The way to detect weird directories that should be excluded from the user interface is to check for the
FILE_ attributes being set simultaneously. This is the mechanism used when you uncheck Hide protected operating system files in the Folder Options dialog. (Programmatically, you detect whether the user wants to see protected operating system files by checking the
fShowSuperHidden member of the
Michael Dunn suggested using
PathIsSystemFolder to detect these special directories, but that is not quite right.
PathIsSystemFolder is for marking a directory as "This directory has a nondefault UI behavior attached to it. Please consult the
desktop.ini file for more information." You do this when your directory is, say, the root of a namespace extension, or it has been subjected to folder customization. Windows uses it to indicate that the directory has a localized name, as well as other funky internal state.
There are two ways to mark a folder as having nondefault UI. One is to set the
FILE_ attribute, and the other is to set the
Either one works, and
PathIsSystemFolder checks for both, returning a nonzero value if either attribute is set.
In its default configuration, Windows uses the read-only flag to mark folders with nondefault UI. However, some applications mistakenly believe that if a directory is marked read-only, then files within the directory cannot be modified. As a result, these applications refuse to let you save your documents onto the desktop, for example. To work around this, you can use the
UseSystemForSystemFolders to tell Windows to use the
FILE_ attribute instead. Of course, if you do that, you will run into problems with applications which mistakenly believe that if a directory is marked system, then the directory is inaccessible. So you get to pick your poison.
Programmers who wish to mark a folder as having nondefault UI should use the
PathMakeSystemFolder function to set the appropriate attribute. That function consults the system policy and sets the attribute that the policy indicates should be used to mark folders with nondefault UI.
Going back to the original question, then: The difference between
PathIsSystemFolder and checking for folders that are marked hidden+system is that they check different things and have different purposes.
||ReadOnly or System|
|path is protected operating system folder||Hidden and System|