What are Desktop.ini files in Windows 10, and how to hide them

By: Ivan Jenic
3 minute read

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One of the mysteries Windows users may occasionally face is the presence of a desktop.ini file on their Desktop. In fact, desktop.ini usually shows in form of two identical .ini files sitting on our Windows 10 Desktop.

Since the majority of users don’t know what these files are, some people usually perceive them as a virus, or some kind of a dangerous script that can destroy their data. However, desktop.ini files are nothing like that, and in this article, we’re going to talk about this type of files, whether they’re dangerous or not, and how to prevent them from showing up.

What are the .ini files?

First things first, .ini files in Windows are not a script, or some kind of dangerous virus that’s going to eat your data. They’re just inert, text files that contain configuration data used by various programs. Most of these files contain data like system file locations, or windows files, required by a certain programs to run. You can open any .ini file with Notepad to see what it contains.

Here’s what a .ini file usually contains:

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

Almost every program installed on your computer requires a .ini file to run properly. So, even if you delete a .ini file, the program that used it will create it again.

Ini files are usually hidden, and the only reason you’re seeing them right now is because you’ve set File Explorer to “Show hidden files.” In short words, .ini files have always been present on your computer, you just weren’t able to see them.

Why are .ini files present on my Desktop?

If .ini files are used by apps, programs, and folders, how come my Desktop shows them? Well, Desktop is just another folder on your computer that’s unique for every user account. Actually, there are two Desktop folders in your computer, the one from your user files, and the one from the public folder. The Desktop you’re seeing on your computer is a combination of these two folders. Therefore, there are two Desktop.ini files, for each Desktop folder.

Deleting Desktop.ini files is not advisable, although it can’t cause any serious damage to your computer. Anyway, it’s safer to just hide them.

If seeing .ini files on your Desktop and File Explorer is annoying to you, just change a few settings, and these files will be hidden again. If you don’t know how to do that, keep reading this article.

How to hide desktop.ini files o Windows 10

Now that we know what .ini files are, let’s see what we can do to make the disappear. So, here’s what you need to do (you can use the same method to see .ini files, just do the opposite steps):

  1. Go to Search, type folder options, and open File Explorer Options
  2. Head over to the View tab
  3. Check the “Don’t show hidden files, folder, or drives“, and check the”Hide protected operating system files” option.desktop.ini windows 10
  4. Click OK.

There you go, after performing this action, you won’t be seeing Desktop.ini, or any other files of this kind anymore.

We hope that you now understand what .ini files are, and that there’s no reason to fear your computer security has been compromised if you notice them. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, just let us know in the comments below.

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