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Reset System and Hidden Attributes for Files or Folders

Caused by Virus
Updated by Raymond - 5 months ago - Software

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Different viruses cause different types of damage on your computer. Most of the
time, the viruses are programmed to disable Windows Task Manager, Regedit,
Command Prompt, folder options and etc. These restrictions are meant to prevent a
normal computer user from using these built-in Windows diagnostic tools such as
MSCONFIG to disable the virus from starting up on your computer.
There are some viruses that will cause destruction such as encrypting recently used
files so you are forced to buy the decryption key from the virus programmer. Then
theres another type of virus such as BDS.Mirc.Backdoor that will hide your document
files by setting the hidden and system attributes to the file. You can still see the files
if you set to show hidden files and folders plus disabling hide operating system files.
Another trick is to use Google Chrome or Opera to reveal the hidden files. If the virus
is capable of restricting Folder Options, chances are you think that your files have
been wiped out by the virus but in fact they have just been hidden in your system.

Theres still hope if you think that your files are gone because of a virus. Heres how
to check if the files are still around, and if they are, you can reset the attributes of
the files to view them normally in Windows Explorer again.
How to show hidden files and folders or system files
1. Go to Control Panel and open Folder Options.
2. Go to the View tab and select Show hidden files and folders. Then uncheck
Hide protected operating system files. Do take note that some viruses that
are still active on the computer will revert the changes that you made. So make sure
your computer is clean from viruses first by scanning with an antivirus program.

3. Try to look for your missing files in your hard drive. There is a tool called Randoms
System Information Tool is able to help you find files or folders created or modified in
the last 1 to 3 months.
4. If you managed to locate your files which is hidden but visible because youve
configured in Folder Options to show, then youll need to unhide the hidden file. Here
are 4 methods to reset the system and hidden attributes.
Unhide using the attrib command

This is the old school method of doing it without using any software. Just run
command prompt (Start > Run > CMD for XP, or for Vista and 7 Start -> type CMD in
search box, right click and run as Admin), type the following command:
attrib -H -S C:\path\to\your\file.doc /S /D
You can also use the asterisk character to define multiple extensions. For example:
attrib -H -S C:\raymond\*.* /S /D
This would remove the Hidden and System attribute of all files in the raymond folder
on the C drive. The /S and /D arguments are optional. /S will recurse down into all
sub folders and /D will unhide the folders themselves if they have the System or
Hidden attribute set.
Just to point out, its probably not the best idea to use something like C:\*.* as this
will unhide the whole drive including files which Windows has set as hidden or
system by design.
Unhide using iReset

This is a portable tool to reset your system or hidden files and folders so you can
view or access them normally. You will need to drag and drop your files or folders into
the cross sign and then click the reset button. This tool is free for personal use but if
you want to use it for business purposes, then youll have to license the application.
Unhide using Attribute Changer

If a file has a hidden attribute, you can easily remove it by right clicking the file, go
to Properties, and uncheck the Hidden checkbox. But if it also has system attribute,
then the Hidden checkbox will be grayed out and you cant change that. With
Attribute Changer, you can now change all kind of file and folder attributes from the
same area.
To use it, install the program and then right click on the files or folders and
select Change Attribues from the context menu. Then use the Folder
Properties and File Properties tabs to clear the System and Hidden check boxes and
How to view and unhide from a single program
Lastly, here is a tool that can do both of the above and show you what files are
hidden and also allow the changing of several file and folder attributes at once. That
program is called Free Commander and is a very popular and portable file

The good thing here is Hidden and System files are show by default in the program
and are easily identified by being a light shade of grey. You can then batch unhide
the files and / or folders by simply multi selecting them with Shift, Ctrl or click and
drag. Then press Shift+Enter to bring up the Attributes / Timestamp window.

Tick the box to allow the attributes to be edited, then make sure both Hidden and
System are unticked then press OK. Your files and folders will now be visible again!
You can also alter the timestamps and also include sub folder contents attributes to
be changed.
Free Commander is a great tool to have around anyway even if you dont want to use
it for this purpose. There are also other file manager or commander type programs
that can do a similar job. Have a look at our article on 6 Free File Managers for
Quicker File Operations
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