Can’t see the AppData folder?

May 29, 2012

I’ve had a couple of instances recently where clients or colleagues haven’t been able to install their corporate Microsoft Word template into the Templates folder (C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates). And the reason has been that they couldn’t see the AppData folder. That’s because Windows hides the AppData folder by default, and you have to ‘unhide’ it before you can see it.

Here’s how to show hidden folders etc. in Windows 7 (the instructions are similar for Vista and slightly similar for Windows XP).

  1. Go to Windows Explorer.
  2. Open the C: drive.
  3. Click Organize on the menu bar.
  4. Select Folder and Search options.
  5. Select the View tab.
  6. Under Files and Folders > Hidden files and folders, select the option to Show hidden files, folders and drives.
  7. Click OK.

Your AppData folder should show, and you should now be able to add your template into the Templates folder.


  1. Thanks how frustrating MICROSOFT can be – unbelievable. It would be intelligent if you hit SAVE AS and you have a file ending dotx the template folder would just appear. In former Windows this was never a “random search” problem but then most programs have deteriorated terribly.

  2. Yes, this did help. Thanks

  3. ahh i finally found the “appdata” folder, thanks a lot!

  4. I have followed the instructions above and several hidden folders appeared but not the appdata folder. What other remedy should I do.

  5. I got it.Thanks it worked!

  6. The best tutorial on appdata search.

  7. I have the same problem as “seeker” above… I already knew how to display the hidden files and folders as you described above – I ran through it again just to make sure the settings were correct but still I can see all of the hidden files except for the users/…../”APPDATA” folder and it’s contents. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT I CAN DO TO GET IT TO DISPLAY?
    Seeker, did you figure out how to see it yet? I have a Dell studio 17″, Windows 7 premium, Intel core i7 with 8 cores. I listed it just wondering if you have the same thing or a relative of it.

  8. Duh!! Seeker, I missed your latest post until after I wrote mine. How were you able to get it?

  9. You said Windows hides the Appdata folder by default. Am I missing something or is is obvious to everyone why that is the case? Please elaborate as to why this folder is hidden by default? What is the purpose of this folder? Can I delete it without dire consequence?

  10. The reason it is hidden by default is that it is a system folder that is REQUIRED for many applications that you have installed. It holds your settings, among other things. DO NOT delete this folder, otherwise your apps won’t work.

  11. Thank-you! After an MS Office update, I spent over an hour trying to locate what appeared to be lost, then when found I was unable to find the Appdata folder. Your tip took me right to problem.

  12. i did everything you said but i still can’t open the appdata.. whenever i unhide it. it automatically gets hidden again

  13. Yes the person who wrote is like too many so called experts.That is a problem I have had also and am having now again. Even with hidden folders set to display “appdat” still does not display. There is a solution. I forget what it is now and am looking again. Keep looking. I think you can do it from the command line from memory.

  14. Here is the real solution.
    The first thing you need to do is open up the AppData folder, itself. This can be done by going to the Start menu (for Windows 7 and Vista users) and typing in “%appdata%” with no quotes.

    Another way to do this is by going to the C: drive in My Computer and typing “%appdata%” (again, no quotes) into the search bar at the top. This is the method I use in the tutorial.

    Notice that, even when doing this, you will be put in the Roaming folder if you have one. You need to be in the AppData folder, itself. To do this, go to the search bar up at the top and click AppData.

    When you are in the AppData folder, right click on any empty space, and click properties. Under the General tab, there will be two check boxes. One will be for Read-Only and one will say Hidden. By default, the “Hidden” box is checked. In this tutorial, mine is not since I’ve already preformed this procedure.

    Make sure the “Hidden” box is unchecked and click apply. Make sure you select the option to include all subfolders. Then wait for it to go through all of the folders, and voila! You can now access the AppData folder without having to use the Start menu.

  15. Go to Computer (the top level on the drive), and type %appdata%

  16. […] Moon profile – but you have to unhide your AppData folder first,  to unhide it see eg this post). However, when I tried it, I got an error message the first time, and the next time, it took about […]

  17. I’m getting an Aw, Snap! message after google chrome crashes, and I think I’ve found the User Data file which Chrome Help!advised to rename as “Old Default”. (I had to unhide the folder.)

    But I see a lot of files and folders inside the User Data folder, and I’m worried I will screw up some apps (or worse) if I change the name.

    Am I safe?

    Vista32 user

  18. Hi Jay

    This post is about the Windows AppData folder, not about Chrome. If Chrome support have told you where the folder is you need to rename, and you’ve found it, then it should be safe to rename it. DON’T rename anything else.


  19. Thanks for setting me straight, Rhonda.

  20. Hi! Thanks for the writeup on unhiding the AppData folder. You instructions were very clear!
    Best wishes,

  21. Thank you for posting these instructions. They were perfect and did the trick.

  22. Thank you mate, helped me out!

  23. Helped me too. I couldn’t find where an etax update file went, there being no option to save it where I wanted it. I did a search and found the path, but I needed to show hidden files to get to it. Many thanks.

  24. i use win 8 the prosidue did not work in my case

  25. re: Ross Kapernick You did it, buddy! Thank you thank you. Wasted SOOO much time with other basic or partial instructions until I found yours above.

  26. i got it

  27. Thanks Rhonda, and special thanks to Ross Kapernick, without whose additional instructions it wouldn’t have worked.

    (It’s so frustrating for something I had always done without any problem–even on the same version of Windows!–to suddenly become a roadblock on a new laptop at a new job.)

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