Here was an interesting little conversation that took place on one of our internal discussion lists today:

One person was trying to back up his documents directory. So, he'd use Robocopy to copy the files over. For example, he would use the following command line:

robocopy c:\users\<username>\documents e:\documentsbackup-january

Then, he'd click over to this directory in Windows Explorer, and he couldn't see e:\documentsbackup-january, he would see e:\documents.

Huh?

To find out what is going on, you'll have to view some hidden system files. From Windows Explorer, select Organize -> Folder and Search Options. On the View tab, select the option to show hidden files and uncheck the option to hide protected operating system files. Now, in the documents directory, right click on desktop.ini and select edit. Here is mine:

[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21770
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-112
IconFile=%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll
IconIndex=-235

The LocalizedResourceName is what is making things interesting here. No matter what you call this directory, Explorer is going to display the LocalizedResourceName.

That's handy when you don't live in the US. You see, on Windows Vista, we don't give different names to directories based on locale. c:\program files is always c:\program files. It doesn't matter what locale you are sitting in. But if you don't speak English, you'd probably prefer to see this in your own language. That's what this desktop.ini option will do for you.

This is a change from what we did in the past. Say you are from Germany. On Windows XP, you had c:\programme. That's not where program files actually live any more. To keep applications working, we have a directory junction there, and to keep explorer showing you want you understand, we have the localized name.

But this can mess you up when you're making copes that include this desktop.ini and you want to rename it. Delete the desktop.ini file, and things will probably begin to make more sense to you.