The documentation at the Windows Dev Center is fairly limited compared not only to third party sites, but to even what I can create by changing folder settings and opening up the resulting desktop.ini file. The problem with third party sites is that those at the top of Google's index often do not state what system is covered (XP has several useful parameters removed in Vista/7/8), contradict each other when compared, and often do not produce the desired behavior when tested.

As background, I am working with a removable drive and I would like the folder icons, folder templates, icon sizes, and any other atheistic elements to be held constant in Windows Explorer, independent of the (Windows) machine I hook it up to. Setting folder icons is easy and the folder templates I found through testing as described above. I have not found a solution for icon size or folder background. Those may not exist in Windows 7, but I feel the lack of official documentation leaves room for doubt.

I'd also be interested in Windows 10 documentation, but I assume that's still in flux even if a document is available.

2 Answers 2


I really don't think there is an all in one for this, I'm searching about this too, so far I found: https://hwiegman.home.xs4all.nl/desktopini.html

From this one not everything works: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa965725(v=vs.85).aspx

In my case i'm trying to create "tags" for music folders based on the audio files, I will have to create an script yet to export the data from the first audio file from inside each folder to a file called Desktop.ini that should look like this:

Prop2 = 31,Title
Prop3 = 31,Subject
Prop4 = 31,Author
Prop5 = 31,Keywords(Tags)
Prop6 = 31,Comment
Prop4 = 31,Album Name Test
Prop5 = 31,2000
Prop11 = 31,Pop

In Schema doc you can find the music tag key and at the end you will find a /"number" which is equal to Prop"number" right after the key.

What I have not figured out yet:

Set folder size, so windows doesn't have to calculate it everytime, which is extremely dumb. This may not be possible.

Also haven't tested the keys that end with words like:


Don't know yet why is there that number 31 before all data, might be the data length for index.

This also mostly works:


Icons can't be resized, Windows auto sizes to the view mode of the parent directory as you view it.

For icon and folder type you can use this basic mode:


If you want a personalized icon you can either use an icon inside of that folder or use a relative path that must end like this:

folder.ico,1 #### for the second icon in a multi icon file
  • The website you referenced was suggested more then 2 years ago in a deleted answer, and the author indicated, it wasn't helpful.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 1:44
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    Did you even try using it? Cause I just did for the music tags and they all work, for the other tags they are mostly default in the system which is proof of work. For instance: Documents Folder [.ShellClassInfo]LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21770 IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-112 IconFile=%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll IconIndex=-235 Going to add another Microsoft side Try the Desktop.ini and then check later the column fields: Title, Subject, Author, comments, Keywords, yes, genre, ... Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 1:53
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    For instance: Desktop ini located in path \U2\The Saints Are Coming\Desktop.ini If you are viewing from \U2 the folder The Saints Are Coming will have those descriptions above, at least on Windows 10 it does, and based on the Schema description it should since at least Windows Vista Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 2:00
  • While this is interesting, it's more metadata-oriented than aesthetics-oriented. I'll file it away as it will probably be useful for other tasks. My eventual solution for this problem was to create a simple html-based directory/launcher. It's not quite as built-in as what I originally envisioned, but does allow me to give additional notes and direction on the organization of information within the removable drive.
    – raithyn
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 15:30

What I wanted—setting folder background images, default icon size, etc.—is not baked-in with Windows 7 or 10. Third-party applications can make these changes, but none of the ones I tested at the time could carry changes over to a machine where they weren't installed.

Ultimately, I created a custom launcher.

  • For future viewers of this answer, the reason the changes didn't carry over is you need to mark the file as a system folder for the folder to recognize the desktop.ini file. attrib +s <FolderName>
    – Nick W.
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 14:27

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