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Folder Background Images in WinXP

This brief tutorial explains how to add a background image to any folder in Windows XP. Really enables you to customize your workflow and experience using WinXP. Estimated time to completion: around 5 minutes (it’s easy).

Step 1

First, make sure all hidden files are visible on your system. Then, open the folder for which you wish to add a background image. Within the folder, right-click and select Properties » Customize tab » Customize. There, choose any icon, click Apply and OK.

Step 2

That process should have created a desktop.ini file. Open that file with a text editor and add these lines of code:

[ExtShellFolderViews]
{BE098140-A513-11D0-A3A4-00C04FD706EC}={BE098140-A513-11D0-A3A4-00C04FD706EC}
[{BE098140-A513-11D0-A3A4-00C04FD706EC}]
IconArea_Image=C:\path\folder\background.jpg

To customize this according to your needs, edit the path in the last line to reflect to the location of the image you wish to use as the background image for that folder. Refresh the folder and the new background should appear.

Step 3

Finally, to remove the default icon chosen during the creation of the desktop.ini and restore the default folder icon, delete these lines of code from within the desktop.ini file:

[.ShellClassInfo]
IconFile=%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll
IconIndex=(some number)

And done! Time for a little break :)

Jeff Starr
About the Author Jeff Starr = Creative thinker. Passionate about free and open Web.
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26 responses
  1. Nice tip but … this njust tiles the image. How about a tip to scale it instead to window size. And aside from that how about some insight into what the long codes mean and how they function?

  2. Jeff Starr

    Bernd,
    Thank you for the feedback. Here are few more tips for you (I sure hope they help!):

    1. Scaling images >> according to virtualplastic.net (404 link removed 2015/12/18):

    The [folder background] image you apply is repeated on the icon area, and there is no way to center or align it.

    ..Although, in that same article the author provides several additional tips that may help you. Perhaps you could employ some sort of image editor to "manipulate" your image into something that works for you..?

    2. Microsoft code >> To be quite honest with you, I have no idea "what the long codes mean and how they function." But if I did, I would definitely share my insights with you, Bernd.

    3. Other resources >> Of course, there is always the internet, which may provide you with additional sources of information. When I went there, I found this article (404 link removed 2015/09/15)

    to be of some help, insofar as the tool provided seemed to automate the process to some relative degree. You may also try searching for a program called Windowpaper XP.

    Good luck, Bernd!

  3. how to Change Windows xp start button Text

  4. Jeff Starr

    Faiz,
    Remember, always search before commenting ;)

  5. i tried, but that doesn’t work. i could’nt find any file named desktop.ini. is there any way to add a background.

  6. Jeff Starr

    Ahmed,
    It is likely that Windows is "hiding" your system files. Go to Tools > Folder Options > View tab and check "Show hidden files and folders". Windows should then display all files, including the desktop.ini file referenced in this article. Then, after you have finished editing, you may return to the View tab and "hide" the system files again.

  7. i have a dark image on my folder and i’ve put this to make the text white IconArea_Text=0xffffffff the problem is that the file’s name continues being black and the only white area of the text is the one that shows the file size and that stuff.

  8. Sorry i fixed it the text should have said IconArea_Text=0x00ffffff

  9. Jeff Starr

    zabu,

    Try this instead:

    ICONAREA_TEXT=16777215

  10. ok thanks. is there a difference?

  11. Jeff Starr

    Yes, in this case, the color "white" is represented in "decimal" notation. For more information on color encoding for the web, check out this article at Wikipedia.

  12. Got the result I was looking for. Thanks for your help.

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