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

Jonas Olsson lexicon at
Tue Aug 3 09:46:20 GMT 2004

On Mon, 2 Aug 2004, Jonas Olsson wrote:

> 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.


> Problem:
> 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.

*sigh* Some days you shouldn't get out of bed. We thought we checked all
available file attributes but somehow we managed to overlook the read-only
flag that was set on all directories where translation worked.

A few lines of script later and I was able to verify that it was indeed
the read-only flag on the directory that controls whether or not the
directory and its contents are translated by desktop.ini entries.

The reason that xcopy didn't produce translating directories is of course
that it doesn't preserve the read-only flags on directories. Neither does
a Samba share.

  /Jonas Olsson

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