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Windows 7: What is the Desktop.ini file and How Can I Remove It?

Why do I see the desktop.ini file in every folder? How can I get rid of it? One of my neighbors called today asking me all of these questions. Let me explain the function and purpose of this ubiquitous mysterious file.


What is the Desktop.ini file?

This hidden file is placed in every folder to tell the operating system how to display and customize the viewing of that specific folder. For example, this allows a folder to have a custom icon. Microsoft has more boring info about customizing folders with this file.

desktop.ini example

Why did this file suddenly appear?

The file is typically set as both a hidden and system file. Most people start to notice the desktop.ini file after globally setting their system to show hidden system files and folders. Often it is most noticeable on the desktop. By resetting this setting to hide these files, the desktop.ini files will no longer be visible.

Can I just delete these files?

Deleting these files will just remove any customizations set by the desktop.ini file. Although it should not hurt your system, trying to delete these files can be frustrating as the Windows operating system may rebuild them.

David Kirk
David Kirk
David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
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