Folder Icons Missing in Windows Explorer

I’ve just “upgraded” my local NAS from a 8TB Netgear ReadyNAS to a 16TB MyCloud EX4, solely for more disk space, no problems with the ReadyNAS at all.  My NAS is used only for shared directories on local Windows systems, thus I’ve simplified the config on the EX4 to just what I need for that, and specifically have disabled all unneeded services, including cloud services.  I’ve mapped network drive letters to various folders on the EX4 in the same way I’ve done so with the ReadyNAS, and fundamentally there are no problems with using the additional storage.

My problem is this:  For quick visual keys while traversing the directory trees on the ReadyNAS with Windows Explorer, I’ve customized the folder icons (properties > customize > change icon) in the usual way.  Windows accomplishes this by adding an entry in the hidden Desktop.ini text file on local folders with an entry such as:


Note that the %ALLUSERSPROFILE% environment variable points to a folder on local disk C: (and, just for the record, using a specific reference such as C:<path><filename>.ico behaves identically).  Once the Desktop.ini file is created, Windows Explorer displays the specified icon for the folder as opposed to the default icon from shell32.dll.  If you copy such a folder, including its Desktop.ini file, from a local disk (eg C: ) to a mapped NAS drive (eg M: ), Windows Explorer subsequently displays the icon there too.

This mechanism works properly on the ReadyNAS but simply fails to do so on the new EX4.   Folders with non-default icons, when copied to the EX4, simply do not display anything but the Windows default folder icon.   Note that the only variable here is the Netgear NAS vs the WD NAS, and the behavior is repeatable across numerous Windows systems on my LAN.

Now I’ve spent a significant amount of time customizing the icons for folders on the directory trees on both my local and mapped drives, so  I am sorely disappointed that this fails on the new WD EX4.  I’ve cruised the EX4 setup options but see nothing relevant there at all.  I’d really like to find that there is some obscure switch setting on the EX4 to correct the behavior, tho I fear that correction will require a firmware patch.  Currently I’m on the latest firmware - v1.02.25.

I have not yet contacted WD Tech Support with this, thought I’d try the User Forums first in case anyone there has noticed the same behavior and found a workaround.  So any help or suggestions would be welcome.  Thanks in advance.

Are the properties of the folder same for the two instances?

What happens if you go into properties window and choose customize to change the icon for the given folder?

Does it then display the icon correctly or not even after you do the manual customization?

If I copy a tree of folders with proper icons from a local disk (C: ) to the EX4, the Desktop.ini files are there but the icons are not displayed.  Ditto if I copy the same tree to the Netgear NAS, the icons ARE displayed properly.  So yes, the folders (and all contents) are identical.

FYI, Windows Explorer does not display the [Change Icon] button in the (properties > customize) dialog for ANY network folders (on other Windows hosts or NAS servers) tho the icons indicated in the Desktop.ini file in such folders are displayed correctly.  Thus the extra step of creating a folder on a local drive and copying it to the remote (NAS or otherwise) for the desired effect.  One can also explicitly write an Desktop.ini file into a remote folder, sidestepping Windows Explorer, but at the time the remote file is closed apparently the local Explorer task does not actually read the new Desktop.ini and act on it.  So coaxing Explorer to (re-)read the remote Desktop.ini IS necessary before the icon is subsequently displayed.  This seems to be a Windows glitch related to optimizing network behavior and is NOT the specific problem that I am describing.  Which is…once Explorer HAS (re-)read the Desktop.ini file, local or remote, it displays the proper icon…except on the EX4.

Bottom line, the only difference that I seem to have any control over is Netgear vs Western Digital NAS.

Anyone from WD have any thoughts?  Again TIA.

What is the file system type on your netgear NAS?

Does it make any difference if you mapped the network share as a drive letter in Windows Explorer and then try customizing the folders?

Both Netgear and WD file systems are listed as NTFS in properties.

Both Netgear and WD file systems are mapped drives, tho the behavior is the same even if they are not.

lbruns wrote:

Both Netgear and WD file systems are listed as NTFS in properties.


Both Netgear and WD file systems are mapped drives, tho the behavior is the same even if they are not.



Please look at the following document:

Page# 3, under file system column, it states:

“EXT4 for internal HDD”

for internal HDD, the file system in use for Ex4 should be EXT4.

Can you verify the same and check for both systems and verify what the supported file system settings are for Ex4 and netgear NAS?


Windows expects the desktop.ini file to have specific attributes in order to trigger processing the file.

IIRC, it must be marked as SYSTEM / HIDDEN.

Do this both on the ReadyNAS and the EX4…

Copy the folders as you describe.

Open a CMD prompt (as administrator)

Issue the command

attrib [letter]:\path\to\file\desktop.ini

The desktop.ini file must have the attributes “SH”

What are the attributes of the EX4’s copy versus the ReadyNAS’s properties?

Is it the same on both EX4 and ReadyNAS?

Hi TonyPh,

I’m having the exact same problem as the OP with my new My Cloud 3TB. When I copy folders over to the NAS, my custom icons do not show. When I investigate the attributes of Desktop.ini as you suggest, I find the file does not have “SH”, only “A”. However, it seems I can’t change the attributes of this or any other file on the NAS, either thru Explorer or the command line. I do have full read/write access to these files (I edited/saved a file to check) - so shouldn’t I be able to change attributes? Pls let me know if you have any ideas?

Yeah, it looks like the EX4 Samba configuration doesn’t map the System and Hidden attribute bits, which is common in other Samba servers.

You might be able to edit the Samba config on the EX4 to do this, but I don’t know how well that’d work or if the changes would survive reboots / upgrades / etc.

You could also call WD Tech Support and open a report and see if they consider it a bug.

Hmm… I guess that’s why my icons don’t show up then. I see I can set a custom thumbnail pic on NAS folders, so maybe I’ll try that and then just always use thumbnail view when browsing the NAS. Thanks for the help.

I would call customer service anyway.  They tend to be more responsive there than the forums, and are more likly to seek resolution / patch.