Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Program Icons Shouldn’t Look Like System Folder Icons (and while you are at it, lets not name filenames with file extensions)

Posted by William Diaz on March 6, 2013


It confuses the users. Normal folder icon in Windows Explorer:
image

Then digging down into the folder the user encounters another folder:
image

Its described correctly as an Application but the average user is probably not going to distinguish the difference between a real Windows system folder icon and a program folder icon and completely ignore the description field telling them it is an application. And so they then try to open the folder and encounter:
image

Ack! Then the help desk wonders, “Ok, so missing config file somewhere, right?”. Nope, its right there, but it has been named to BillsArchive.exe. File extensions are turned off in Explorer and no one really pays any attention to the description (right?) so they don’t notice that the filename is really BillsArchive.exe.config.

By the way, the program icon folder looks almost exactly the same as a Windows XP system folder icon:
image
Bottom line is program icons shouldn’t look like system folder icons. This is also a great way for malware to execute itself by simply looking like some harmless folder named “Pictures”, or whatever.

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