp\sp2675.tmp. Access denied - C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\ElevatedDiagnostics. The hidden files still has not being recovered successfully.

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