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

Thanks Shawn. I will give it a shot later tonight when I get home. What do the reg files do? I didn't know if I could just go in the change the path in the registry without downloading and running the reg files first. Or do the reg files just change the path for you?

Ryan
 
Ryan,

Yeah, the REG files make the change for you at that registry location in the NOTE box right under the OPTION TWO title. You could manually change it if you like, or use the REG files for it though.

You would still have to manually change the path at step 19 since it's a different registry location. :)
 
Thank you Shawn.

I got in a terrible mess trying to move my pictures folder to my external hard drive - had it pointed to the drive not the Pictures directory beneath.

Thanks to your clear instructions, I am now unpickled.
 
Top