View Hidden Files in The Finder

As many of you know i run a Computer Support business, Two days ago I had to mount a Windows XP drive to the system and get the “My Documents” Folder and the Outlook .pst files backed up for a client. When I  mounted the drive to my mac I remembered that the Outlook.pst files are often in a hidden folder called local settings. It took a little digging but to get Finder to show the Hidden files I had to run a little Terminal command.

Here is the Step by step to get the Hidden files to view in the Finder.

Open the Terminal

Type in the following or just copy and paste it in (leave off the ” marks)”defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE” then hit return.

Then Relaunch the Finder by going to the Apple Logo menu and click Force Quit… then select Finder and Relaunch

When you are ready to Stop seeing the Hidden files Open Terminal back up, type in the following or just copy and paste it in (leave off the ” marks)”defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE” then hit return. Relaunch the Finder and they will be gone.

I also found out you can do this with a Preference Pane item called secrets you can find out a lot more about it at


  1. mom2lo

    Thank you SO MUCH for this post! I remember seeing your Tweet about this a few days ago and didn’t think much of it… until yesterday when Mail had a message hanging up and causing a “Recovered Messages” folder to keep appearing with several copies of that message in it. I found a solution to the problem by deleting a hidden directory at “~/Library/Mail/IMAP-@domain.tld@imap.domain.tld/.OfflineCache” only I had no idea how to view hidden files. The forum folks said to download an app or something but I hate doing that if I don’t have to. Then I remembered this blog post.

    AHHHHH… how easy was that? Although @tgodby says I’m a “brave woman” for using Terminal. Apparently it can get dicey. 🙂

    Thanks a bunch!!!

  2. Jake

    For those with control panel paranoia, there’s also a little freebie app that sets that property:

    Show Hide Invisible files 1.6

    It changes it without rebooting the system

    (It restarts the finder, you could probably just use the force quit dialog with the manual AppleShowAllFiles method too)

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