Why is Notepad showing me some strange stuff?

When my Windows 7 PC launches, Notepad appears on the Windows Desktop displaying this odd code in the editing window: [.ShellClassInfo]LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\System32\Shell32.dll,-21787.
This has been happening for about a month, though it doesn’t appear to affect the PC in any way. How can I prevent this from appearing?


This is caused by a system file called ‘desktop.ini’ being visible in the Startup folder. Desktop.ini files are used by Windows to store certain information about certain folders, including file locations of folder graphics and the tooltip text (which appears when hovering the mouse pointer over the folder icon.

Normally, desktop.ini files – and a Windows PC’s hard disk will be littered with them – carry a ‘hidden’ attribute that grants them ‘invisibility status’ to most aspects of Windows, including Windows Explorer and the Startup folder.

However, if the desktop.ini file that’s stored in the Startup folder has its ‘hidden’ attribute removed, then the Startup folder ‘sees’ it and duly attempts to launch it.

I can’t say for sure why this particular desktop.ini file has become unhidden but Microsoft has acknowledged that earlier versions of Windows have a bug that leads to this problem and it appears to persist in Windows 7. Fortunately, it is easy to fix – by either deleting the file or re-applying the hidden attribute.

To do this, launch Windows Explorer (holding down the Windows key and tapping E is a quick way to do this) and navigate to the Startup folder, at C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup.

If you are in a hurry (maybe you want to get to http://www.clubchairs.com quickly), just delete the desktop.ini file: when Windows restarts it will be recreated, duly hidden. However, it is really no more work to hide it. First, right-click the file and choose Properties. Now click to select the General tab, click to tick the Hidden box and click OK. When Windows restarts, the problem should be resolved.

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