Showing .htaccess and other "hidden" files in Windows Explorer

Last revision February 10, 2010

Access Control Table of Contents:
  1. Introduction
  2. By SUNet ID
  3. By Computer
  4. By Local Password
  5. By Computer and Password
  6. By Computer or Password

You use the Windows Explorer program on Windows computers to view web folders served by pangea if you have mapped them as network drives from This program opens when you double-click on My Computer.

Files whose name begins with a dot (.) character, such as .htaccess files, plus certain system files, are considered to be "hidden" files by Windows and not normally shown to users.

Windows Explorer has many options for controlling how the contents of a folder will be displayed. One of those options forces "hidden" files to be shown.

Windows Explorer viewing options are normally set on a per user and per folder basis. Each user can also define default options that apply to all folders. Viewing options set for a folder are generally remembered and used again the next time you look at that folder.

To show hidden files, such as the .htaccess file you are creating in your personal web space on the server, first navigate to that folder in Windows Explorer. For example, I have mounted my home share from on drive Z: and opened the WWW folder on that drive (my personal web space served by pangea) in Windows Explorer. It looks like this screenshot:

From the Tools menu, select the Folder Options... item, as shown in this screenshot:

In the Folder Options window that opens, click on the View tab on the top, and then look in the Advanced settings: section of the window (you may need to scroll down) for the heading Hidden files and folders. The option Do not show hidden files and folders is normally selected by default. You need to select the alternative option Show hidden files and folders as shown in this screenshot:

You can then click the OK button to apply this setting to only this one folder, or you can click the Apply to All Folders button at the top of the window to make this your new default setting.

Comments or Questions?