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Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

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    Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location
    How to Change a Personal User Folder Location in Vista
    Published by Brink is offline
    21 Nov 2007
    Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

    How to Change a Personal User Folder Location in Vista



    information   Information
    The personal user folders can be redirected to, and all files inside them, another partition, hard drive, or folder location to be stored in instead. The folder will still be in the (user name) location in the Start Menu as usual, but it will act like a shortcut to the new location instead.
    Note   Note
    This can be handy if you would like to save space on the drive or partition with Vista on it, or you prefer to just store the files in the use folders at another location.
    Tip   Tip
    If a personal user folder has been deleted, is missing, or does not work propely, then see: How to Restore a Missing Personal User Folder in Vista
    warning   Warning

    • If you have a program that places a folder in one these user folders, like the Documents folder, then you do not want to change it's location until you change the setting in the program to use another folder or the new personal folder location. Deleting the program's folder usually does not do any good. It will just be added back by the program. If you do not, then you will have two undeletable copies of the user folder. Example: Windows Live Messenger puts and uses a folder in the Documents folder.
    • If you change the Favorites folder location, it will no longer show work from within IE7 unless you change the permission level of the new Favorites folder to give Authenticated User full control. For how, see: How to Change Folder Permissions
    • If you use Windows Mail or any other email program that uses the Vista C:\Users\(user name)\Contacts folder for contacts, then do not change the Contacts folder default location to keep using Contacts in these programs.

    EXAMPLE: Personal User Profile Folder Icons
    NOTE: Location is at C:\Users\(User Name)
    Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location-user_folders.jpg




    METHOD ONE

    Through the User Folder Properties

    1. Right click on a personal user folder and click Properties.
    NOTE: Open the Start menu and click on the username button to see them.

    2. Click on the Location tab. (See screenshot below)
    Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location-properties.jpg
    3. To Find the Personal User Folder Location
    A) Click the Find Target button. (See screenshot above)
    NOTE: This will open a window with the personal user folder location. You will see the full path of the location above the three buttons.
    4. To Change the Personal User Folder Location
    A) Click the Move button. (See screenshot above)

    B) Navigate to the location you want to use to redirect the personal user folder to. (See screenshot below)

    C) Right click on a empty area in the Select a Destination window and click New and Folder.

    D) Rename the New Folder to the same name as the personal user folder and leave it highlighted, then click on the Select Folder button.
    WARNING: Do not select another personal user folder to redirect this personal user folder to. You will not be able to use the Restore Default location option. Only use a New Folder.
    Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location-move.jpg
    E) Click OK. (See screenshot below step 2)
    NOTE: You should see the new full path location above the three buttons.

    F) Click Yes. (See screenshot below)
    NOTE: This will move all the files inside the personal user folder to the new location.
    WARNING: If you do not click Yes, then you will have two copies of the personal user folder in the (your username) folder.
    Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location-move_folder.jpg
    5. To Restore the Default Personal User Folder Location





    METHOD TWO

    Through the Registry Editor
    Note   Note
    This method will show you how to change only the Downloads (long number), Desktop, Documents (Personal), Favorites, Music (My Music), Pictures (My Pictures), or Video (My Videos) user folder default locations.

    1. Go to the location in Windows Explorer for where you want to move the user folder location to.
    NOTE: For example, in C:\Program Files.
    WARNING: Do not select another personal user folder to redirect this personal user folder to. You will not be able to use the Restore Default location option.
    A) Right click on a empty area in the window and click on New and Folder. (See screenshot below)

    B) Leave the folder named New Folder.
    NOTE: This new folder example location of C:\Program Files\New Folder will be used and replaced by the user folder.

    C) Leave this window open.
    Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location-new_location.jpg
    2. Open the Start menu.

    3. In the white line (Start Search) area, type regedit and press Enter.

    4. In regedit, go to: (See screenshot below 5)
    NOTE: You can see the default paths for the user folders under the Data column.
    Code:
     
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
    5. In the right pane, right click on the personal user folder you want to change the location for and click on Modify.
    Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location-user_folders_reg.jpg
    6. To Change the Personal User Folder Location
    A) Type in the full path of the new location with the New Folder, and click on OK. (See screenshot below)
    NOTE: For example, C:\Program Files\New Folder.
    Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location-modify.jpg
    B) The registry will now look like this. (See screenshot below)

    C) Close regedit.
    Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location-reg_after.jpg
    D) Go back to the new location in step 1 above.

    E) Right click on New Folder and click Rename. (See screenshot below step 1C)

    F) Type in the name (EX: Music) of the user folder you want to change the location of, and press Enter.
    NOTE: The folder will now change to the special green color with the name of the user folder.

    G) Open the Start menu, and click on your username folder button.
    NOTE: You will see two of these user folders (EX: Music) with the same name now.

    H) Right click on each one separately and click Properties.

    I) Delete the one that does not have the Locations tab in the Properties window. (See screenshots below)
    Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location-delete_folder.jpgPersonal User Shell Folders - Move Location-keep_folder.jpg
    7. To Restore the Default Personal User Folder Location -
    That's it,
    Shawn



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    Applies to

    All Vista Versions
    64 Bit & 32 Bit


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  3. #1
    Brink's Avatar

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    Re: Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

    Updated 2-12-2008 to include METHOD TWO for the registry.

    Shawn

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  5. #2
    londonblue's Avatar

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    Join Date : Feb 2008
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    Vista Ultimate x64
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    Re: Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

    I have somehow managed to corrupt my pictures personal folder link. By this I mean when I press START, then try and press PICTURES in the right hand personal folders panel nothing happens.
    Right clicking on PICTURES and properties yields a single empty dialogue box, no tags to choose from or anything to edit.
    How can I delete or recover this option?

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  6. #3
    Brink's Avatar

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    Re: Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

    Hi londonblue,

    Welcome to Vista Forums.

    Delete the Pictures folders, then do OPTION TWO at the top for a missing folder.

    Make sure that Pictures has the default location in the registry when you get to that step.

    Shawn

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  7. #4
    londonblue's Avatar

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    Re: Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

    Slendid! Thanks Shawn, all back to normal again. I've wanting to sort that out for months.

    Couple of points I noticed in the instructions (which were otherwise great) in method 2, 6B references a screen shot that shows drive D, I think it should be C\program files etc and for step 1 you suggest using as an example c\program files\ for the new folder, well I tried using the root directory at first. This doesn't work. I'd just say use the program files folder.

    Anyway thanks again.
    Jason

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  8. #5
    Brink's Avatar

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      Thread Starter

    Re: Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

    Hi Jason,

    Thank you for pointing out that screenshot. It has been corrected. I'm glad to hear that it helped you sort out your problem.

    Shawn

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #6


    Join Date : Jun 2007
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    Re: Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

    Hi Brink -

    Can you clarify warning you gave up front "WARNING: If you have a program that places a folder in one these user folders..."

    Do you mean some applications refer directly to the fully specified path rather than use the userprofile location? Is there any way to tell beforehand whether an app is userprofile savvy - I see that Skype, Nero, SyncToy 1.4, RegRun, Visual Studio, Canon Utilities and possibly Nokia PC Suite (which I isn't savvy about anything!) have all created folders in Documents...

    ... and were you saying that if an app isn't "fixed" before the move, the creation of a folder using an explicit path will create another "Documents" folder under my username...

    I want to do this but I'm a bit hesitant given that it seems I might have a rather upset system afterwards due to apps I can't control/don't know about yet!

    Julian aka Julian-I-Do-Stuff <g>

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  10. #7
    Brink's Avatar

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    Re: Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

    Hi Julian,

    Welcome to Vista x64 Forums.

    You nailed it. It depends on the program. Some use the %UserProfile% path where others use the specific C:\Users path. Sometimes there may be an option in the program that will allow you to specify a default path instead of the default Documents folder.

    I suppose you truly would not know until after you moved the user folder location. If it does create a second user folder to accommodate the program afterwards, then you can just restore the default location for the original folder that you relocated and delete the second user folder if it does not merge back on it's own. This way you will be back to where you started. You could also create a System Restore before you do this to use just in case.

    Hope this helps,
    Shawn

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  11. #8


    Join Date : Jun 2007
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    Re: Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

    Quote Originally Posted by Brink View Post
    If it does create a second user folder to accommodate the program afterwards, then you can just restore the default location for the original folder that you relocated and delete the second user folder if it does not merge back on it's own. This way you will be back to where you started. You could also create a System Restore before you do this to use just in case.
    Thanks for the confirmation of part of my conjecture - but having said that one would end up with two undeletable folders in the warning, how does that fit with the above?

    If say AppX creates in C:\User a folder called AppXStuff, and I move Documents - including AppXStuff - then when AppX next runs it will say, ""here's my damn folder?" and create a new one at C:\User... if I then "restore" the default location of Documents you're saying that Documents\AppXStuff will be merged into C:User\...? Or is it somewhat "less deterministic" than that whether it gets merged back... or the Restore works?

    As for System Restore... chance would be a fine thing!

    [I hope to have some info on which you might base a new tutorial to shrink System Restore points & hence increase history etc. for Vista Basic/HP users... as it stands I have restore points for today and yesterday... Wow!]

    Cheers,

    Julian

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  12. #9
    Brink's Avatar

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    Re: Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

    Julian,

    It is "less deterministic". If the program use the specific C:\Users location, then it will create a new folder to have it's folder in. You can then just delete it and restore the default location for the user folder to have things back before you moved the location. The program will add it's folder back to the restored default location. In the worst case, all you will have to do is delete both user folders, then treat it has a missing user folder and do Option Two to restore the user folder to default. The System Restore is just extra insurance.

    Shawn

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