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Is there anyway to hide desktop.ini files, but unhide them when I need them? They get in the way when I'm moving files and such but I do use them so deleting them isn't an option.

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Nope, I want to hide only desktop.ini files, all of the time. Not all files some of the time... – Oztaco Oct 14 '12 at 20:31
Why not just turn "Hide protected operating system files" (back) on in Explorer's folder options? Or is the goal to show all hidden/system files except desktop.ini specifically? What have you tried already? It'd probably be easier to just rig up a system-wide toggle for ALL hidden/system files and just use it as needed, vs. trying to hide files with a specific filename. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Oct 14 '12 at 20:37
Yeah, seems he has show hidden checked and hide protected unchecked, maybe by mistake. – Karan Oct 14 '12 at 20:39
@techie007 yes I want to hide nothing, except desktop.ini. I can't delete them because I use a script to edit the desktop.ini files that changes the icons occasionally so that would get in the way of my script. – Oztaco Oct 14 '12 at 20:44
So basically, this question is asking how to hide an arbitrary file by filename. I have seen some shell-extensions that could potentially be adapted for this purpose, but that was in XP; I don’t know if they could work in Vista+ since Explorer has changed too much and been locked down a lot. – Synetech Dec 7 '13 at 17:23
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Found a better answer on technet:

Simple: click the "hide" box only in Desktop folder

(In Windows Classic view,) go to Windows Explorer; click on Desktop. Go to Tools/Folder Options. Click View, and check "Hide protected operating system files" - but, DO NOT CLICK "APPLY TO ALL FOLDERS". Just click OK. Now, only the Desktop folder will hide the files but they will still show up in all other folders.

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Thank you, this is so blatantly obvious and brilliant at the same time! – Oztaco Jun 26 '14 at 0:51
I did it (in Windows 8), but it applied to all folders. – André Neves Jul 15 '14 at 5:15
Looks like Windows 10 View > Hidden Items is also applied to all folders. – Sarah Northway Feb 23 at 21:26

Desktop.ini files by default have the System and Hidden attributes set. If you have Show hidden files, folders, and drives turned on, make sure Hide protected operating system files is checked under Windows Explorer's Folder Options / View tab:

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If I'm not mistaken, this will hide system folders too? – Oztaco Oct 14 '12 at 20:41
Most OS folders (Windows, its subfolders, Program Files etc.) are visible to me with this option checked (and Show hidden unchecked). – Karan Oct 14 '12 at 20:50
make sure Hide protected operating system files is checked under Windows Explorer's Folder Options / View tab This applies only to Windows 7. In Windows XP, the hide system files option has no bearing on files with the system attribute; it only hides the contents of \windows\*. Since the OP has accepted this answer, it can be assumed that they are using Vista+, not XP. For anyone using XP, the hide hidden files option should be sufficient for toggling the visibility of files with either the hidden or system attribute. – Synetech Mar 1 '13 at 21:27

I once used command prompt to hide some files and folders by changing the attributes.

Suppose you want to hide the file “desktop.ini” which is in your X: drive(can be redirected to any location). So open command prompt typing “cmd” in the “run” from Windows start menu.Now change the drive typing “ X: ” and then press enter.

Now enter the following command:

X:> attrib desktop.ini +s +h

(for hiding file/folder filename, replace 'desktop.ini' by filename)

Now desktop.ini would not show even if you display all hidden files in windows explorer.

To revert the process, following command needs to be used:

X:> attrib desktop.ini -s -h

This works fine in Windows XP, Vista, 7.

Resources:- [1]

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Check your system. As I mentioned above, Desktop.ini files by default seem to have the System and Hidden attributes set already. – Karan Oct 19 '12 at 17:05
checked it, you were true. – Mohit Ahuja Oct 20 '12 at 15:25
Don't forget the /s switch for going in sub folders – Canadian Luke Jul 15 '13 at 1:20
@CanadianLuke thanks. – Mohit Ahuja Jul 24 '13 at 5:51

The easiest way is with Nirsoft's BulkFileChanger. I also used Voidtools Everything to search for:

attrib:h c:/

I dragged the results into BulkFileChanger and then changed them all to unhidden [F6] or [Actions menu]>>[Change Time / Attributes.]

  • Note: some objects will not change. Access is denied. Don't worry about it. (A few will change if you select them one-at-a-time, but it's not worth it. Though I did change my Library junctions, like Videos and Pictures, this way.)

Afterwards I searched in Everything again (make sure you use a bar | in between to specify OR):


Drag and drop them all into BulkFileChanger and change them to Hidden the same way [F6]. Do this again for anything else you want hidden.

  • **Note: Run both programs above AS ADMIN (elevated.)
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to solve that issue goto local disk C then search for (desktop.ini) then when the search is done press (Ctrl+A) to select all the file of desktop.ini then select view on the top or press (Alt) then navigate to view then select (Hide selected items). You are now done

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