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My folder icon usually looks like this:

enter image description here

However, I have a folder (in the location %appdata% \ Microsoft \ Windows \ Start Menu \ Programs) that looks like this:

enter image description here

What does that icon mean?

What is causing this folder to have a special icon?

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That overlay icon indicates that the folder is shared. More info here and here. To verify this, you may enter the following command in the command prompt: net share. If you see the folder listed in the output, then you can be sure that it means the folder is shared. – Vinayak Sep 13 '14 at 9:11
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It would help if you'd specified which OS you're running (Windows 7, 8, 8.1, etc.)... but... I believe this means that the indicated folder will appear in all users' start menus.

I see this on my machine (Windows 8.1), not for that folder, but for %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows - meaning that the Start Menu and everything else under %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows form system-wide additions to the corresponding per-user directories.

(Edited - added:) To the OP: Please open a command prompt and type net share - if the folder shows up in the resulting list, it's a network share. If it doesn't, it's as described above, something Windows is doing to tell you "this folder is visible in all users' start menus". However, I have to say that I can't reproduce this on a Vista test machine. That is, the folder in question IS the system-wide Start Menu, but it doesn't appear with the "two-man" icon.

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It's tagged Windows Vista. – Pacerier Sep 13 '14 at 8:55
Are you sure it's not a shared folder? – Vinayak Sep 13 '14 at 9:18
On my machine? Yes, very sure - not only would I never have shared such a thing, I checked the sharing tab under Properties... no, it isn't shared. – Jamie Hanrahan Sep 13 '14 at 9:19
Pacerier: Indeed it is tagged as Vista. Sorry, I missed the tag – Jamie Hanrahan Sep 15 '14 at 4:07

It is a shared folder. More info here

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Could be... I don't remember what Vista uses for the shared folders icon.. but the "all users" explanation makes more sense for this case. I'll have to wait until Sunday or so to check my Vista installation. – Jamie Hanrahan Sep 13 '14 at 9:21
I think it's actually the same. It is shared with other users on the compter so it will appear in the start menu of other users. – Andreas Furster Sep 13 '14 at 9:23
Yes, that's what I said in my answer above. But it isn't "shared" in the sense of "Windows file and printer sharing", which is the subject of the MS article you linked. Look in the folder's properties, Sharing tab; if it was "shared" in the network sense, it would show up there. (Too few words used for too many different meanings... not Microsoft's only offense of this type!!) – Jamie Hanrahan Sep 13 '14 at 9:26
It is shared in de same way as if you shared other folders. But this one is shared to local users instead of network users. So it IS a shared folder, but it is not a network share. That does the icon mean as you asked. – Andreas Furster Sep 13 '14 at 10:15
Well, hm. I just set up a Vista test VM and I don't see that icon on that folder. In the OP's case it may be a network shared folder after all. – Jamie Hanrahan Sep 14 '14 at 23:54

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