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Explorer: Remove background on folders in thumbnail view

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I'm not 100% sure on this one... but I think folder icons are in Shell32.dll... so if you can replace the iconset for folders in Shell32.dll.. one blank icon in position for thumbnail folder resides, you should be able to remove it.

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Thanks for your answer iGo.

I looked into c:windowssystem32shell.dll with ResHack.

Under 'Icon' I found 27 and 28 contain the same image as displayed in the background window:


So, I'm completely new to ResHack, but my instincts tell me to create a transparent image in Photoshop, save it as *.ico file and try to replace these two.

The thing is, When I rightclick them (27 & 28) and select replace icon the Dialogwindow in the front pops up, and that looks like a completely different icon to me..?

I was thinking I'd just try and replace it with the *.ico file I was talking about earlier, but I wanted to check in with you guys and see if you had any 'heads-up' on things I could screw up.

Further guestions:

* What resolution should the ico be in? 48x48?

* I realize backing up the shell32.dll file is a clever thing to do, but do I have to disable file protection or something like that?

* UPDATE 1 *

I read this over at Winmatrix and decided to give it a go. So I opened shell32.dll in IcoFX and extracted IconGroup 4 which contained the different icons that got me confused earlier in the post. I erased the pixels from the 96x96 icons (which were the ones that looked like the folder I want to remove) and saved the ico, imported it back into shell32.dll with ResHack and added the new dll file to my system with Replacer. So, I rebooted, rebuilt my Icon Cache and the result:

Didn't do shit :(

Just to check I opened the shell32.dll with IcoFX and extracted Group 4 to check if Replacer had done it's job, and sure enough, the 96x96 folders were blank.

Any ideas?

* Update 2 *

Apparently, this doesn't work if you've enabled caching of thumbnails. If you disable this (Folder Options-> View files->Do not cache thumbnails) it will work :)

* Update 3 ("The final how-to") *


I've attached the modified shell32.dll to make this operation easy if you want to try it:

1. Replace your c:windowssystem32shell32.dll using Replacer with the attached one (remember to backup your original)

2. Reboot

3. Rebuild Icon Cache (with TweakUI or Folder2Ico)

4. Disable caching of thumbnails (Folder Options->View files->Do not cache thumbnails)

I've also included the shell32.ico if you think it's safer to ResHack shell32.dll yourself, otherwise, you don't really need it.

Hm, attachment is not working, I put it on putfile (will disappear after 30 days if noone is available to attach it for me or host it)


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That gray border is a part of the classic windows colorscheme. One of the colors Xp uses for windows colors is also associated with that gray frame broder. Change the color of that to white and u can get "rid" of it. If you run windowblinds it can be edited in the themes config file under Colours section.

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I did some research on how to remove the (gray) borders as well, here's how you do it:

1. Enter Display Properties (rightclick desktop)

2. Click the Appearance tab

3. Click Advanced

4. Select 3D Objects from the dropdown menu

5. Select the same color you use for a background in the explorer window in the box titled Color 1 (In my case that was white)

That should do it. Unfortunately this also changes alot of other things, and that might not fit with your visual style. (It didn't in my case) If anyone else comes up with a different solution that would be great

PS- how reliable is this?.... as in, do they ever revert back? or is it totally permanent?

I've been using this "hack" for over a month now, and never experienced a glitch. Running smoothly as ever...

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  • 1 month later...

Hey warius!

Thanks a lot for the how-to to get rid of this kind of background in the thumbnail view.

I had the flyakite installed and had a blue folder background which matched. Now I installed a Bricopack with Vista Inspirat 2, and the blue background folder didn't changed. I looked up in the shell, and saw a yellow background, so the shell was ok. I just had to set the folder option "do not cache thumbnails" disabled. It changed immediately. Thanks a lot for posting this "how-to"!!!

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So it doesn't work at all with cached thumbnails? What I'm thinking is that they can be enabled, but that you delete the thumbs.db file that's in every directory, this will rebuild the thumbnail preview. Furthermore, once the new thumbnail is cached, it'll remain modded?

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