Green Explorer Folder?Every now and then, you might get some files from a friend or family member.

Maybe they e-mail them to you, or maybe you copy them over via a USB stick. In any case, the files are often compressed, like in a ZIP file.

So, you dutifully double-click the file, extract it, et voila! You’ve got the files.

There’s only one problem: the extracted files’ and folders’ names are displayed in green text.

Normally, they are black.

What do green folders mean, and how do you make them go away? Read on…


Now, if you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, here are a couple of pics:

Green Folders in XP

Green Folders in XP

Green Folders in Windows 7

Green Folders in Windows 7

Okeydokey. Most often, this happens when you get some compressed files from a Mac user.

Notice the extra (and completely useless to you) __MACOSX folder. You can safely delete this folder.

Nevertheless, you’ve still got a green folder left.

It seems that the reason this folder is green is because Windows has encrypted it for you. Why on earth would it do that?

Well, it’s all related to OS X and file and folder encryption, and Windows doing something semi-stupid when it decompresses said files given to you by your buddy.

In short, Windows seems to re-encrypt the files for you on your system, and thus they appear green in Windows Explorer. Even if you aren’t using any of the built-in Windows encryption shenanigans, it still does this. Annoying, eh?

What’s worse, the next time you reboot, you may get a lovely little reminder that you should save your Windows encryption key to a USB stick, and until you do so, it’ll keep harassing you. Well, just save the darn key file somewhere to make it happy.

But as for those green folders, how do you ungreen them? After all, pictures of your new baby niece really don’t warrant encryption…

It’s quite simple:

  1. Right-click the green folder, and choose Properties
  2. Click the Advanced button
  3. In the Advanced Attributes window that pops up, UNcheck the “Encrypt contents to secure data” checkbox.
  4. Click OK, and when it asks if you’d like to apply this change all files in the folder, say yes.

Do Not Encrypt

That’s it. When it’s done, your folder/files will no longer be green, they will no longer be encrypted, and all will be right with the world.

An extra tip: In the above image, note that there’s also a checkbox for “Compress contents to save disk space”. If you check this box, the contents of the folder will be compressed (which is pretty useless and generally makes things slower). Compressing a folder will make it appear as a blue folder in Windows Explorer.

So, there you have it: You can now make your green and blue folders normal again!

Get Scottie Stuff!