Personal User Folder - Restore Missing Folder

ByLine
How to Restore Missing or Default Location of User Folders in Vista
Synopsis
This tutorial will show you how to restore a personal user folder if it has been deleted, in the wrong location, or is missing from your C:\Users\(user name) or Start menu location.
How to Restore a Missing or Default Location of User Folders in Vista

information   Information
This tutorial will show you how to restore a personal user folder if it has been deleted, in the wrong location, or is missing from your C:\Users\(user name) or Start menu location.
Tip   Tip

If you have duplicate user folders instead, then you will need to backup the contents of the duplicate user folders, do OPTION TWO below, delete the duplicate folders, then you may need to restart the computer a couple of times first before the default location is restored.

EXAMPLE: Personal User Profile Folders
User_Folders.jpg
EXAMPLE: Personal User Profile Folders Start menu Location
Start_menu_Location.jpg




OPTION ONE
Restore User Folders Using Folder Properties

NOTE: This can help restore the default location of a user folder. If it does not help, then use OPTION TWO below.
1. Right click on the user folder that you want to restore the default location for and click on Properties.​
NOTE: Do this from the C:\Users\(user name) location for the best results and not from the Start menu user folders.​
2. Click on the Location tab. (See screenshot below step 3)​
NOTE: If you do not have a Location tab, then this is not the correct user folder and is only a normal folder that has the same name as the user folder. You will most likely need to use OPTION TWO below in this case instead.​
3. Click on the Restore Default button and click on OK. (See screenshot below)​
Properties.jpg

4. If you get this, then click on Yes. (See screenshot below)​
Restore_Default.jpg

5. Click on Yes. (See screenshot below)​
WARNING: If you do not click on Yes, you will have two copies of the personal user folder in the main (user name) folder with one being as described in the NOTE under step 2.​
Restore_Move_Folder.jpg






OPTION TWO
Manually Restore User Folders with Reg File Download & Registry Editor

Note   Note
This is a more thorough method of restoring a user folder's default location, or restore missing user folders.

The reg files in the downloads below will restore the default values at this registry location below.

Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
User_Folders_Reg.jpg

warning   Warning
If you have any duplicate user folders, or user folders that do not have a Location properties tab (Option One), then you will need to:
  • Backup only the folder's contents to another location to be safe.
  • Now proceed with the steps below

1. Open your C:\Users\(user-name) folder. If the user folder is missing, then create a New Folder and rename it with the name below for that user folder.​

User Folder

Rename with

Contacts

Contacts

Desktop

Desktop

Documents

Documents

Downloads

Downloads

Favorites

Favorites

Links

Links

Music

Music

Pictures

Pictures

Saved Games

Saved Games

Searches

Searches

Videos

Videos

2. To Restore Default Contacts Folder Location
A) Click on the download button below to download the file below.​
Restore_Default_Contacts_Location.reg
download

3. To Restore Default Desktop Folder Location
A) Click on the download button below to download the file below.​
Restore_Desktop_Default_Location.reg
download

4. To Restore Default Documents Folder Location
A) Click on the download button below to download the file below.​
Restore_Documents_Default_Location.reg
download

5. To Restore Default Downloads Folder Location
A) Click on the download button below to download the file below.​
Restore_Downloads_Default_Location.reg
download

6. To Restore Default Favorites Folder Location
A) Click on the download button below to download the file below.​
Restore_Favorites_Default_Location.reg
download

7. To Restore Default Links Folder Location
A) Click on the download button below to download the file below.​
Restore_Default_Links_Location.reg
download

8. To Restore Default Music Folder Location
A) Click on the download button below to download the file below.​
Restore_Music_Default_Location.reg
download

9. To Restore Default Pictures Folder Location
A) Click on the download button below to download the file below.​
Restore_Pictures_Default_Location.reg
download

10. To Restore Default Saved Games Folder Location
A) Click on the download button below to download the file below.​
Restore_Default_Saved_Games_Location.reg
download

11. To Restore Default Searches Folder Location
A) Click on the download button below to download the file below.​
Restore_Default_Searches_Location.reg
download

12. To Restore Default Videos Folder Location
A) Click on the download button below to download the file below.​
Restore_Videos_Default_Location.reg
download

13. Save the .reg file to your Desktop.​
14. Right click on the downloaded .reg file, and click on Merge.​
15. Click on Run, Yes, Yes, and OK when prompted.​
16. Open the Start Menu, then type regedit in the search box and press enter.​
17. If prompted by UAC, then click on Continue (administrator) or enter administrator's password (if standard user).​
18. In regedit, navigate to the location below. (see screenshot below)​
Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders
Shell_Folders.jpg

19. In the right pane of Shell Folders, right click on the user folder in the Name column in the registry (see table below) that you want to restore, then click on Modify. (see screenshot above)​
NOTE: If the Name entry in the table below is not there, then right click on a empty space in the right pane, click on New and String Value, and give it the name in bold below for that user folder.​

User Folder

Name in Registry

Contacts

{56784854-C6CB-462B-8169-88E350ACB882}

Desktop

Desktop

Documents

Personal

Downloads

{374DE290-123F-4565-9164-39C4925E467B}

Favorites

Favorites

Links

{BFB9D5E0-C6A9-404C-B2B2-AE6DB6AF4968}

Music

My Music

Pictures

My Pictures

Saved Games

{4C5C32FF-BB9D-43B0-B5B4-2D72E54EAAA4}

Searches

{7D1D3A04-DEBB-4115-95CF-2F29DA2920DA}

Videos

My Videos

20. Type in the full default path (see table below) of the user folder, and click on OK. (see screenshot below)​
NOTE: Substitute User-Name in the full path with your user account name instead.​
Modify_Shell_Folders.jpg

User Folder

Default Path

Contacts

C:\Users\User-Name\Contacts

Desktop

C:\Users\User-Name\Desktop

Documents

C:\Users\User-Name\Documents

Downloads

C:\Users\User-Name\Downloads

Favorites

C:\Users\User-Name\Favorites

Links

C:\Users\User-Name\Links

Music

C:\Users\User-Name\Music

Pictures

C:\Users\User-Name\Pictures

Saved Games

C:\Users\User-Name\Saved Games

Searches

C:\Users\User-Name\Searches

Videos

C:\Users\User-Name\Videos

21. Close Regedit.​
22. Open an elevated command prompt.​
23. In the elevated command prompt, Copy and Paste the command below for the user folder icon that you want to restore to default. (see table below)​
NOTE: This will set the user folder attributes back to default. You can Copy and Paste these to make it easier for you.

User Folder

Command

Contacts

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Contacts /S /D

Desktop

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Desktop /S /D

Documents

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Documents /S /D

Downloads

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Downloads /S /D

Favorites

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Favorites /S /D

Links

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Links /S /D

Music

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Music /S /D

Pictures

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Pictures /S /D

Saved Games

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\"Saved Games" /S /D

Searches

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Searches /S /D

Videos

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Videos /S /D

24. Close the elevated command prompt.​
25. Open the Start Menu, then Copy and Paste the Shell command (see table below) in the search box for the User folder that you want to restore, and press Enter.​
NOTE: If this opens the missing personal user folder(s), then you are done and can skip step 26 and go to step 27 instead.​

User Folder

Shell Command

Contacts

shell:Contacts

Desktop

shell:desktop

Documents

shell:personal

Downloads

shell:downloads

Favorites

shell:Favorites

Links

shell:Links

Music

shell:My Music

Pictures

shell:My Pictures

Saved Games

shell:SavedGames

Searches

shell:Searches

Videos

shell:My Video

26. Log off and log on, or restart the computer to finish restoring the user folder location.​
NOTE: Sometimes you may need to restart more than once for the changes to be applied.
27. When done, you can delete the downloaded .reg file(s) if you like.​
28. If you have any duplicate user folders left, or user folders that do not have a Location properties tab (Option One), then you will need to:​
  • Delete all duplicate user folders without the correct default C:\Users\(user-name)\(user-folder) path (see step 20) and user folders without a Location properties tab.
That's it,
Shawn


 
Last edited:
Shawn Brink

Comments

Hello Neil, and welcome to Vista Forums.

If the icon for it is set to small, then this is normal. The Navigation Pane uses small icons as well and cannot be changed. The icon view will need to be set to medium or larger to have the arrow included in it.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
Hi Shawn! Thank you for your welcome and your prompt reply. I've tried re-setting the icon size but, as you say, the folder icons in the navigation pane are normally small. What seems abnormal is that for some of my folder icons (Musique, Images Favoris etc - by the way, this is a French version of Vista; I live in France) the larger icon above the status bar looks the same as its smaller counterpart in the Explorer tree but for the Desktop (Bureau) and Downloads (Téléchargement) folders - the two folders I've just replaced - they are not. I've attached a screenshot which should show you what I mean.
 

Attachments

Neil,

This is normal. Since the icon is larger in the bottom "Details Pane" it will display it. When those folders have a small icon, then it will not display. :)
 
Hi Shawn! You're right! I think what was bugging me about Explorer was that I'd also deleted the Links folder which meant I had no default Favourite Links in the Navigation pane. I've now restored the Links folder using the shell:Links command and all is well. Many thanks for your help. This is an excellent forum; I've learnt more here today than I have in a week anywhere else.
 
You're welcome Neil. You may be happy to know that in Windows 7 those small user fiolder overlays display for all the user folders with small icons now. :)
 
Hi Shawn,

This is my first post here so please excuse my ignorance. I recently deleted my "Videos" personal user folder by accident while trying to delete a folder that was in it and can't seem to find a way of the videos/files/folders it had in it. I had about 17gig of data which I'd obviously like to find as it was only saved in that folder.

None of the files that were in the "Videos" folder appear in the Recycle Bin which was my first (and only) guess.

After reading your guide I tried to restore the folder but when I did so none of its contents were restored, I simply now have an empty "Videos" folder. The folder isnt really the issue though, its only the videos I care about.

I'm sure this is very straight forward but I am finding it very frustrating!

Thanks for your help,

Adam
 
Hello Adam, and welcome to Vista Forums.

You might give the free program ShadowExplorer a try to see if you may be able to restore the folder from that user folder.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
My documents folder keeps popping up and all of the default values are the same as in the screenshot under step 5, im confused please help!! thanks
 
I read the Tutorial about the Personal User Folders. I followed the steps and I got my accidentally deleted Music folder back. Good thing I also have backups.

Thanks. Learned lots.
 
hi there, the tutorial works a treat, but i have a related problem that keeps happening over and over again when i add new music to the folder, for example, i have a backup CD of the MyMusic file from an old computer and sometimes i put songs from there onto my current computer and the folder icon goes yellow 'boring' icon, also happens occaisionaly when ripping a cd into the mymusic folder, and also when moving music from one location to another on my computer (for example the C: Downloads folder to Music - not illegally may i add:)) or evn moving a loose song into a folder within Music. is there any way that i can make sure that the icons wont change next time i add music to this folder or move music around within it? it's really beggining to annoy me.
i used your shell folder tutorial to restore them but to have to keep on doing it is a chore!
Cheers, Sk8ingperson (Ian)
 
Last edited:
that was the tutorial i used to get the icon back to the default, but i dont understand why when i move music within the folder, or move music from somewhere else into the file it always turns the music folder yellow again. im not aware the desktop.ini file would be in a ripped music file, and copying and pasting a folder from one location to another should just move the mp3 files. im not explaining this very well, but i don't know how to word it so sorry if im being a pain:)
 
Not at all.

Before you copy over the files into your C:\Users\(user-name)\Music folder, check to make sure that it does not have a hidden desktop.ini file in it. If it does, then delete it first. You would not want to move the C:\Users\(user-name)\Music folder around though. Doing so will cause this as well.
 
Personal User Folders - How do I clean up the mess?

As can be seen by the following 'snips', it is quite apparent that my User Folders are in a state of confused disorganisation, with some 'yellow' Folders and an unknown File string, obviously in places where they shouldn't be. I haven't a clue how I've managed to create this chaotic mess, a 'senior' moment perhaps!

Folders Mess.JPG

What concerns me, is the rather large duplicated Pictures Folder that can be found at - C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\SendTo.. here;

Folders Mess 2.JPG

Is this the 'usual' Folders setup?

I would like to know how to restore my Folders to some sort of 'normal', organised setup, and by what method I should apprioach it. Is there an Elevated Command that can be run to restore the Folders to a 'default' Windows layout?
 
Hi Tony,

Other than the folder with the long numbers in the top image, I see nothing wrong. It looks like you have your hidden system files (yellow folders) set to show. It looks like you or a program may have added the Google folder as well.

The recent items is just what you have opened recently. I did notice that the folder is named Recent instead of Recent Items with a icon instead of a yellow folder. You can do what is in the red warning box in the tutorial below to fix this.

http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/72816-recent-items-list.html

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
Hello Brink,

Thanks for the detailed instructions and screenshots. My situation seems a bit different so the three steps you outlined did not work for me. Here's what I am seeing:

My individual User folder (APG) used to be located in my Users folder along with another user. I can see my User File (APG) in the start menu and directly under Desktop in Explorer, but it is no longer in my Users folder. When I right-click APG in the Start Menu or under Desktop, I cannot access the menu that offers Properties; my only options are: Explore, Open, Copy, Create Shortcut, Delete. I tried dragging it to the Users folder, but that doesn't work. I tried copying it there, but it will only place a shortcut there.

So the folder exists with all the usual contents inside and with the right icon, but I cannot copy or move it back to the Users folder or change its Properties.

I checked out all the steps in your tutorial anyway, just in case, and got the following results from your tutorial:

Step 1: I tried Shell:APG hoping that it would turn up. Nope
What else should I try here?

Step 2: When I right click the APG (User) folder under desktop, I do not get the menu I see in your tutorial. Only the option listed above.

Step 3: Download Method does not list a way for me to make my User folder accessible again, so I tried the Manual Regedit Method.

I followed the path you mentioned, but APG was not listed among the folders there.

Simply searching for "APG" from the start menu only turns up documents with APG in the title, but does not turn up the actual APG folder. It's frustrating to see it and to be able to open it but not be able to move it back to the Users folder. It's definitely making it harder to access my files during some processes. I'm not sure what I did to remove it from Users in the first place! Any additional tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

arpnm
 
Hello Arpnm,

If this has just recently happened, then you might see if doing a system restore at boot using a restore point dated before this happened may be able to fix this for you.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
I somehow lost the pictures folder and follows the steps on fixing it and it worked. however my Downloads folder was destroyed in the process: that is turned into a duplicate Pictures folder >_< Now if I delete either Pictures folder both get send to the recycling bin and the link on the start menu says it's an invalid location/ doesn't exist. I made a system restore point before attempting any retrieval of the pictures folder to begin with but I'm unsure if that would help. I have tried rebooting a couple of times as well as the log off/on but no avail.
 
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