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How To Hide desktop.ini Files On Windows 10

An operating system has tons of files, most are practically alien to end users. These files have file extensions that not many have heard of and their mere presence is enough to cause a virus panic. If you see strange files on your desktop, it’s a good idea to Google what they are before you start to panic. One file type that you might see is called desktop.ini. This file, or multiple files of this same name may appear on your desktop. They will likely be faded out like hidden folders and files are. Here’s how you can hide desktop.ini files on Windows 10.

Hide desktop.ini Files

A desktop.ini file may appear on your desktop, inside folders, and inside external storage devices. This file isn’t dangerous. It is a system file found on Windows that governs how folders are displayed so they’re quite harmless and they haven’t just started to appear. They’ve been there all along. In fact, you can find them on Windows 7, 8/8.1, and 10.

To hide desktop.ini file, open File Explorer. Go to the View tab. At the far right end, click the dropdown button under the Options button. Select “Change folder and search options’.

On the Folder options window, go to the View tab. Under the Advanced Settings section, look for an option called ‘Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)’, and enable it. Click Apply and the desktop.ini files ought to be gone.

The desktop.ini file is an essential operating system file but users rarely need to interact with it which is why it’s kept hidden. You will find apps that tell you they can delete the desktop.ini file but you should use them with extreme caution. This file isn’t malicious and if an app deletes them, you might have trouble opening File Explorer, or generating thumbnails for files.

Desktop.ini deals with folder icons and a few choice customization options. Hiding the file really is the best option there is if the file annoys you. You cannot directly edit it. You can open it in Notepad to view its contents. The typical contents of a desktop.ini file are shown below;


If you happen to have deleted the file, you might have to do a system restore or system reset to get them back. If they’re in the Recycle Bin, just restore them and be careful how you handle them. In some cases, deleting the file does nothing but in others it can mess up how icons are displayed.

1 Comment

  1. This is not a good answer, it hides all system files, not ONLY the desktop.ini as most people, I think, want. I would like a way to hide ALL desktop.ini files, in ALL folders and ONLY the desktop.ini, not other files. If you can help with this it will be fantastic!
    Thank you,

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