dir command vis-a-vis hidden files

Discussion in 'Windows Vista File Management' started by ROD DAV4IS, Oct 3, 2009.


    ROD DAV4IS Guest

    Does DIR normally display hidden files?

    On my system it does, regardless of the setting in folder options. I have to use the /a-h option to stop that behavior.

    This seems different from what I remember on my old XP system, and seems to contradict the explanation of the DIR command, which says to use the /ah option to display hidden files.

    I tried to set the DIRCMD environment variable to negate this behavior and that works -- except that the application that I am trying to port to Vista uses the /a-d option, which cancels my DIRCMD setting.

    Using Vista Home Premium w/SP2

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    ROD DAV4IS, Oct 3, 2009
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    Guest Guest

    Type dir /? and look at the last paragraph
    Guest, Oct 4, 2009
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    lemur Guest

    Dir does not normally display hidden files.

    If could be you have Vista set up to display hidden files.

    Someone could have changed the attributes on hidden files as well.
    Just a couple of possibilities.


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    lemur, Oct 4, 2009

    R. C. White Guest

    Hi, Rod.

    Are you using the DIR command in a Command Prompt window? Or in some other

    (I just tried from the Win7 GUI Desktop by clicking Start and typing "dir"
    (no quotes) into the Search box and got a weird result: The first item that
    popped up said, "Start Google Earth in Direct X mode", and when I pressed
    Enter it popped up a box that said, "Google Earth will now start in 'DirectX
    9 mode by default.", and gave me two options: Start Google Earth, or Exit.
    As I said, that's WEIRD - but not what you are talking about, is it? That
    seems a topic for another thread entirely!)

    In a Command Prompt window, the Dir command should respect the Attributes
    setting for each file and folder. As usual in a CP window, just type the
    command followed by /? to see what I call a mini-Help file that lists the
    switches and parameters available with that command. For Dir /?, the list
    has not changed significantly in decades, so far as I can see. In MS-DOS,
    Dir /a showed all files, no matter which Attributes were set - and it still
    does in a Win7 Command Prompt window. (I know you know all that, but those
    lurking "over our shoulders" might need reminders.)

    The result of this command in the CP window does not depend on the settings
    in the GUI's Control Panel | Folder Options | View.

    I've never used the /a-d switch until just now. I see what you mean. In
    the Root of my System Volume, dir shows 10 files and 6 Dirs. Dir /a-d shows
    21 files and 0 Dirs. Dir /a shows 21 file and 10 Dirs. Attrib *.* lists
    all the 21 files, but no Dirs.

    This bears more investigation. I don't have time (or the inclination) to
    track this down today, Rod, but I'll be watching this thread to see what I
    can learn from what you learn.

    R. C. White, CPA
    San Marcos, TX

    Microsoft Windows MVP
    Windows Live Mail 2009 (14.0.8089.0726) in Win7 Ultimate x64

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    R. C. White, Oct 4, 2009
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