Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location

ByLine
How to Change a Personal User Folder Location in Vista
Synopsis
This will show you how to redirect Personal user folders to another partition, hard drive, or folder location to be stored in instead. The folder will still be in the (your username) location in the Start Menu, except it will redirect everything to the location you selected like a shortcut.
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)
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)​
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.​
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.​
Move_Folder.jpg


5. To Restore the Default Personal User Folder Location
A) For how, see OPTION TWO here: How to Restore a Missing Personal User Folder in Vista






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.​
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:
[/INDENT]
[INDENT]HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders[/INDENT]
[INDENT]

5. In the right pane, right click on the personal user folder you want to change the location for and click on Modify.​
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.​
Modify.jpg

B) The registry will now look like this. (See screenshot below)​
C) Close regedit.​
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)​
Delete_Folder.jpgKeep_Folder.jpg


7. To Restore the Default Personal User Folder Location -
A) For how, see OPTION TWO here: How to Restore a Missing Personal User Folder in Vista

That's it,
Shawn



 

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dv310p3r

New Member
Ok, I don't want to be a hater, but these directions were horrible. There needs to be a thread with directions on how to restore the folders if the user knows they have been deleted.

Here they are:

Go to Run Menu (Winkey+r)
Type Shell:nameoffolder (ex, Shell:Music, or Shell:Pictures)

If that doesn't do it, go to Regedit
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Ensure that the the folder you want to fix looks like this %USERPROFILE%\nameoffolder
If not make it that way by right clicking and then hit Modify

Then restart computer,
Then do the shell command
Open Run Menu
Shell:nameoffolder

Voila

Now I could sit here and make them more detailed, but I just wanted to prove a quick point. Those directions were a pile of spaghetti wrapped in an enigma on top of a conundrum served with riddles.

JC
 

My Computer

Brink

Staff member
mvp
Hi JC,

Thank you for your suggestion. It probably will be easier to understand if the tutorial was split into two separate ones instead. This tutorial was meant mostly for relocating a user folder, and how to restore it back. I'll get on it hopefully soon.

Shawn
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp

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DonH

New Member
A follow-up question. I have all of the personal files safely moved to a different partition. Complete with green folder and the original folder name in explorer and Office 2007 programs. But...in some programs, the folder is identified as new1, new2, etc.. I don't suppose there is a way to change that, is there?
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
DonH,

Interesting. What programs are these showing up like this? Any particular user folder they ID as this?

Shawn
 

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DonH

New Member
Shawn,

The programs that I notice it in are Edit Pad Pro, Dreamweaver, and other programs that display the full path to a file on a status bar rather than use the vista navigation box. I can navigate to, say Documents, and see the junction in the file drop down dialogs. It's when the programs use the full path outside of the vista templates that they show as "new1" or whatever number.

Don
 

My Computer

Brink

Staff member
mvp
That's what I thought Don. The programs seem like they are still trying to place their folder inside of the default user folder location causing this "new1". Is there a option in the programs to change the location to where it places it's folder? If so, change it to the same location that you moved the user folder to. If not, then you are stuck with the "new1" unless you move that one user folder back to the default location.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 

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Ford GT

New Member
In XP, the My Pictures, My Music and My Videos were all inside the My Documents folder, correct?


What I did in Vista in make the Documents folder the whole partition(D) and then create new folders inside that for the Pictures, Music and Video folders. This should be OK right?
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
Hi Ford GT,

I'm not sure it is like that or not in XP.

For Vista, this will not be ok though. Each user folder needs to have it's own folder in the C:\Users\(user name) folder only and not inside any other user folder. Placing them inside other user folders like Documents will cause problems.

You can move these folder's location to the D: partition as separate folders if you want to though.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 

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Ford GT

New Member
Right, I have them so when something is added or changed in the folders it's redirected to my D: partition instead of the C: partition.
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
Ford GT,

Sounds good as long as they are separated. :geek:

Shawn
 

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DKqwerty

Night Marcher
Member
I'm posting this for posterity's sake:

Upon changing the Desktop shell folder to the root of a drive, some desktop related settings refuse to persist. This was never a problem with XP, which handled the drive root without incident. The issue persists no matter how the operation is preformed: according to this tutorial or just right-clicking shell folder. Here are the symptoms:


  • Desktop icons always revert to "medium" size and float to the left of my desktop
  • Pinned Start menu items added through Taskbar and Star Menu Properties > Customize... > Show on Start Menu disappear, and will not persist even after pressing "OK".
Service Pack 1 saw these issues non-persistent after rebooting during installation (i.e. the desktop had "large" icons and were in the top row, as I had left it, after rebooting). However, manual shut down since still demonstrates the issues.

I have made a workaround by turning off my desktop icons and making a toolbar at the bottom of my screen containing those folders:
zu375z.jpg

However, after doing that, my toolbars and their icons refused to stay where I left them. Only after many, many reboots did things (slowly) start to stay where I left them, almost one-by-one. As of today, everything is where it should be, but if I tried to move anything it would revert to today's settings.

So if anyone tries moving their Desktop shell folder to a drive root and it's not to your satisfaction, you're not alone.
 

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DonH

New Member
Brink,
I just realized that you had replied to my May post. I think it's a case of not fully understanding how Vista handles (or shows) the redirects. If I'm remembering correctly, when I named the new folder on the D: drive, that folder was the normal yellow folder icon. When I just created a new folder on D: and left it named new folder, it then displayed the appropriate green personal folder icon. But, the underlying name was still new1 or new2.

I like having the green personal folder icon displayed on D:, but I don't like having the underlying name be the undescriptive new1, etc. Am I misunderstanding how this works? Some days, Vista makes me feel like a total newbie.
 

My Computer

Brink

Staff member
mvp
Hi DonH,

Strange, it should change the name of the New Folder to the name of the user folder when you select the New folder and change the location of the user folder to it.

Try renaming the new folder to the same name as the use folder to see if that helps.

Shawn
 

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    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
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    Lumia 1520 phone
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    512 GB M.2 SSD

DonH

New Member
Shawn,

It is strange. I can right click to change the name to Documents. It looks great in Windows Explorer. But, if I look at the properties of the junction, it shows the location as D:\New Folder. Pictures shows the location as D:\New Folder (3).

It is that underlying folder name that is passed to some programs. :-(
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
DonH,

It will keep the original name it took over as reference in Location. To have the name you want instead, restore the default location. When you create the New Folder, name it to Documents this time instead of leaving it as New Folder, then change the location to it. You will then have D:\Documents in Location.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 

My Computers

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    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD

DonH

New Member
Shawn,

Many thanks. It worked just as I thought it should when I first tried. I have no idea why I had so much trouble. Now, if I can just figure out what Vista Backup means by "Documents", I'll be all set! You'd think that somewhere that would be better defined. Documents as in the contents of the personal folder, Documents? Or documents as in those files with certain extensions? <grin>

Thanks again!
Don
 

My Computer

Brink

Staff member
mvp
Your welcome Don. I'm happy to hear that it us the way you wanted it now.

The backup files option for Documents is for all document type files on your computer, not just the ones in the Documents folder. The screenshot below step 6 of this tutorial will show you what you see for it.

http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/100133-backup-files.html

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G7 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD

elangomatt

New Member
I hope that this is an appropriate place to ask this question. I work for a relatively small community college and we are trying to change a single lab over to Vista. (We are using Novell and not Active Directory) On XP, we currently use a simple registry change to redirect My Documents and Favorites over to a mapped network drive. I can see that this isn't as easy to do this with Vista. Right now I am looking at doing the redirection in the image with the Default user and such.

My Documents can be redirected just fine with Method 1 of your tutorial. The problem I am running in to though is that when I use method 1 in your tutorial, I can't get the favorites to show up in Internet Explorer 7. If I go to favorites in the User Folder list, I can see the favorites just fine and they are residing on the proper folder on the network. The location in the properties of the user folder favorites also shows the proper path. I have tried using both the mapped drive letter path to the proper folder as well as the UNC path. No matter what I try, the favorites never show in IE7 unless I move the favorites folder off of the network and back to the local machine. Is there anything I can do to make this work or will we just have to do without having the users favorites show up properly in Vista?
 

My Computer

System One

  • CPU
    P D 2800
    Motherboard
    Intel 945GCZ

Brink

Staff member
mvp
Hi Elangomatt,

I'm afraid that I do not know of a way to get Favorites to work in IE7 unless it is set at it's default location. I looked through the registry in the HKCU and HKLM locations for IE7, but I didn't see anything to specify a path for Favorites.

Sorry, :(
Shawn
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G7 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD
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