Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: Is it OK not to use Documents folder?

25 Aug 2010   #1

Windows 7x64 + XP Mode
 
 
Is it OK not to use Documents folder?

I keep my data files just about anywhere except 'My Documents'. Some are in subfolders of the program that runs them. Others are in folders named 'Downloads', 'Business', 'Computer-related' 'Temp' and similar, on the C: drive. My photographs are on drives devoted solely to photograhs. I have no music or video. My email is stored on an Exchange server.

I have used this general structure through every change in Windows from 3.1 onwards. It works for me, and I like it. I have thousands of data files, many in an elaborate hierarchy of subfolders, and can't just hurl them into an undifferentiated Documents folder and hope to find them again. If I moved them to subfolders of Documents, I'd essentially be re-creating the already-existing folder structure of the C: drive, which seems to me a little crazy. And it would be one more click to open them (in my Windows Explorer replacement: I never open anything from the Start Menu). I've always thought it was OK to do as I've been doing, because a number of programs offer a choice of where to store data files.

But today I contacted tech support for a shareware notes program that I run (and whose data files I store in the program's folder under C:\Program Files (x86)\.....). He said:

"In Vista/Windows 7, etc, you are not supposed put any writable files under Program Files, or for that matter, in arbitrary folders in your windows drive......You should be keeping them with your other application documents, either in Documents folder, its subfolders or if you prefer to keep in your own folders, another drive letter altogether."

So I am wondering: is he right, and is there a genuine, computer-related reason not to save data files in subfolders of the program that runs them? They are backed up several times a day to external HDs, and to date I've never had a problem that struck me as related to the locations of my data files.

Thanks

Mary

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

25 Aug 2010   #2

openSUSE 13.1 64bit
 
 

Can't see any problems. I save work and personal files in my own folder structures - far away from My Documents (I do use this for general stuff).

Now I have got my head around libries in Windows 7 the need to store in the old "My Docs/video/picture" structure has gone.

I would just be careful that any software you use is configured to use you folders, and remember any changes to your folder structure will stop the original programme from saving there until you update it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Aug 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MBernard View Post
I keep my data files just about anywhere except 'My Documents'. Some are in subfolders of the program that runs them. Others are in folders named 'Downloads', 'Business', 'Computer-related' 'Temp' and similar, on the C: drive. My photographs are on drives devoted solely to photograhs. I have no music or video. My email is stored on an Exchange server.

I have used this general structure through every change in Windows from 3.1 onwards. It works for me, and I like it. I have thousands of data files, many in an elaborate hierarchy of subfolders, and can't just hurl them into an undifferentiated Documents folder and hope to find them again. If I moved them to subfolders of Documents, I'd essentially be re-creating the already-existing folder structure of the C: drive, which seems to me a little crazy. And it would be one more click to open them (in my Windows Explorer replacement: I never open anything from the Start Menu). I've always thought it was OK to do as I've been doing, because a number of programs offer a choice of where to store data files.

But today I contacted tech support for a shareware notes program that I run (and whose data files I store in the program's folder under C:\Program Files (x86)\.....). He said:

"In Vista/Windows 7, etc, you are not supposed put any writable files under Program Files, or for that matter, in arbitrary folders in your windows drive......You should be keeping them with your other application documents, either in Documents folder, its subfolders or if you prefer to keep in your own folders, another drive letter altogether."

So I am wondering: is he right, and is there a genuine, computer-related reason not to save data files in subfolders of the program that runs them? They are backed up several times a day to external HDs, and to date I've never had a problem that struck me as related to the locations of my data files.

Thanks

Mary
It doesn't really matter where you store your files. And with the new "Libraries" feature, they can be spread across multiple folders in multiple locations, with the traditional "My Documents" being only a singular part of the deal.

For example, the Videos library on my computer is pointing to 6 different locations:
Name:  MyVideos.jpg
Views: 6
Size:  55.9 KB

There's no reason really for you to not keep your current folder structure. Just add the relevant folders to the "Documents" library. Thats the whole beauty of it all. You get to continue working with files and folders as you like, but you also get one convienient location that consolidates everything into one place.

You might want to look over these tutorials:
New Library - Create
Libraries - Personal and Public User Folders
Library - Set Save Folder

You can get more tutorials regarding Libraries in the Tutorial Index...


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


25 Aug 2010   #4

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

You should not store files in Program Files, I don't care where else it doesn't matter. But Program Files is a protected directory, changing permissions and settings of this directory is not advisable. Use your user directory or other user controlled directory to store files. Plus keeping data separate from the respective programs make it easier to backup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Aug 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MBernard View Post
But today I contacted tech support for a shareware notes program that I run (and whose data files I store in the program's folder under C:\Program Files (x86)\.....). He said:

"In Vista/Windows 7, etc, you are not supposed put any writable files under Program Files, or for that matter, in arbitrary folders in your windows drive......You should be keeping them with your other application documents, either in Documents folder, its subfolders or if you prefer to keep in your own folders, another drive letter altogether."

So I am wondering: is he right, and is there a genuine, computer-related reason not to save data files in subfolders of the program that runs them? They are backed up several times a day to external HDs, and to date I've never had a problem that struck me as related to the locations of my data files.

Thanks

Mary
Actually, the are reasons for it, mostly regarding system stability and reliability. If a program is capable of writing data to a protected location, such as the "Program Files" or "Windows" folders, then they are also capable of altering program code stored in those locations (or they can be spoofed by malware in order to overwrite program code).

It as become generally accepted with the new security protocols and software design guidelines introduced with Vista that data and programs must be kept seperated. There are ways and means of falling back to allowing programs full access to everything, but doing so is not a good idea, because it increases the threshold of attack that can be exploited by malware.

But this doesn't necessarily mean that you, the user, are forced to use them ("Documents", "Videos", "Pictures", "Downloads", etc) as such. As I mentioned in my earlier post, thats the whole beauty of the Libraries structure. You get to manage your documents in any way you desire, and have them stored wherever you want, all the while allowing software developers to adhere to design guidelines...

It's a win-win situation really. Software becomes more secure without hampering user productivity.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Aug 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate RTM (Technet)
 
 

Here's another good reason not to do what you're doing:

I have a computer repair shop and I ask my customers prior to doing any work if I need to back up their data before I begin (if they do it themselves, I don't worry about it).

If they tell me that I do need to, the Program Files structure is an area that I don't even consider backing up because of size, and because if we have to reinstall Windows, that area won't matter anyway.

In that scenario, your data would be lost. I realize you have your own backups, but you just need to be aware that it's a really bad idea. It is VERY far out of the norm and not advised in any way.

I'm curious as to how you started this practice of saving to Program Files, and what types of programs we are talking about? Also, why would you NOT use the Documents structure when it makes so much more sense to have all your data centrally located?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Aug 2010   #7

Windows 7x64 + XP Mode
 
 

I'd like to thank everyone who replied to my query. I'm now convinced that it's a bad idea to do what I've been doing, and I'll slowly (in spare time!) move my data to a new folder structure named maybe Files or Data, directly under C:.

MacGyvr asked: >>I'm curious as to how you started this practice of saving to Program Files, and what types of programs we are talking about? Also, why would you NOT use the Documents structure when it makes so much more sense to have all your data centrally located?<<

Which programs? The ones I use most heavily are Photoshop CS5, Nota Bene 9.x (in XPMode), Directory Opus, Whizfolders, Macro Express, Opera (all data are in \user\roaming etc), Clipmate (data in \...roaming), PowerPro and Outlook. They're running all the time. Less frequently I use Omnipage, Inkscape, and Word and its stablemates; and various other shareware programs.

I can't remember how I started storing data in Program Files. It probably dates back to DOS days. I don't remember having any sort of Documents folder in DOS, or in Windows 3.1.

I resisted the change to a docs folder in Win95, chiefly because I already had a complex folder structure, and thought I couldn't copy that into My Documents. Also, I dislike the name 'My' Documents andcalling files 'documents'. Back then, I don't think you could rename the folder, and I wasn't going to use a folder called 'my' anything!

As for the usefulness of the central location of the Documents folder - I really want my different types of data (word processor files, notes database, macros, photographs) stored in different places or categories, so that I can browse only the one type of file in my Explorer-substitute, which I use constantly. I don't want to come across 'Fred at 18.tif' when I'm looking for 'Fred at 18.docx', for instance.

It was Adobe Bridge that made me leery of libraries. In Bridge you can have Collections, and they can sometimes be very useful; but it's also possible to delete not just the collections, but the files in them, when you just want to delete the collection (library). I did it once, and had to spend hours restoring files to different actual locations from backups, not to mention that it was hard to remember what had been in the dratted Collection!

However, I've now read about Libraries, and have learned that that can't happen with them. I may even start using them, once I've transferred my data files to the new C:\Data (or maybe AnotherDrive:\Data) and told my programs where to look.

Again, thanks to all. You've convinced me.

Mary
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 Is it OK not to use Documents folder?




Thread Tools




Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:30 PM.
Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App
  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33