Vista – Desktop.ini files shown on the desktop

Q: I have enabled the Show hidden files and folders setting in the Folder Options. Now, the two Desktop.ini icons are now showing on the desktop. I know that one comes from the C:\Users\Public\Desktop, the other comes from the current users Desktop folder. How do I hide them whilst still keeping other hidden files and folder visible?

A: The two desktop.ini files by default have the System, Hidden and Read-only attributes assigned. So they should not be showing on the Desktop unless the following option is disabled in Folder Options:

Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)

When I faced this problem in my own computer running Windows Vista, the option Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) was already enabled. Later I found that the ShowSuperHidden value was not present in the registry, but its corresponding GUI option Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) is enabled though. This sounds like a bug to me.


I then got this working by opening Folder Options (by typing CONTROL FOLDERS in Start – Search box), unchecked Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) and clicked Apply. Then re-checked the option and clicked Apply, OK.

The two desktop.ini files are no longer visible on the Desktop.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in Windows — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP (2003-2012) who contributes to various Windows support forums.

11 thoughts on “Vista – Desktop.ini files shown on the desktop”

  1. I was dumb enough to completely remove them from the desktop without saving a back up of the two ini files first! *facepalm* , now my desktop is acting weird some time after booting, resulting in ‘focus loss’ of the icons in the system tray so that you can’t double click on them to open programs/what not.

    Really frustrating.

    Is there a way to get them on the desktop again, back-up somewhere to be found in the windows directory or online? Am using vista home premium 32 bit.



  2. Neither Vista nor 7 are actual ‘upgrades’ to XP. They’re both crummier OSes shoved down our throats by a company that’s too dumb to see that they had a good thing with XP , but were unable to figure out how to make any more money from it.

    The fact that you cannot ‘Show Hidden Files’ w/o having two annoying desktop.ini icons show up is just one of many examples.

  3. didn’t work for me 🙁 I have Windows 7 Ultimate…

    checked the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) then apply… uncheck again (click yes in the question box), and when press apply the file shows up again in the desktop 🙁

    Anyone knows what might be going on?

  4. Brilliant! You have a working solution (for Win7) where lots of other sites offer ineffective (and elaborate) ‘fixes’. Thanks!

  5. I know this is old news but I don’t care.

    @ bob’s comment
    I agree 100%. People that think seven/vista are better and run faster or make there PC better are just dumb and don’t know how software works at all. “$h1T runs down hill”… It gets harder and harder to make software run faster. If it was the other way around we would be able to run the newest OS’s on the oldest of hardware because that OS would be faster than the last one. So this is message to all the dumb people out there who buy into what ol M$ tells you to believe… Why do you think the system requirements for vista are higher than XP? Or why sevens requirements are higher than even vista? Because they are !!!SLOWER!!!. DERP

    @ .s’s comment
    Yeah…. WTF is wrong with all the people that say thank you for this? it doesn’t answer the question at all. Are those people so dumb that they don’t know what they changed in their own PC? The view is set to *NOT* show these files by default, so *YOU* had to have changed something to make them appear. change it back, it’s not rocket science.

    Those of us that are not complete dumb-asses already know this and are not having the same problem. It was the last line of the question at the top Ramesh… did you even read it ?


    The best solution I have found for THIS problem is to enable multiple desktops on other display adapters, like your Mobo’s on board GFX card, and then just move the files “off the screen”. But this is not professional at all. A better solution would be to redirect where the OS looks for these files and move them there. But I’m REALLY REALLY lazy. Some one else should edit the registry to do this and post it somewhere.

  6. In the original question said they enabled “Show hidden files and folders”, this is not the same as “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)”. You can still have “Show hidden files and folders” checked and select to “Hide protected operating system files” simultaneously. So Oblivion was obviously Oblivious when he said

    “Those of us that are not complete dumb-asses already know this and are not having the same problem. It was the last line of the question at the top Ramesh… did you even read it ?


    because obviously you didn’t even read it. Thanks for the fix Ramesh.

  7. Doesn’t work in Win7 (not sure what the other Win7 users are smoking). As soon as I click “OK” the desktop.ini icons reappear on the desktop (but not after clicking “Apply”, oddly). Stupid Microslop can’t even code buttons properly…

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