Add detailed pop-up descriptions to folder icons in Windows XP

Learn to add more details to folder information when you hover your mouse over the file.

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When you hover your mouse pointer over a folder icon, you see a pop-up that contains the folder's size and the names of the first few files or folders it contains. There are cases when this information, along with the folder's name, is helpful in identifying the folder's contents; however, there are other times when you have to open the folder to really see what's in it.

You can add a detailed explanation about the folder's contents to the pop-up by creating a Desktop.ini file, which is a straight text file, and adding a special entry to it. In order for this technique to work, you have to assign an icon to the folder. Here's how:

  1. Right-click the folder and select Properties.
  2. From the Properties dialog box, select the Customize tab, and then click the Change Icon button.
  3. In the Change Icon dialog box, select an icon from the selections and click OK.
  4. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box.
  5. Open the folder, locate the Desktop.ini file, and double-click it.
  6. Add InfoTip= to the end of the Desktop.ini file.
  7. Type your detailed description immediately after the = sign.
  8. Go to File | Save and close Notepad.

You'll see your detailed pop-up description the next time you mouse over that folder.

Note: If you don't see a pop-up when you mouse over a folder, you need to enable a couple of settings. Go to Tools | Folder Options and then select the View tab. Then, in the Advanced Settings list, select the check boxes for Display File Size Information In Folder Tips and Show Pop-Up Description For Folder And Desktop Items. Click OK.

By Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.