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On mac, I sometimes find a file called Icon^M . The one I have in front of me right now is empty.

Now, I can guess it's probably a file to contain... an icon, most probably the personalized icon for the folder, but why the wacky name with the control-M at the end ?

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migrated from Jan 15 '10 at 8:27

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I saw closing votes to migrate to superuser... I am voting it as well. I do believe I posted the question in the wrong place. – Stefano Borini Jan 15 '10 at 6:50
It is empty because all the bits are in the resource fork. ls -l "$(printf 'Icon\r/..namedfork/rsrc')" – Chris Johnsen Jan 15 '10 at 7:08
The control-M at the end is to make sure that every time you're copying such a folder to a FAT32 drive you'll get a seemingly random error about a file you've never seen before. Actually, that's probably not the reason, but it is a side effect. – Benjamin Dobson Jan 16 '10 at 0:51

You're right: According to, this filename was the old (OS 9) way to have a personalized icon for a folder.

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It seems like Google Drive creates this file now for me... :-( – Ivanoats Jan 14 '13 at 18:22
Google Drive is not creating this file. Google Drive is incorrectly stripping the hidden-bit from an existing file causing it to become visible. – MacLemon May 28 '14 at 0:56
@MacLemon any tips on how to make Google Drive not do this? – Zach Rattner Jun 3 at 1:04

These Icon\r files are still in use on modern MacOS X today. They are generally invisible but sharing tools like Dropbox can cause them to become exposed as the hidden attribute assoicated with them may not be propagated with the file. More information about them can be read in the Icon? file on OS X desktop superuser question.

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