Why can't I see the content.outlook folder in Windows Explorer?

Spawned into a new thread from an old one:

I have Show hidden files, folders, and drives ON, and the 3 hides turned off. In Windows Explorer, I cannot see the folder C:\Users\"userid"\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\. Apprently a subfolder of this is the folder used to cache PDF files opened from outlook.

From Content.Outlook I can see the subfolder. I just cannot see Content.Outlook from Temporary Internet Files.

I can see it from Adobe (as a default save location) for a PDF opened from Outlook, and I can see it from a command prompt. To get to it in Explorer, I have to type it into the address bar.

Once I add Content.Outlook in the address bar, I can see the folder listed in the navigation pane on the left, but it still does not appear in the list on the right. You can then navigate through to the subfolder. If you exit Explorer and come back, and it no longer sees Content.Outlook.

Content.Outlook never is visible in the file & folder list.

Is something malfunctioning, or are there folders that are not viewable even when you have your system set to view everything?

I have tried a clean boot, and run a sfc /scannow on my system, with no change.


Waseemulla Shariff from the Windows 7: Files Folders and Search forum seems to think that it is an issue with Outlook, and directed me to repost the issue here.




And I actually stumbled across the answer.

It isn't the hidden attribute.

It isn't the system attribute.

It isn't Outlook and their super-duper security you shouldn't be asking about.

It isn't even the file system, which had been my thinking.

It is the desktop.ini file in the Temporary Internet Files folder.

It contains:


Apparently this gets translated by the OS to view the folder as a History folder. This both removes the folder from search, and modifies how information in the folder is treated and displayed in Explorer. The file is Archived, hidden, system, and since a history folder apparently has it's own special properties on how it behaves, it now makes sense in the scheme of things.

Can't say that I knew anything about history folders. In retrospect, I can recall running across folders that showed files in unusual layouts. I just never would have connected that to weird behavior of recognizing folders.


Question: Why does the content.outlook folder in ways that don't make sense?

Answer: Because the desktop.ini file in the folder tells the OS to treat the folder as a "history" folder which normally acts in the strange way described. If you edit the file and remove the UICLSID line, it treats it like a normal directory. If you delete the file, it does the same, but the desktop.ini file returns on reboot.

Obscure, but makes sense. Didn't know it could do that.

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Question Info

Last updated November 30, 2020 Views 21,611 Applies to: