Windows Custom Folder Icons Surprise

One thing I love about my Mac is the ability to set the color of a folder. I’m in the habit of naming folders for various stages of my workflow: CE (copyedit), QC1 (first set of galleys), and QC2 (second set of galleys), and by coloring the current stage green, I’m less likely to accidentally open ch01.pdf from the wrong stage. Additionally, whenever I have something I know I need to remember at a given stage, I can go into the folder, mkdir or touch “Do not forget to blah blah blah” and color the new item red so I see it when I finally reach that stage.

Now that I’m using Windows a bit more, I miss that feature. I tried to use a custom folder icon, but all hell broke loose when I tried to sync to my Mac using unison. First of all, Windows marks the folder as read-only when you use a custom icon. Then, unison dutifully propagates the property change over to my Mac, which changes the folder permisions to r-xr-xr-x, so I start getting errors from unison along the lines of “Failed: Error in processing a transfer instruction: Permission denied”.

So, I can mark the directory as read/write, but according that KB entry, “Windows sets the read-only attribute on the folder to instruct Windows to look for the Desktop.ini file.” How strange. Isn’t there some metadata attribute that Windows could use rather than overloading the read-only flag?

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