Fix for Special Folders Reverting to Default Folder Icon in Windows Vista

By Lowell Heddings on November 5th, 2007

My inbox has been flooded with people asking why the “pretty” icons in their user folder keep turning back into regular folder icons, and what they can do to fix it.  After writing the first article about the Music folder, I decided to just put all of the information into a single article.

Using the same example as last time, the Music folder here is showing the generic folder icon instead of the slick one that it should be using.

 image

The icons that are displayed on the folders are set through the hidden desktop.ini file inside of each folder. The problem is that a lot of applications seem to screw with this file and cause it to become corrupted or otherwise unusable. What we’ll do here is just reset the offending file to the default values that I’ve listed here.

To open the desktop.ini file, you’ll need to paste this command into the start menu search or run box, which will open the music folder’s desktop.ini file.

notepad %USERPROFILE%\music\desktop.ini

If you wanted to open the desktop.ini file in the pictures folder instead, you’d substitute “pictures” for “music” in the command, like this:

notepad %USERPROFILE%\pictures\desktop.ini

You’ll see a file that should look exactly like this, but probably does not.

image

Select the entire contents of the file and delete it, replacing the contents with the default values that I’ve listed below. (You only need to pick the one that matches the folder you are trying to edit)

Note that you will need to logout and back in to see the changes, or you could just restart explorer.exe if you are feeling ambitious.

Contacts

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%CommonProgramFiles%\system\wab32res.dll,-10100
InfoTip=@%CommonProgramFiles%\system\wab32res.dll,-10200
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-181

Desktop

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21769
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-183

Documents

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21770
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-112
IconFile=%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll
IconIndex=-235

Downloads

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21798
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-184

Favorites

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21796
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-115
IconFile=%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll
IconIndex=-173

Links

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21810
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-185
DefaultDropEffect=4
[LocalizedFileNames]
Public.lnk=@shell32.dll,-21816
Searches.lnk=@shell32.dll,-9031
Recently Changed.lnk=@shell32.dll,-32813
Music.lnk=@shell32.dll,-21790
Pictures.lnk=@shell32.dll,-21779
Documents.lnk=@shell32.dll,-21770

Music

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21790
InfoTip=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-12689
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-108
IconFile=%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll
IconIndex=-237
[LocalizedFileNames]
Sample Music.lnk=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21806

Pictures

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21779
InfoTip=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-12688
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-113
IconFile=%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll
IconIndex=-236
[LocalizedFileNames]
Sample Pictures.lnk=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21805

Saved Games

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21814
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-186

Searches

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-9031
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-18
[LocalizedFileNames]
Indexed Locations.search-ms=@shell32.dll,-32811
Everywhere.search-ms=@shell32.dll,-32814
Shared By Me.search-ms=@shell32.dll,-32802
Recent Music.search-ms=@shell32.dll,-32803
Recent Documents.search-ms=@shell32.dll,-32804
Recent Pictures and Videos.search-ms=@shell32.dll,-32806
Recent E-mail.search-ms=@shell32.dll,-32807
Recently Changed.search-ms=@shell32.dll,-32813

Videos

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21791
InfoTip=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-12690
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-189
IconFile=%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll
IconIndex=-238
[LocalizedFileNames]
Sample Videos.lnk=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21807

  Hopefully by this point your icons should be back to looking good again…

image 

For extra credit… you can also create a desktop.ini file in any folder and use it to show a custom icon.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/5/07
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