Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Giving any Folder in Windows Explorer a Backdrop

About a week ago, I get an email from a good friend of mine, Bob. Bob recently upgraded to Windows XP (tisk tisk) from Windows 98. I couldn't believe he'd been using Windows 98 for so long! Whatever happened to Windows 2000? Even (gasp) ME?!

Anyways, he came to me with a problem. Bob had been using backdrops in Windows Explorer to help him easily identify folders. In Windows 98, you simply went into the advanced folder properties and chose a backdrop file and life was all good.

Apparently, the designers of Windows XP decided that this feature wasn't used that much, perhaps it was for geeks like Bob, and not for the general public. Well, I did some hunting around and found a PC World article entitled Windows Tips: Simplify Your Windos Desktop Cleanup Chores. This article explained exactly how to do what Bob was looking for!

Let me sumarize the steps here:

  1. In the folder you wanted a backdrop, create a file called desktop.ini, if it already exists, just edit it.

  2. Copy the picture you want to use as your backdrop in the form of a .bmp or .jpg into the folder.

  3. Open the desktop.ini file and type in the following text:


    Where {filename}.jpg is the name of your file in the current folder and 0x00000000 is in the form of 0x00RRGGBB where RR is a hex number from 0-255 indicating how much red there is, GG for Green, BB for blue. (i.e. the above is black and 0x00FFFFFF is white). This indicates the colour of the text for the files and folders that show up in this special folder.

  4. Mark desktop.ini and filename.jpg as hidden (so you don't have to look at them)

  5. in the command window, change directories to the folder directly above the folder you want to have the background image and type the following:

    attrib +s {folder}

And you're all finished!

Now when you use Windows Explorer to browse to that folder, you'll see the background image you wanted! Hopefully this makes your system a little more customized.