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 VistaGuy, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Try OPTION THREE in the tutorial for each affected user folder to see if that can restore them back to their default locations, then do OPTION ONE for each affected user folder before restarting the computer. Be sure to check each user folder to make sure that it is set to the default location. It may take more than a few restarts with that many user folders not working properly, but they should return.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
Help! I've tried looking through the posts to see if there are answers and I'm unable to find anything.

My issue in Vista is that I still have access to my documents, videos, music, etc. through the start menu shortcuts. However, if I try to browse to the folders through Windows Explorer, I don't even see a c:\Users folder!

Recently, I have installed Windows 7 on another partition and wanted to redirect my "Libraries" to my old users folders, but since the computer won't even see them, this is difficult. I will re-emphasize that somehow all my documents are still there and through the shortcuts, I can still get to them.

I went into the 'user accounts' page to see if I could see anything there. Currently, in the environment variable, I don't even see an entry for 'C:\Users\name'. If I go to 'configure advanced user profile properties', I do see entries showing 'domain\username' for the account profiles on my computer. However, the primary account I am having problems with is unnaccessible. The 'delete' and 'copy to' buttons below are greyed out, only with this profile.

All I want is for 'c:\users' to reappear in my windows directory. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!
 
Hello Skwirrel, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Try typing these commands below, and pressing enter after each one, in a elevated command prompt to see if it will allow you to see the C:\Users\(your user-name) folder afterwards.

attrib +r -s -h C:\Users /s /d

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE% /s /d

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
Shawn,

Unfortunately no! I hit 'enter' and the cursor just carried to the next line and sat flashing.

The command did not seem to want to complete. :(
 
Oh.. my bad!

The second time I tried "attrib +r -s -h C:\Users /s /d", I let it sit for awhile and waited for the execution to complete and it was successful.

Thanks so much. Are you able to explain what happened here and how? What a bizarre occurence.

Thanks again.
Craig:D
 
LOL! Now I have noticed that my 'documents' folder is also missing from view. Can I try the same thing as I did for the 'users' folder? What is causing this???
 
Thanks for all your help Shawn. I'm just revisiting this topic.

One thing is that I was still hoping some one could explain why this is happening?

I now have found even more folders that are not visible; however, they are not in my Users subdirectory; in fact they are on external drives. Ironically, my iMac can see the folders, but because the drive is NTFS I can only read, not write or modify!

I tried the commands as you recommended, but I'm assuming because the folders are on a different drive, the commands are not working.

I entered (based on the information provided) "attrib +r -s -h f:\HP tx2508\Craig /s /d"
The response was "Parameter format not correct"

How do I modify the command so that this works? And please, if you could explain why this happens so that I may understand why all these folders seem to be disappearing on me at random.

I would also like to add that I am also running Windows 7 Pro now... I have my computer set up with two partitions, with Vista remaining and I've added 7....

So, if there is an easier way to do this in 7, or if the information you've provided will work in 7 as well, please let me know.


Thanks again.

Craig
 
Since you have a space in the path, try this instead:

attrib +r -s -h "f:\HP tx2508\Craig" /s /d


I can only assume that you may have installed some all in one type tweak program that may be setting these folders attributes by mistake, or something went wrong when you moved your folders before this.
 
Hi Sorry this may be in the wrong part of the forum but it would see that half of my problem is answered by 'Brink' in his advice on reinstalling personal folders. Is there a similar way I can reinstall the folders for my OS and other Apps? Please

I have just completed a clean reinstall of Vista Home Premium (Upgrade). I backed everything up to an external HD.
I decided to split my 'C' drive into two partitions: 'C' with my OS and all my Apps and newly named 'B' partition to contain all my personal data.

I have been reinstalling my various folders/files to both my 'C' partition/OS volume and my 'B' partition/Personal folders/files. However, I have made a complete mess of the various standard files/folders in both partions. I am now in the position I have no idea what the names of the files/folders I require in the 'C' OS partition and the Names of the ones I require in my Personal partition 'B'.
Please would someone provide a list with names of folders and sub folders in their hierachy for each partition and how to reinstall them for each area?
I believe I can decide on folder/file names in the 'B' partition but are there some that need to exist in that area in order to enable the Vista system to function. Clearly there is a need in the 'C' partition.
Any help please?

Jimlad
 
Last edited:
Hello Jimlad, and welcome to Vista Forums.

I'm not sure on exactly where you put what, but it really depends on what you meant by personal data (ex: user folders ??) and how you moved it on the B partition. I think it may be better if you post a screenshot of each of your partitions hierarchy to see if we may be able to spot something out of place.
 
Re: Personal User Folders - Restore Missing Folders

Thanks for picking this mess up for me.
My problem is I’m not sure where I put what either – sorry.
Not sure what you mean by ex users? I am the sole user on this system.
Let me explain what I was trying to achieve. As I had had problems with needing to carry out clean reinstalls, either due to system problems or introducing a new OS, I wanted to have a setup that enabled me to have all my personal data on a separate partition (‘B’), thereby saving me the need to risk loss of data – Personal files, Email, Favourites, Drivers, Contacts etc etc.
For my Operating System (Vista Home Premium 32b) and any Applications I add to my system, I put them on my resized partition (‘C’).
I did an Acronis TI 2009, backup of my old partition ‘C’ which contained both my OS other Applications and all my personal folders and files i.e. my total system on my old ‘C’ drive or partition.
I also did exports/backups of my Emails in total, my drivers, contacts, favourites and all my personal folders and files held in the top folder Jim’s Documents.
I then created my new partition using free software Easeus Partition. I did a clean reinstall of my Vista Home Premium Upgrade DVD, added my other Applications to my new partition ‘C’, reinstalled my drivers, I then set about copying and pasting or drag and dropping my favourites etc etc to my new ‘B’ partition. As I wasn’t too sure what data I could put on the ‘B’ partition and I didn’t, and still don’t know how the interaction takes place between the two partitions I started moving folders back, deleting some and really screwed up. Having read your tutorial about moving Personal folders I can see it is wrong what I did.
What I need to know is what folders are a must have and in which partition they reside and how to get my ‘B’ and ‘C’ partitions to talk to each other, if that makes sense.
Hoping it’s not another clean reinstall!
Currently if I choose to save a document to my personal folders, the system selects mt 'C' partition and not my 'B' partition. I have to correct this each time??
Please see attachments requested of my expanded files and folders on partitions 'B' and 'C'. hope they are readable.
I shall be away from my desk from 24th June till 29th June so there will be a delayed response to any comunications.
Jimlad
 

Attachments

Jimlad,

Sorry, but I'm not able to view DOC files currently. A JPEG would be better.

With a clean install you will have to reinstall all programs and drives, these cannot be copied back over from a backup. The only thing that you can copy over is the contents from inside your user folders from the backup to the inside of your current installation's user folders. Afterwards, you can move the user folders in your current installation to your B: drive as you did before like in this tutorial.

Hope this helps for now.
 
Hi again Brink,
Here are the screen shots in Jpeg. Hope they are readable? Let me know if you require any further local expansion to ensure I haven't got some folder which should be at a higher level wrongly placed at the lower level, causing problems?

Sorry but I am not understanding fully what you are saying quote "The only thing that you can copy over is the contents from inside your user folders from the backup to the inside of your current installation's user folders. Afterwards, you can move the user folders in your current installation to your B: drive as you did before like in this tutorial."
Are user folders what I am calling my personal folders?
When you talk of copying the contents...... are these sub folders self generated by me, but held in a system mandatory folder set up as part of the OS?
When you talk of moving folders, you are not saying copy and paste or drag and drop, as I had done. But as per the Tutorial. Sorry just making sure I fully understand.

You didn't have any comment on this question I was posing "What I need to know is what folders are a must have and in which partition they reside and how to get my ‘B’ and ‘C’ partitions to talk to each other, if that makes sense." If it is a stupid question I would like to know it is. If not I want to know if the high end privided folders have some link/trigger to the OS?

Jimlad
 

Attachments

Jimlad,

Sorry, yes "user folders" is the same as "personal folders". These would be all of the Music, Pictures, Documents, etc.... type folders in your C:\Users\(user-name) folder.

You would just need to "Copy and Paste" or "Drag and Drop" the contents in the backed up user folders to inside the new ones created in your new clean installation so the data will be in them. Afterwards, use the tutorial to move the user folders in your clean installation to your B: drive.
 
Thanks Brink,

When you get time, are you still going to review the screen shots and provide any comments and are you able to answer my other questions?

Jimlad
 
I'm sorry, but I thought that I answered your questions on what you need to copy over and what you can't for the user folders? Please specify anything that I missed or you do not understand. :)
 
Top