I downloaded a ZIP file and dragged the files out of the ZIP into a directory. The subdirectories I copied displayed in Windows Explorer in green instead of the default black.

What does the green folder text mean?

Windows Explorer green folders in Windows 7

(In case you're wondering, the download was from Baseline CSS)

  • 1
    When I extracted the files from my downloaded ZIP, I about had a heart attack when I was prompted that my files were going to be encrypted, so I should back up my encryption key. When I looked, the folders were green. I thought I'd gotten that malware that encrypts your hard disk and demands a ransom. Thank you so much!
    – DOK
    Feb 1, 2014 at 19:00

2 Answers 2


Green means encrypted, blue means compressed.

If you right-click a file, go to properties and click advanced (under general tab) you have the option to encrypt the folder.

If this is a domain computer, it can be set centrally through group policy by your domain administrator which may be the reason you did not know about it… otherwise, I have not seen a program that does this automatically so you must have accidentally enabled it.

  • 5
    Nope! I thought maybe half name in one, half in another, but I just tried and it appears that the file has to be one or the other, you cannot compress and encrypt. Aug 25, 2009 at 14:22
  • As this picture shows, Windows actually says "Compress or Encrypt attributes" i26.tinypic.com/e6oihf.jpg Aug 25, 2009 at 14:23
  • The encryption and compression is a NTFS filesystem feature - and you cannot choose both. I have never seen the green color applied to .zip's though. Aug 25, 2009 at 19:22
  • 5
    Bonus answer: blogs.msdn.com/b/asklar/archive/2012/05/03/…
    – emgee
    Nov 11, 2013 at 7:46

Green files mean they are encrypted - you can change the color:

Windows explorer colors

Files in blue are NTFS compressed files. Files in green are encrypted files. If you don't want NTFS compressed files/encrypted files to be shown in a different color, follow this steps:

  1. Open Windows Explorer.

  2. Click Organize, Folder and Search options.

  3. Choose the View tab.

  4. Click to deselect Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color check box.

  5. Click OK.

  • The article does not show how to change color, only how blue/green coloring can be disabled. Feb 17, 2016 at 22:26
  • @TheOperator you can change color without disabling it by going to Control Panel -> Folder Options -> View tab -> Uncheck Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color.
    – jiggunjer
    Aug 15, 2016 at 1:57

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