The desktop.ini file is a system file in Windows that dictates the way folders and other files appear. It allows for customization, such as changing a file's standard icon, preventing a folder from being shared and modifying the text that appears when the mouse cursor is over a folder.
When the desktop.ini file is missing or deleted, folders and files revert to the preset systemwide setting for appearance and behavior. Other INI files exist in Windows to assign properties and attributes to other types of files. Also known as Windows initialization files, these files are plain-text files that can be created and viewed with simple text editors.