Why won't hidden files unhide?

I have recently been working on a standalone w2k machine...Numerous problems mean that the best solution is to format and reinstall everything..My problem is that I need to recover some files from hidden folders in the user's profile...I have gone through the usual steps to unhide files and folders (and show protected operating system files for good measure) but nothing happens...no error messages or warnings appear...Is there a registry setting that will allow me to show hidden files/folders...I have tried using attrib *.* -h from a DOS window but again nothing happens when I look in the profile...
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Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperCommented:
IF the user deleted the files, then you would not be able to load the profile without errors.
So that is not the case.

Do as I suggested about logging in as a different <UserName> and then unhiden the files.
Then browser the <Users> Profile (Will have to have administrative rights).
You should be able to gather the information that is needed this way.

Good Luck Tony.
Steve KnightIT ConsultancyCommented:
What makes you think there are hidden files in the directory. You should be able to unhide the from explorer but you could try this from aa command prompt:

cd \documents and settings\whatever
attrib -s -h *.* /s /d  

to unhide and unsystem all files in all subdirs and include unhiding directories too.

Could it be NTFS permissions too?  Try changing the permissions at a level higher up to include your user then click into Advanced and "reset permissions on all child objects".

tony_howes47Author Commented:
What I am after specifically are the .dbx files from the outlook express indentities folder...to get at these I need to make the local settings folder within the users profile in documents and settings visible....unfortunately none of the usual methods are working...I have a ghost image of the hdd made a few months ago that I can use to get at least some of the info back but wouild rather have the up to date files...
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You're using explorer to navigate to those files are you?
I mean, you're not using "Search" function? Search works differently from explorer, even if explorer is already showing hidden files, "Search" still would not look for hidden files unless it is configure to do so. Just wondering if that's what happened.
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperCommented:
[Quote]"Search" still would not look for hidden files unless it is configure to do so[/Quote]

I am sorry, but you are incorrect here.

If you have [Show hidden files and folders] checked.
And do a search for say: *.dbx
It will find them all. No special settings are needed to do this. If you are having to do something special
In order to do a search for Hidden files then there is a program?

Log off from your User.
And log on as another User [Administrator]
If you do not have another User, Create one through [Control Panel | Users and Passwords]
once you logon with the new user.
Open up My Computer
Go to the Menu and choose:  Tools | Folder Options |
Click on the [View] Tab. Then add a check to all the following area's:

[x]Display the full path in the address bar (This way you know where you are at)
[x]Display the full path in the title bar (Same as above)
     [x]Show Hidden files and folders
Hit [Apply] then [OK]

From the user that you are logged in as go to:
C:\Documents and Settings\<Other User>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{Extreme long set of Numbers and letters}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

Backup the Entire Folder.

For more information on Backup, please view the following Thread:

Good Luck
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperCommented:
Try something for me please.

In your addressbar (of Explorer not IE) put this in. (Replace <UserName> with your Username

C:\Documents and Settings\<UserName>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities
Then hit [Enter] And see what it shows you?

tony_howes47Author Commented:
Thanks for all of the suggestions....I've tried most already, going through folder options etc. and using attrib at a Dos prompt, nothing however becomes visible..carrzkiss's Explorer tip is the one thing I haven't yet tried...I am not returning to this pc on until Tuesday evening so will give it a bash...If this doesn't work then I can only assume the user has managed to delete them and there isn't anything there to see!! Will let you know the result afterwards.


>>If you have [Show hidden files and folders] checked.<<
No, that is not correct carrzkiss, if you only do that at Explorer > Folder Options

"Search" has to be reconfigure separately as:
Start > Search >
Click "all files and folders" then scroll down
and click "more advanced options"
put a check next to "hidden files and folders"
scroll up, type the file and click Search.

I'm not saying that this is what happens here on this thread, I'm saying that "Explorer" and "Search" does not synchronize, :)

Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperCommented:
I have never had a problem doing a straight search.
Either by:
Start | Search | File & folders
In Explorer [Search]

I have never had to go into [Advance Search Mode].

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Take Care gamergirl
tony_howes47Author Commented:
All sorted...I had to do the Ghost restore in the end...found that two out of the three user profiles were corrupted!...also user had changed the administrator password and promptly forgotten it...Makes my head ache sometimes!...Many thanks for the help and suggestions...
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperCommented:
Glad I could help.
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