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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:


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:

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.
26 responses
  1. Jeff Starr

    You’re quite welcome — glad to be of service!

  2. How to center a folder background? Please tell me as soon as possible

  3. can we make the background stretch and does not repeat itself???

  4. Jeff Starr

    P0t3nk and asd:

    As far as I know, Windows XP provides no native method for applying such properties to the background images displayed in folders.

    However, using your favorite image-editing software and a little imagination, creating a workable solution should be relatively simple.

    Good luck ;)

  5. CandyShopGirl October 9, 2007 @ 12:52 am


    What do you think about love? >:)

  6. Jeff Starr

    Wow — good question..
    I think that God is love, and that in order to know love, we must first know God. ;)
    Thanks for the stimulating comment!

  7. Thank you for the help I downloaded a little program that did this for me however I prefer to do it the old fashioned way. It just seems more stable to me. Thank you for the information. I feel a little more reassured about this program now that I know what it is doing.Oh, the name is IESHWIZ I dont sponsor website so do a search and see if you like it. It is automated but for some computers you may not have the privelege to change certain settings mabey this will let you get through that problem. Good Luck, and Happy Coding.

  8. Jeff Starr

    Trey, thanks for the heads up on IESHWIZ. Something like that may be just the ticket for quite a few folks. I totally agree with you, however, about preferring “the old fashioned way” of tweaking Windows. Any opportunity to avoid the installation of yet another unnecessary software program is most welcome, especially when direct configuration is possible. Thanks for the feedback! ;)

  9. i have a question about the desktop.ini… how could you be permanent in the usb.. ive seen this before in my friends usb.. w/out changing the address of an usb ..tnx..hope you can help me about this..

  10. Jeff Starr

    I am not exactly sure as to what you are referring. Frankly, I am not certain that I could answer the question even if you had been crystal clear.. Have you tried searching around on Google? Sorry I couldn’t offer more help.

  11. borneo headhunter January 29, 2008 @ 6:56 am

    is there by chance a code to make the background image fixed while scrolling?

  12. enche rajoo February 22, 2008 @ 6:31 am

    ive show hidden file,but there no desktop.ini…izit any ways i can create desktop.ini?

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