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Q: Blue vs Black appearance of file names in Microsoft Windows ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Blue vs Black appearance of file names in Microsoft Windows
Category: Computers
Asked by: robotboy-ga
List Price: $2.25
Posted: 18 Jun 2005 12:48 PDT
Expires: 18 Jul 2005 12:48 PDT
Question ID: 534608
In Microsoft Windows XP, when you open a window to view the files in a
particular foler (as in "My Documents" or the "Open" window in
Microsoft Word) most of the file names are shown in black font but
occasionally some files are shown in blue font.  What do the different
colors signify about those files?

Clarification of Question by robotboy-ga on 18 Jun 2005 12:57 PDT
I just read online (
that the blue color it means that the file is encrypted or compressed.
 But if I just opened the file shouldn't it become uncompressed and
change back to black?  This doesn't happen.
Subject: Re: Blue vs Black appearance of file names in Microsoft Windows
Answered By: hummer-ga on 18 Jun 2005 13:15 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi robotboy,

It would seem you aren't the only one who has wondered about it.
Here's a much more interesting answer than I could've given...

Compression blues are cured with quick click
By JAMES COATES, Chicago Tribune
Q. "When I open a folder in My Documents, where I use a list to view
the files for some titles, a large number are in blue fonts. What's
up? -- Robert T. Jones
A. I'm here to help you shake off those blues, Mr. J. You or someone
near and/or dear to you called up the properties of one of the files
in that folder and set it to be automatically compressed by Windows XP
to save drive space.
Blue is the color Microsoft aptly chose to represent squeezing the
last bit of air out of a file.
So pick one of the files in question and right-click with your mouse.
There will be a Properties choice at the bottom of the pop-up menu
this summons. Properties brings up a tabbed menu to alter various
aspects of the file or folder, including making a file "read only" or
checking an attribute box to show that the file has been opened.
An "Advanced" button brings up a panel with a choice to compress the
file or folder to save disk space. If you right-click a folder instead
of a file, you will get an option to compress all the files in that
folder and any subfolders.
This option is turned off by default, so a user must have altered your
computer's settings. The reason you have some black file names along
with the blue is that they were added after the compression was
ordered elsewhere."

Here's a shorter version...

"Hi, I was just wondering why all of a sudden some of the file names
in Windows Explorer appear in blue font. It's kind of disconcerting
not knowing the reason for this development."
"Blue files are compressed files. They got that way when you ran the
disk cleanup utility and choose to compress old or rarely used files."

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please post a
clarification request *before* closing/rating my answer and I'll be
happy to reply.

Thank you,

Google Search Terms Used:  

xp my documents folder blue black file names
xp my documents "blue file name"
robotboy-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Now I know. Thanks!

Subject: Re: Blue vs Black appearance of file names in Microsoft Windows
From: hummer-ga on 19 Jun 2005 07:41 PDT
You're welcome, robotboy, and thank you too. I'm sorry, I didn't see
your clarification before I posted my answer, I guess I had it locked
when you posted it. Actually, blue is compressed files and green is
encrypted files.

Window Explorer, "Click Tools > Folder Options > View > Advanced
settings: Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color."

Displaying Compressed Files in Color
You can change the display of files and folders that are compressed in
Windows Explorer and My Computer, so it is easy to see them.
Control Panel / View / check or uncheck the Show encrypted or
compressed NTFS files in color check box.;en-us;307987&Product=winxp#5


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