Why Do Some Windows Files and Folder Names Appear in Blue?

Q: Why do some file and folder names show up in blue instead of black in Microsoft Windows?

Blue folder in Windows


A: If file names or folder names show up in blue, it is because file compression or encryption is enabled on that file or folder. Windows automatically compresses files that do not get used frequently, and displays those files in blue. You can change this behavior with the following steps:

Windows 8, 7, & Vista

  1. Open “Control Panel“.
  2. Select “Appearance and Personalization“.
    Win7 Appearance and Personalization settings
  3. Under the “View” tab, uncheck the “Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color” setting in the “Advanced settings” area.
    Windows show compressed or encypted files in color setting


Windows XP

  1. From the file explorer, select the Tools and choose Folder Options.
  2. Click the “View” tab and uncheck the Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color setting in the Advanced settings area. Click OK when finished.


Encryption and Compression Settings

If you want to access the encryption and compression settings on a file or folder, you can right-click the file, then select “Properties” > “Advanced…

Windows file encryption and compression settings


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