How-To Geek

Why Did Windows Vista’s Music Folder Icon Turn Yellow?

I’ve been getting emails left and right from readers complaining that their Music folder icon has turned from the default shiny icon into the generic yellow folder icon. After doing some research I finally have a workaround for this issue.

In Windows, all folders can be customized with whatever icon you want. All you need to do is put a hidden file named desktop.ini into the root of that folder, which tells Windows extra information for the folder including what icon to use.

The problem that people are experiencing is due to the contents of that file being modified somehow and pointing to the wrong icon, as you can see here:


You can normally fix this problem by right-clicking on the folder and choosing properties, and then on the Customize tab you’ll see this:


If that section does not exist, however, we’ll need to open up that desktop.ini file by pasting the following command into the start menu search or run box:

notepad %USERPROFILE%\music\desktop.ini

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


You can usually just replace the contents of that file with the following text:


Save the file and log off from Windows, and then login again. Your Music folder icon should now look like this:


Hopefully this solves the problem for you!

Update: If you are looking for a folder besides the Music folder, I’ve created a list of the default settings for every user profile folder.

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 10/13/07

Comments (55)

  1. Slick

    I did that and ”My Music” folder didnt change back to the default folder.

  2. diceman5710

    i was wondering how do you do that for your downloads folder and my folder got replaced by an album is it still changeable back to normal

  3. Mel

    Re: Vista music folder getting changed to the generic yellow folder, I did as instructed and nothing happened. Do you have another solution to this irritating quirk?

  4. Tom

    Can you do this with the downloads folder? Please can you tell us how to change that, or better still, ALL of the icons in the folder?

  5. RJ

    WORKED! I just searched for 20 minutes trying to change this back and thank god I found your site. I usually don’t post on these things and say thanks but this was such a big relief that I had too. It was driving me crazy that it was yellow and all the others were the cool vista kind. Thanks so much, great walkthrough and pictures and guide. Your work is appreciated. Thanks.

    (oh btw I think it has to do with using media extenders, they modify the file possibly)

  6. Chris

    All…. you don’t need to log off. Just close Windows Explorer and open it again (click on Start -> [user name]) and you’ll see it updated.

    Tom…. if you have another user on your PC open up the folder C:\users\[username], and copy the desktop.ini files from any subfolders from which you’ve got the problem. (e.g. copy desktop.ini from the [username]\Downloads subfolder to your own Downloads subfolder”).

    If you don’t have another user on your PC, create one temporarily – this will create the desktop.ini files you can use for the above procedure.

    Note you most likely need to be an Administrator to do this successfully….

    Hope that helps,


  7. steve

    this didnt work for me so i kept playing around and i opened the folder through my computer-users-(username) and went into file properties- customise- change icon then hit the rostore default button and it went back :-D

  8. Carl

    I tried this and it didn’t work

    Does anyone know the windows location on the HD that contains the correct folder icon?

  9. Fernando

    How do you do it for Desktop Folder and Download folder???

  10. Daniel

    Its much much easier than that.
    Right Click, Properties, Customize, Change Icon..
    Delete whats in the browse part and replace it with
    And then press enter, all the icons are there to select from.

  11. Paul

    Didn’t work for me either.

  12. michelle

    it didn’t work.
    and it’s driving me nuts.

  13. Yaneth

    Thank you so much It did work pretty well now I finally have my icon back!
    happy new year! :D

  14. Style

    Hello everyone! i have found a new an easy way for all those whose problem is still their as it was before.
    In order to do this, first copy all the file (no need to copy desktop.ini) from the folder that is having problem to a safe folder.
    Now go to your user account panel and switch Guest account to On.
    Now switch your system to Guest account.
    Go to “Guest” folders and copy “that” folder (itself).
    Paste this folder in |(your window drive):\Users\(your personal user account folder)|
    Switch back to your account and turn off guest account.

    This one works for me.I have done for myself just a min ago.I hope it will solve your problem.

  15. Mark S.

    Sometimes the code in the desktop.ini file is correct, but the actual folder attributes aren’t.

    To correct this, strike [Windows key]+R, type in CMD, press enter, and then in the prompt:

    cd music
    attrib +r desktop.ini

    Because the system will not read the file if the read-only flag has not been set.

  16. Matt

    If the desktop.ini is correct and it still isn’t showing the blue icon, cut the music folder and paste it in another random location and then cut and paste it back in the orginal location. That will get the folder to read the file and attributes correctly. I’ve done that fix on about 10 vista computers and it works everytime. How that helps.

  17. xr6

    Changing the ini files worked great for me, thanks heaps mate.

  18. Tore

    If you cant click the change icon button when you click your user in start. You can go to, My Computer – Users – (your user) – Music and there go to properties and change icon. Sorry for my bad english.. Worked for me!

  19. Tiffanie

    THANKS FOR THE HELP ! :D i nearly restored factory settings because of this. THANKS AGAIN SO MUCH !

  20. Jerry

    Just thought id post another solution. i tried both the solution witht the run command and the solution with the Utilities program to return Desktop folder to the right icon. however the problem still remained.

    So what i did was delet the desktop folder from my users/Usersname folder, and befor closing it i created a new folder on my desktop, gave it the name Desktop, and custimized/changed the icon through properties to the correct one. then i moved the new Desktop folder to my users/Usersname folder and it was fixed.

    after all other solutions failing, this was the only way i could fix it.

  21. Tyler

    Quick. Easy. Fix.

    That was EXTREMELY helpfull! I was just “dealing” with a dumb looking yellow folder because I just figured it was another annoying Vista problem that I’d just have to live with. When I finally just googled to maybe redownload it, I found this site. Thanks very much, I’ll be checking this site from now on if I come across any new fun Vista troublums.

  22. Yakumo

    Vista ps1.

    I’ve tried all of these, and nothing worked, nothing was wrong with my desktop.ini file.

    I just thought ”forget it i’ll create a new one and see if that can be fixed’

    So i hit F2 on it to rename, added a – on the end, hit enter and….

    it got automatically renamed right back again and fixed the icon!

  23. Mark S.

    Don’t forget to go into the properties of your new music folder, and change “Music-” or whatever you have it set to back to “Music,” it’ll make it much more easier to manage your music since you won’t have to move all of it from the old “Music” folder to the new “Music” one.

  24. Yakumo

    Ah, yes, I had not realized it had done that as the view in explorer said ‘music’, and that it had created left the folder physically called C:\Users\Yakumo\Music-, I thought it had renamed it back to what it was.

    I tried hitting the ‘reset to default’ option on the location tab, which caused it to create another ‘music’ folder with icon, for C:\Users\Yakumo\Music

    Which is fine. what wasn’t fine was after asking if I wanted it to “move” all the contents of the old location to the new one, which I chose to do, it then COPIED everything, and refused to respond to the cancel button being pressed, and then deleted the original files. WTH?

    Very frustrating, especially with a machine with only one drive, this process took several minutes instead of the sub 1 second procedure an actual move operation would have taken.

  25. fernanda

    hi. maybe u can help me… i dont know how to change the icons for the folders in the windows vista. i could do it in the old one…

  26. Michael Strother

    Great tip, worked perfectly for me. I had to restart windows to see the fixed icon.

    Interesting that my non-working ini file had a long microsoft url assigned to a MusicBuyUrl parameter. I seem to remember hitting cancel when I started up media player for the first time, and it asked me what music purchasing service I wanted to use.

  27. Freddy

    Tried nearly everything above, but no results.

    Oddly enough, Yakumo, your method worked. Just clicked rename name typed a random letter. Closed explorer and found that my downloads folder was back to normal. Someone said something about attributes being the problem, so I guess that was what it was.

    Still, this is a great walk-through even if it wasn’t the solution to my icon problem. Easy to read and loaded with pictures =)

  28. rikkit

    I had theis problem… changing the desktop.ini files in pictures and music didn’t work, so I tried the renaming method described above by Yakumo, and it worked! All I had to do was move all my files from the old yellow folder to the new shiny folder. Thanks!

  29. Manny

    Ahahaha wow do I have some problems. 1.I changed the music and picture folder to a different folder so I can change the icon but now in the start up menu you know how there is a side menu where it says pictures and music those don’t work. 2.I realized by changing this it won’t let me browse for pictures. 3.I did the music code thing with the desktop.ndi or what ever and it didn’t work for me also i already have the music file cause i stole it from the guest account and I just realized i didn’t copy it. 4.I tried to do the same thing for pictures but i lost both folders now i only have my custom one and also when i try to reach the notepad for pictures my laptop couldn’t find the destination of the folder. SOME ONE HELP ME!

  30. katelyn

    thanks for this site, but non of it worked…except Yakumo…i tried what you did, and thanks sooooo much!! it worked and thanks, it wasstarting to get really annoying!

  31. Tom

    Believe it or not i’ve only had this laptop for only 2 days and already i’m having this problem.
    Basically whatever i try does not work.
    I have checked and all of the desktop.ini files are correct and everything like that.
    The thing is, I tried the “rename” method, and it reset the name back to “My Music”, but the icon stayed the same as the annoying yellow one, which makes me wonder if i possibly somehow, changed the default file icon as the yellow one? Because absolutely nothing I try has worked.
    If I create a new folder and call it My Music, with the intent of moving all the files over, it automatically changes is to the yellow icon again!! It’s so annoying.
    And you can’t change the icon manually because it wants an image file, not a file icon.
    I hope someone can help me because I am at my wits end!!

  32. Carol

    Well it worked for me. Make sure you copy and pasted ” notepad %USERPROFILE%\music\desktop.ini ” inside the RUN box [ if you pasted in the search box that’s probably why it didnt work for you.] To open the RUN box, type in ” run ” into the start menu search box. When I at first tried typing the notepad blah blah stuff into the start menu search thing it said it couldn’t find the file.

  33. Donald

    This worked great for me.


  34. Will

    Matt’s comment worked perfectly for me! All the others were confusing and did not work. Just simply cut the Music folder into another random folder than paste it back again (for me it automatically went back there)

  35. Asian Man

    Strangely enough, Yakumo’s solution worked for me.

  36. Luis

    Yacumo/Freedy’s solution worked for me Vista/SP1..


  37. jill

    when i paste the command in the start menu it says the file doesnt exist when i try and open it!!!! SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR A ANSWER FOR DAYS NOW!!

  38. Asian man 2

    Thank you so much

  39. Freddie

    I cannot save it because it will not let me. I try to save it and then it tells me that I cannot replace it and I get this.

  40. ..............

    How do i replace icon with a personal picture????? Anyone?

  41. Tomi

    I finally fixed it, for me the downloads folder turned yellow, and I created another folder and named it downloads, and then after I figured that was dumb I deleted it, and it windows deleted both folders! I instantly hit CTRL + Z for undo and it restored both folders but the original downloads folder was fixed YAY!

  42. bilz

    it din’t work

  43. tadgio

    does anyone know how to get the icon to another folder (which isn’t in C:\USERNAME\Music)?

  44. Joao

    That’s great and worked perfectly!!!
    I was suffering with this and your tips help me to solve the problem.

  45. Bronson

    A solution was here that worked very well, just want to reiterate it. It just worked for me.
    Cut the music folder and place it into a different location. Then, move it back using another cut. This works and restores the file icon AFTER DOING THIS PAGE’S FIX!

  46. Madhushanka

    Sample Music.lnk=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21806

    above 2 phrases missing add them….. Sample Music.lnk=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21806 will make your icon back to normal….

  47. Norm

    About Madhushanka’s comment of August 29, 2009 10:37 am, I need more information; please
    give me the exact complete line(s) to insert in the desktop.ini file.

  48. Jay_booney

    There is an easier way to restore the special blue icons. If you find this method does not work for you then try right clicking on the music folder and select properties, from here select the tab “Customize”, then at the bottom of that window click the “Change icon..” button. When the window containing the icons appears, click the “Restore defaults” button and then click “Ok” then “Apply” and it should restore your icon(s) to their blue/green glory. Hope that helps!

  49. chelsea

    This worked… but not for long. I have to repeatedly go back and fix it! So annoying…
    Why is it only my music folder?

  50. Marco

    thanx…..only search “imageres.dll” and found all!
    very very much thanx again.

  51. Carl

    Just Re-name that original folder “My Music” then it should be back

  52. martin

    Thank u so much trying right now

  53. steven

    hey i got a question why does my user folder have a yellow folder icon? i tried using winbubble but it does not change the icon

  54. john shaw

    Renaming the folder…works

  55. Liam Bentham

    I found a way to fix the problem of if the folder properties under customise doesn’t have the icons section. To fix this you can create a new folder in a folder like my videos for example. Name this new folder “Music” Then change the properties of this folder using the icons section to find the Music folder icon, click browse then go to, computer, local disk, windows. Then in the search bar in the top right corner of the screen type “image” then click on the file “imageres.dll”. Next scroll just over half way along all the icons that now should be selectable. The Music folder icon should be there along with the rest of the User icons e.g. “Documents”, “Pictures”. Select the desired icon and click “OK”. Finally you can copy and past all the contents of the original music folder into the new music folder then delete the original music folder and cut and paste the new music folder into the user folder where all the other folders such as “Documents” and “Pictures” should be. The problem should then be fixed.
    Hope this helps,

    Liam Bentham

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