Interoperability issue: Undocumented flag on NTFS directories allows or disallows translation of directory name and files within it

Jonas Olsson lexicon at
Mon Aug 2 16:56:36 GMT 2004

I am sending this message to the samba-technical list since it seems to
be a future interoperability issue if translation on filenames and
directories is supposed to work on Samba shares.


I have come across a rather interesting problem while attempting to
create an English / Swedish multilingual environment in Windows XP Pro
based on the Multilingual User Interface (MUI) pack for XP.

A new feature for the Windows XP MUI pack is that it translates even
the start menu icons. I am trying to mimic this behaviour by editing
the 'desktop.ini' file which contains references to language strings
contained in EXE or DLL files to dynamically translate filenames and
directory names to the current GUI language of the logged in user.

For example, the 'desktop.ini' file in Start Menu\Programs\Games looks
like this:

--- snip ---

   more filename=translation strings
Internet Backgammon.lnk=@C:\PROGRA~1\MSNGAM~1\Windows\bckgres.dll,-1212


--- snip ---

The first section maps filenames in the current directory to string
values in the referenced DLL files. The second section does the same
for the current directory.

This has the advantage that the path to the actual shortcut always
stays the same no matter what user interface the user has chosen,
while the name of the shortcut is translated into a localized version
before being displayed to the user through the start menu or the


However, I discovered that no translation took place for newly created
menu groups created under the start menu. I tried using the same
'desktop.ini' and the same shortcut names, all without result. After
experimentation it turned out that you can only achieve directory and
filename translation in certain directories, for example all the
pre-created menu groups under the start menu.

The 'translation = enabled' flag is set per directory. It is possible
to copy one of XP's pre-created menu groups to another directory on
the local harddisk, clear it of all its contents, create a new
desktop.ini file in it and new shortcuts and achieve translation on

Doing the same operation on a directory that I created myself had no
effect on translation of neither the directory name nor any of the
filenames in it.

I also tried mapping another XP workstation's local C: to a local
drive letter. Copying a directory with the translation flag set to
this remote drive preserved the translation flag and enabled
translation of the directory and its files on the remote
workstation. The translation also took place when viewing the remote
directory from my local workstation over the mapped drive.

Performing the same operation with a Samba share as target stripped
the copied directory of its translation flag and disabled further

I have been unable to find any documentation on this issue. Indeed, I
can't find any mention of this special flag in any of the API calls
used to create or manipulate directories under Win32. An extra note is
that xcopy does not preserve the translation flag. Explorer does
preserve the flag and so does my test Python script which uses Win32
API calls for copying directories recursively.

Anyone with further information on this?

  /Jonas Olsson

More information about the samba-technical mailing list