View Full Version : Two Index.dat files won't display in Explorer

04-23-2007, 01:34 AM
I used CCleaner to clean cookies & index.dat files from IE7. Rebooted couple of times, opened /closed IE a few times (loading websites each time).

Two index.dat files and subfolders in my main acct (only that one) don't show up in explorer like they should. Other accounts still display properly, but don't all have an index.dat in all the 'normal' folders, because no internet activity under those accts.

You say, "That's great! Tell me how to get rid of the *%!#@$* index.dat files for good!" Well...they're still there, they just don't show up in Explorer, for that one acct. Who cares? Cause I know they're there, but can't see them. We have to use IE to log into certain sites, like work. Then, I want to be able to delete the files (sometimes), and I want to verify that.

BTW, other index.dat files stored under other accts were all cleaned at the same time.

Apps like Kaspersky AV CAN see the index.dat files in both problem folders - the History.IE5 and Content.IE5 subfolders, when I scan the folders.

Free Commander file mgr can see them - sort of. It can NOT see the History.IE5\index.dat, but CAN see content.IE5\index.dat - but only shows it in the right pane, not in the folder tree.

I booted in safe mode under another administrator acct. At first I couldn't see the MIA folders / files in the problem acct. I deleted the problem folders & files, then restored them, & then I could see everything in Explorer. When I logged back in under the main (problem) acct in normal mode, I could NOT see the 2 problem folders & files normally in Explorer.

So, any suggestions on the easiest way to get those 2 folders & files back to normal display? Hmmm... that sounds pretty odd - "HELP! My index.dat files are gone - help me get them back.":confused: Well, except that they're not really gone.

Paul Komski
04-23-2007, 06:02 PM
So, any suggestions on the easiest way to get those 2 folders & files back to normal display?
Delete them and reboot. All such system files containing visible or superhidden index.dat files are recreated when the system restarts. I deliberately keep them on a RAM drive (an old mjc trick) to ensure they are recreated at every reboot.

The superhidden attributes are quite complicated to understand but relate to the presence of specially configured (and quite possibly hidden) desktop.ini files in the actual and the parent folders.

A number of file managers, including ExplorerXP, can help one to view both the index.dat and the desktop.ini files.

What does MIA refer to? MIE? Temporary Internet Files?

04-23-2007, 06:33 PM
MIA- Missing In Action
i think...
never even heard about those files...

Paul Komski
04-23-2007, 06:47 PM
never even heard about those files...



04-23-2007, 07:18 PM
Just another reason to hate Microsoft

04-24-2007, 02:00 AM
Thanks Paul,
Yes, "MIA" = missing in action.

I did delete them(2 folders containing the "invisible" index.dat) while in Safe Mode. But when boot in normal mode, I can't see them, although they are there. At least, that's what I think I did. Maybe I need to drive a wooden stake through them also;)
I can try it again.

BTW, I was always able to see all the index.dat files even in Explorer if "show hidden / show system files" were checked in folder view.

Paul Komski
04-24-2007, 03:07 AM
I was always able to see all the index.dat files even in Explorer if "show hidden / show system files" were checked in folder view.
If they are superhidden you wont normally see them all in Windows Explorer. Some are superhidden with a desktop.ini file and some are just hidden. It varies from OS to OS and folder to folder - don't ask me the way the MS mind works.

I, for example, see nothing but cookies and cached files in my Temporary Internet Files Folder in WinXPproSP2 with show all hidden files and show all system files enabled. ExplorerXP however makes them visible and once I then delete or rename the desktop.ini file using ExplorerXP (it saves having to do it from a command prompt and re-setting the attributes which is another method) only then does the Content.IE5 folder (and its "normal contents") become visible.

04-25-2007, 01:27 AM
Delete them and reboot. index.dat
Yeah, well...I could go through the motions of deleting them from safe mode in explorer (actually didn't try in Free Commander). It allowed (or said it did) me to delete, and although they were no longer visible, other apps could detect them, if not show them in a tree view. Same files, too, not just recreated ones. So I don't know what it was doing, but not deleting them. Or maybe as soon as I turned my head it did the old switch-a-roo, and put them right back.;)

I even booted into DOS. Actually, on my PC, the choice is called "Safe Mode with Command Prompt," so I'm not sure. Anyway, after changing the attribs, I could delete them. But, it didn't take. Same files were back, w/ same cookie or url info. What steps did you take to delete them? I know new, empty files are created on reboot.

I finally found out what was causing the 2 folders to not display the history.ie5 and content.ie5. The desktop.ini files were deleted along w/ the index.dat by CCleaner. These are set to be cleaned by default, but I don't know that's such a good idea (now).

To get those 2 hidden subfolders to show in explorer (and other) again, I edited the desktop.ini in each folder c:\documents and settings \ <user> \local settings \ history\, and also in c:\ ...\ local settings \ temporary internet files \.

I deleted everything in desktop.ini, EXCEPT the first line:

I also set the attrib to Read Only. That made the hidden subfolders & files immediately visible. Doesn't look like XP is going to overwrite the files, but we'll see.

You may also have to edit the desktop.ini in the subfolders as well (history.ie5, content.ie5). Once done, if a cleaning prgm deletes these along w/ index.dat, XP will recreate them w/ original instructions, and the folders will be super-hidden again!!!

One other hint for others - login under another administrator acct in XP, than you normally use[/B]. It seems it's much easier to get rid of the index.dat's that are NOT in the same acct that's currently active.

Even Eraser had no problem erasing (not just deleting) them right then - no reboot. I'm pretty sure that the cleaner prgms, like CCleaner, don't securely erase those files that require a reboot. I think they're just deleted, if that's a concern.

What does "mjc" refer to? Mr. Jesus Christ? Mellencamp, John Cougar?

Do you like ExplorerXP?

Paul Komski
04-25-2007, 02:04 AM
mjc is a longstanding moderator here.

ExplorerXP is a fine file manager as are TurboNavigator and A43: all of them have their own subtleties and specific uses. The first two are both good at "seeing through" the MS special folders and revealing the "real contents".

04-25-2007, 03:16 PM
ExplorerXP is a fine file manager...
Good to know. Have you tried Free Commander and compared it to those you mention? If so, how do they match up?

Another I've heard is supposed to be good is Xplorer^2. There's a free ver, Xplorer^2 Lite.