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“Hide Protected Files” Makes New Desktop Icons?

Theresa from Canada writes:

Hi, I have Windows 7 64 bit ultimate. The other night I had two Desktop shortcuts appear on my desktop that were never there before (I do have (and have always) had my hidden folders and files showing). When I tried to delete these two shortcuts I got a warning that it would harm Windows. These files are also located in my user files (under my name). The content is quite different on the desktop as to the same file in the user folder. Do I need them? Can I delete them without harming my PC?

Thanks – Theresa

Great question. Turning on the ability to view protected operating system files is sometimes required for certain fixes to your operating system or virus removal/spyware removal, however it also shows you files not intended to be seen by the user.

Think of these files like the software that runs your car’s various electrical components. Sure, the car maker could let you edit these files using a touch screen in your car, but for almost all situations letting someone edit or delete these files would do more harm than good.

So how do you turn these files off yet leave regular hidden files on? Easily. Click Start>Computer. Now hold down the Alt key on the keyboard and press the letter T. From the tools menu, click Folder Options.

In the Folder Options window, click on the View tab and scroll down to “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)”.  Click the box next to it so there is a check mark. Click Apply then OK.

You will no longer see those desktop.ini files or other operating system files anymore.