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Let's assume that I have a portable storage device that I use on multiple machines (running GNOME and otherwise, but let's focus on GNOME + Nautilus). Is there any way to set an icon for a folder in such a way that the icon will be stored (hidden) within the folder and displayed automatically on multiple machines?

I found this Brainstorm idea but thought it may be too specific in its use of folder.jpg. I'm just interested in a way to do this, regardless of what the file is named.

To clarify, I'm focused on the use of icons, not thumbnails.

I'm starting to believe that there is no way to do this without regularly running a script to set icons based on, say, an icon stored within each folder.

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As you are talking about setting a folder.jpg, I assume that you want a regular image like album artwork image to be set as the folder icon.

You can use cover thumbnailer to set an image as the folder icon. If you want that image to be hidden, then just add period "." before the image name for example: .MusicFolder.jpg

But if you want to achieve the same on different systems then you'll have to install cover thumbnailer on your every machine.

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Unfortunately this won't work after all. There's no svg support and it's too focused on thumbnails as opposed to icons. I'm not really looking for something that shows album art, I'm looking for something that will display icons for folders -- just as Nautilus can by setting a folder icon -- that's portable to other machines. –  Jamie Schembri Nov 12 '10 at 13:23

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