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Windows 7: User\My Docs != Libraries\Docs !

08 Oct 2010   #1

Windowz 7 64-bit
 
 
User\My Docs != Libraries\Docs !

There's something really weird on my Windowz-7 64-bit computer, the contents of

C:\Users\user\My Documents

is DIFFERENT than

Libraries\Documents !!!

At first blush they look identical, same list of folders, but inside one of my sub-sub-folders the contents are COMPLETELY different! One day I browsed to my work folder and found it EMPTY, all my work lost, but when I went around to the other one, there they were again! So I continued working from the one where the files were visible (Libraries\Documents\...) but then one day I couldn't find the work I'd done the day before. So I browsed on over to the other side and THERE THEY WERE! Now I have two different copies of my PowerPoint presentation, some of my files in one side, the rest in the other!

What gives? Every other sub-sub-folder I've checked seems identical, as they should be. Is there another ghost copy of Documents different than My Documents?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Slehar, and welcome to Seven Forums.

This is because a library is a collection of included folders shortcuts from different locations.

The Documents library has the C:\Users\Public\Documents and your C:\Users\user\My Documents contents included in it by default. By default, documents are saved into your C:\Users\user\My Documents folder instead of the Documents library itself.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2010   #3

Windowz 7 64-bit
 
 

HI Shawn,

Thanks for your help. I am still somewhat confused, even after browsing up on the concept of *including* files in libraries (thanks for the search term!).

So the difference between a "symbolic link" (unix) or "shortcut" ('Doz) and an included folder is [1] the symlink looks like a folder that you click on to see its contents, whereas the included file dumps the *contents* of the folder into the library as if they were in the library itself, not a sub-folder of the library. And [2] if you delete a file from the library, it will disappear from the library but continue to exist somewhere else, whereas when you follow a simlink into a folder and delete a file in there, it will actually go to the recycle bin. Is that right?

Geesh, sounds really confusing, set up to make people accidentally delete stuff! I hate this new trend (in 'Doz and Apple) to try to hide the real folder hierarchy from the user by creating false "root nodes" in Documents, and Desktop, that appear as root nodes, like the Documents node on the left panel of my Explorer window, but are really secretly a sub-node somewhere in the file hierarchy. And I hate even more the idea of pretending that two folders are really the same when they are actually subtly different!

How do I make sure to avoid the problem I ran into, of accessing some folder two different ways, and inadvertently creating two copies of that folder that I thought were one and the same? Should I never use my Libraries folder and always surf to C:\Users\user\My Documents? Or should I always use the Documents folder and never use C:\Users\user\My Documents?

Steve
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


11 Oct 2010   #4

Windowz 7 64-bit
 
 

This is really weird. I'm in Microsoft Word and I click Save As, and the navigation bar says

Libraries > Documents > My Documents > Temp

If I go up one folder into My Documents I see all my files and folders there, but if I go up one more into Documents, I see EXACTLY THE SAME FILES AND FOLDERS, with the EXCEPTION of "My Documents" which no longer appears, I cannot go back down there, as if it did not exist!

This is what I mean about things being real confusing because they pretend that My Documents IS Documents, but it isn't, and they pretend that My Documents does not exist, but it DOES, and its "included" inside of Documents but you CAN'T SEE IT there because they are pretending that you are already there!

What confuses me is whether there is a difference between my Saving As into Documents as opposed to into Documents\My Documents. Is there a difference? What is the proper practice to avoid getting into trouble?

Steve
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2010   #5
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

The user folders use symlinks, and the libraries do not. You will not get the duplicate folder issue with libraries that you may get with user folders when use folders are moved.

The libraries only reference the contents of the included folders, so the contents are not store in the libraries but still in the actual included folder location. However, like a "shortcut", if you delete a file in either the library or the real included folder location, it will delete it from both locations.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2010   #6

Windowz 7 64-bit
 
 

So to reconstruct my original problem, I started by creating a sub-folder in:

\Libraries\Documents\SubFolder

and filling it with my work files, and then later I accessed that same folder through

C:\Users\user\My Documents\SubFolder

where first I saw all my original files, opened them and worked more, but BECAUSE I HAD ACCESSED THE FOLDER DIRECTLY (using the above path), any time I hit "Save", then instead of saving it in the folder where I opened it, it saved it someplace ELSE, where it was directed by the registry?

But didn't you say that those two paths actually refer to the same original folder, whose actual factual location is

C:\Users\user\My Documents\SubFolder ?

How could it save it anywhere other than that above path, given that Libraries\Documents\SubFolder is actually the same place?

I'm still confused!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Slehar,

Ah, I see where you went wrong at now. You created a new folder in the Documents library that will also be created in the C:\Users\user\My Documents\SubFolder folder since it is the default Save to folder.

The contents of the folder are actually stored at the (ex: C:\Users\user\My Documents\SubFolder) location instead of in the library.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2010   #8

Windowz 7 64-bit
 
 

Oh THANK YOU! Now I get it!

See? Thats what comes of deceiving the user that they are in Documents, as a regular folder, when in fact it is a weird thing that only looks like, and behaves like a folder, but when you turn around and arn't looking it behaves completely differently!

So for me, the solution (being an old-fashioned guy who likes real folders and symbolic links) I should NEVER navigate through my library, I should always go through the REAL path where things REALLY exist, i.e.

C:\Users\User\My Documents

Thanks for your help, I could never have figured that!

Steve
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2010   #9
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

You're most welcome Steve. Anytime.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2010   #10

Windowz 7 64-bit
 
 

One more quick question -- Where IS the Libraries on the real hierarchy of folders? Is there a way for me to navigate to the new SubFolder I created inside the library without going through the library? Like the Desktop, which pretends to be a root node, but is actually located in C:\Documents and Settings\user\Desktop?

Steve
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 User\My Docs != Libraries\Docs !





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