Yesterday I had a rather complicated technical problem to solve. Would post the whole story if it weren't so extensive…
Long story short, I repaired Windows XP using the original installation CD. I noticed that the position of nearly all files, inside the folders, were wrong or set on automatic sort by name.
To avoid confusion, what I mean by position is the
(x,y) coordinate where the file's icon exists, within a given folder, and not the actual physical location in the MBR.
I asked this question in chat and besides the former, someone suggested that the positions are stored in desktop.ini, which, AFAIK, is stored on a folder-by-folder basis.
It makes some sense that the repair process also restored the
desktop.ini files to their initial setting. However, after repairing the Windows installation, I restored
C:\Documents and Settings from another system (long story here).
As soon as I accessed the system, the file's positions were exactly the same as before… except, the
C:\Program Files and many other folders had their settings restored. What boggles me now is that I didn't restore
C:\, so a
desktop.ini file wouldn't be there.
As I also have a guest account activated, I noticed I viewed the positions in a different way that my main (admin) account.
The question here is Where does Windows store this attribute, for a specific folder?
My current hypothesis is that it is a a set of user definitions, stored somewhere on
C:\Documents and Settings, but on my searches I haven't found anything about user profiles and this attribute.
Note: As I was writing the question I replaced the word location to position in the post and I got some new information (some new question matches appeared) that might help anyone who tries to answer this:
- Where does Windows store icon positions?
- The accepted answer (and the question, albeit the title doesn't refer the desktop) refers a registry key, in HKCU, that controls the positions.
- Where is the Windows Registry Files stored?
individual users settings are located at %UserProfile%\Ntuser.dat, which hints that HKCU keys are stored in there.