Changing the icon used for folders

When building a desktop image you may want to have some corporate folders which you want to “stand out” from the others and also let users know what the folder should be used for. For example, you may place folders in the “All Users” menu folder or within the users “My Documents” folder.

This can be accomplished by changing the folders icon and adding a tool tip so that a hint appears if a user hovers their mouse over the folder. This is relatively simple to achieve.

  1. Create the folder. I have create done called “RegistryTemplates”


  2. Mark the folder as a system folder. Open a command prompt and mark the folder as a system folder using attrib +s PathFolderName



  1. Create a text file and name it Desktop.ini. Use Notepad to create this file and ensure it is saved in Unicode format. Also, enclose the file name in quotation marks to ensure that the.txt extension isn’t applied.

  1. Edit the Desktop.ini file created (by double clicking on it). Add a section header




  2. Then enter values to inform the file system how to display the folder.




Set this entry to 0 to avoid a “You Are Deleting a System Folder” warning when deleting or moving the folder.


Not supported under Windows Vista or later. Set this entry to 1 to prevent the folder from being shared.


If you want to specify a custom icon for the folder, set this entry to the icon’s file name. The .ico file name extension is preferred, but it is also possible to specify .bmp files, or .exe and .dll files that contain icons. If you use a relative path, the icon is available to people who view the folder over the network. You must also set the IconIndex entry.


Set this entry to specify the index for a custom icon. If the file assigned to IconFile only contains a single icon, set IconIndex to 0.


Set this entry to an informational text string. It is displayed as an infotip when the cursor hovers over the folder. If the user clicks the folder, the information text is displayed in the folder’s information block, below the standard information.


  1. A typical set of entries would look like the below.





    InfoTip=”Registry templates for updating standard settings within the operating system”



  2. The above will set the icon to be that used by Regedit. The icon index is the index number of the icon within the icon file. If a bespoke icon is to be used, this can be placed within a hidden folder underneath the folder being displayed (use attrib +h FolderName to hide the folder).


  3. Save the file.


  4. Now open a command prompt and set the desktop.ini file to be a hidden system file using the command attrib +s +h PathFileName.



  5. The folder will now display with the regedit icon to provide a visual queue that the folder contains items relating to the registry.



  6. Hovering the mouse over the folder displays the tooltip.


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