When opening a folder, by default it always shows hidden files. I can uncheck the view option and they disappear but reappear on the next opening with the hidden files option re-checked. Have I inadvertently changed an option or is this a bug? No-one else seems to have encountered this.

  • 1
    Go into your file manager's preferences and untick "Always show hidden files" or something like that.
    – user25656
    Feb 20, 2013 at 8:46

6 Answers 6


Assuming you are using Nautilus (the standard file manager in Ubuntu), read the help files on Nautilus views. To change the default option, you can do the following:

In any file manager window, click Edit ▸ Preferences and select the Views tab.

In that tab you can unselect show hidden and backup files. By default,

The file manager does not display hidden files or folders.

You can also toggle showing/hiding hidden files by using CTRL+h.

  • 1
    not applicable for Ubuntu 22.04 May 10, 2022 at 6:42

I'm using ubuntu 15.04. Recently I upgraded form terminal using the cmd "sudo apt-get upgrade". After this Nautilus was showing all the hidden folders by default. However, after searching a while in internet I ended here. Maybe the solution I post here has already been posted in some forum, but here is how I solved the problem in Nautilus.

  1. Install the "dconf editor" using the command:

    sudo apt-get install dconf-tools
  2. open dconf editor using the command:

  3. Browse to org > gtk > settings > file-chooser

  4. Uncheck the "hidden file" key appearing in right side.

That's all. Enjoy!

The key from org > gnome > nautilus > preferences : show-hidden-files is ignored as it is deprecated.

  • 1
    This worked for me. For whatever reason my version of nautilus doesn't have an "edit" menu option and looking at other stack overflow answers suggesting I change org > gnome > nautilus > preferences doesn't work (which itself had "show hidden by default" off anyway). Not sure why this happens since I didn't change or mess with anything when it decided to default to showing hidden files.
    – Ram
    Nov 19, 2015 at 0:47
  • Here are the bug report and solution mentioned.
    – mxdsp
    Dec 13, 2015 at 2:50
  • 10
    One liner : gsettings set org.gtk.Settings.FileChooser show-hidden false
    – mxdsp
    Dec 13, 2015 at 4:46
  • @mxdsp You rock. Your oneliner is great. Jan 17, 2016 at 18:55
  • Good workaround for a bug recently.. using nautilus, you cant make the hidden files to not show by default.. no matter what.
    – ashishsony
    Jan 27, 2016 at 23:04

Here are the steps I took to remedy this.

  • Open File Explorer.

  • Goto Preferences under Edit menu

  • Uncheck Show hidden and backup files if checked

  • Close and enjoy, see below:



Another way to fix it: open gedit, type something and click on save. When the file chooser window opens, press Ctrl+h to show/hide hidden folders. This changes the settings to the way they're supposed to be.

  • Ctrl +h is just a shortcut from Nautilus. Gedit just opens a Nautilus session in the background, but this shortcut also works in Nautilus without entering Gedit.
    – Requist
    Jan 9, 2016 at 10:45

As others have said, the default behaviour can be changed after opening file manager and going to Edit->Preferences->Views and unchecking Show hidden and backup files.

Using Ctrl+H only temporarily toggles hidden files, and when a new window is opened the default view comes again.

Now I am going to say that why suddenly the default behaviour got changed even when you don't remember changing it.

It is because when the file manager is opened externally, (like choosing file to upload in a browser, etc), and we press Ctrl+H, the toggle is not temporary, it is permanent.

I found this issue/feature in Ubuntu 16.04.


Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 LTS with Gnome Files 3.14.3

To make it clear: I don't have the Unity desktop. If you have Unity or other desktop besides Gnome, this answer may not be of use to you. Second, I have done some mods so my panel may look different and may be in a different location. However the concept should be the same if you are using Gnome.

Gnome panel with Gedit closed

This image shows that you cannot access the Files "Preferences" menu when Files is closed. So whether you have Files docked in the panel or not does not matter. You need to open Files before you can start.

Files Top Menu

This is my menu in the Files app. Note I don't have any menu like "Edit -> Preferences" as others have shown elsewhere.


When Files is open you can right (outside) click its icon in the panel to open "Preferences".

Files Preferences Window

Now when I go to the "Views" tab I can see "Show hidden and backup files". At this point my answer should be the same as shown elsewhere. It's just a matter of understanding that not everyone has the same desktop or Ubuntu version.

  • You want me to answer the question: Have I inadvertently changed an option or is this a bug?
    – Sammy Joe
    Jan 9, 2018 at 22:57
  • One answer was "Go into your file manager's preferences and untick "Always show hidden files" or something like that. – user25656". Not helpful if you can't find file manager's preferences. I showed how to do that. Another answer: "In any file manager window, click Edit ▸ Preferences and select the Views tab." Worthless answer for those who do not have "Edit" in any file manager window, since it is actually embedded in the icon. Basically I had the exact problem with Files app showing hidden files. I did not find the answer here, so when I finally found it on my own I decided to post it.
    – Sammy Joe
    Jan 9, 2018 at 23:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .