I am totally surprised by this user-friendly feature of Windows, where I save a web page (in Firefox), resulting in an HTML file and a directory for the CSS, JS, PNG and other material, and where that file and directory are effectively glued together.

If I copy the file to another location, the directory is copied too.

If I delete the directory, the file is also deleted.

If I try to rename the directory, a warning comes up saying: If you rename this folder, the associated HTML file might not work properly. This is of course different from the association between file extensions and applications.

If I am interested in the HTML file only, there is no way to either copy just that file, or to delete just the directory. Of course I can start over and download the page with "html only", but my point is:

  • What is going on? How does this work? Is this Folder Redirection?

  • How can I make or break the association two file system objects like a file and a directory?

I tried this also with the DOS Command Prompt, Altap Salamander, and with Linux. The association seems to be a Windows Explorer feature. But I really prefer to work with the File Explorer (while in Windows).

  • 1
    I was burned by this once: decided I didn't need the styling of a saved page, so deleted the directory, only to have the page itself disappear too. So +1 from me.
    – TRiG
    Oct 27, 2016 at 9:44

2 Answers 2


OK I just found the answer. This is a Windows 2000 feature exclusively for saving HTM(L) pages, according to this 2001 post:

JSI Tip 3841. What is the Windows 2000 Connected File feature?

It also says that it can be turned off by adding this REG DWORD registry key with value 1:


From this it follows that you can also break the connection for a particular HTML page by renaming the EXTENSION of the html page, e.g. to foo.htmlXXX. I tested this, and you will have to click OK twice: to confirm that you change the extension, and to confirm that you break the connection with the related HTML directory, which is exactly what I want. Then simply delete that directory, and change the extension back to foo.html .


You can also import the "thickets" key into your registry. It will add a radio group to "Folder Options" that allows you to choose how you want to manage the files. Set it once, and no more renaming workarounds.

A copy of the key is here: http://www.sevenforums.com/general-discussion/141877-breaking-html-association.html#post1219858

It's just a text file, that you save as a .reg instead of a .txt, so you can copy/paste the code on the page without downloading it (as it says on the page).

After adding the registry Key:

Image of new Folder Option

  • 1
    Your fix is certainly as good as mine, +1, but I also addressed the question of what is going on. Either way, for me messing with the registry is not worth it, and I did not try, because the problem arises only sporadic.
    – Roland
    Jan 26, 2017 at 13:44
  • This dialog option used to be there by default, without any need for any registry hacks. But today, in my newish Windows 10 machine, I discovered that the option is no longer presented by default.
    – osullic
    Nov 28, 2020 at 18:58

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