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Windows 7: Optimal Personal Folder Structure for Windows 7

13 Oct 2011   #1
stlsailor

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
 
 
Optimal Personal Folder Structure for Windows 7

I have confusion and perplexity over the optimal folder structure for Windows 7. I make it a standard practice to put My Documents on a separate drive.

Win7 allows you to move the personal folders to a new location, but in both installs where I've tried this using the documented procedures, the Documents folder disappeared and I had to reinstall Windows. So the personal folders stay where they are.



What to do? Use libraries! I decided to put a folder called My Document Center on D: and make it the default for the Documents Library. That should fix the problem, I thought. It hasn't.
  • C:\Users\UserName\Documents appears in the Documents library. That's fine. I expect it. This seems to be the personal folder. I'd expect it to have nothing in it. But it does have quite a bit of stuff, it seems from program installs. That's not fine. I guess programs put stuff there because they don't use the library.
  • Start Menu | UserName takes me to a window that has a "My Documents" folder and a shortcut to a "My Documents" folder, but the shortcut seems to be useless since it tells me I don't have permission to access it, though it indicates I could probably do so through the security tab. That makes me wonder if it is a virtual folder of some sort, though. I'm not sure what its purpose is other than to create confusion.
Question 1: Is there a way to redirect all the stuff that's going into the personal Documents folder?

Question 2: Have you found a better alternative for separating the OS and data?

Dale


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
13 Oct 2011   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

I'm sure there is more than one way to skin a cat, but I don't use libraries.

Nor have I ever used the default Microsoft "my documents" or "C:\users" folders.

My OS is on C:

I have a D: data partition and simply have a series of folders on it. I save directly to these folders:

Computer

MP3

Downloads

Pictures

etc, whatever names best apply. I have a total of 8 major folders, with many subfolders under each.

Libraries are just a distraction to me, as is the entire "C:\users" thing. I just sidestep it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Oct 2011   #3
stlsailor

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Libraries are just a distraction to me, as is the entire "C:\users" thing. I just sidestep it.
I'm not sure what I think about libraries yet. I am inclined to think they are a solution in search of a problem. Thus far what I've done is very similar to what you've done. The problem is that programs seem to add things to the personal documents folder on installation at times, and I still wind up with a lot in my personal documents folder that shouldn't be there. That's why I originally tried to move the folder, but from googling the problem, I am not the only one who's discovered that bug apparently.

The structure approach seems good, but how to keep the personal documents folder clean is still a problem.

Dale
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

14 Oct 2011   #4
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by stlsailor View Post
The problem is that programs seem to add things to the personal documents folder on installation at times, and I still wind up with a lot in my personal documents folder that shouldn't be there.
I"m not sure why that should happen.

I just checked:

C:\users\my user name\my documents.

I assume that is the folder you refer to?

It's empty.

I hadn't even looked there in 6 months. I've never seen anything in it.

I think libraries are for either the highly unorganized or for those who have unusual setups (several PCs on a network; oddball hard drive arrangements, etc).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Oct 2011   #5
essenbe
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Enterprise X64/Windows 10 Enterprise X64/Windows 10 Pro X64/Linux Mint
 
 

I use the libraries and move personal folders to another drive. C:/users/your user name/ documents is a pointer that remains on the C drive. It tells other programs where your C:/users/your user name/ my documents is located. Your documents should be located under my documents and not documents. At least that's how mine works there are 2 tutorials on moving them:
Relocate user folders
User folders-change default location
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Oct 2011   #6
stlsailor

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
 
 

Thanks. I looked at the tutorials. I didn't try to set the default locations before, just used the location tab to move it.

I don't recall about the first computer I moved it on where the documents folder disappeared entirely. I do know on the second computer recently I wanted it to be in the root directory of the D:\ drive so I did what the tutorial said except for one very significant thing. I assumed that if you were going to move a folder, that meant move the folder, not move the contents! So I pointed it to D:\. Bad, bad move, it seems, but move a folder does (SHOULD) mean move a folder and there were no directions at hand to tell me it meant something far different.

I wonder why Microsoft could not have made the procedures simple and intuitive, or the instructions more clear.

I may try again to move the folder sometime after I disk image it; it's confusing as is. On the other hand I've wasted enough productivity so far. At least now I have the procedures and I assume they've worked for you or someone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Oct 2011   #7
essenbe
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Enterprise X64/Windows 10 Enterprise X64/Windows 10 Pro X64/Linux Mint
 
 

I just found C:/users and copied it to my E drive. Then used the location tabs to move it to the folder of the same name on the E drive, then click apply. then click yes. If you don't click yes I believe it will be in both locations. It is easier after a clean install, move the folder locations the put your info in the correct folder in the new location. The folders without location tabs are the pointers. They tell other programs that use those files where they are located. For example, if you use ccleaner, it will want to put backup registry files in C/users/your user name/my documents. That folder does not exist, but the pointer tells it where it is, and it has no problems finding it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Oct 2011   #8
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

My personal folder structure is located on my Data drive under a "MY Stuff" folder - This contains a my Documents, My Videos, etc. but also the desktop, searches and other special folders that are re-locatable using the Locate feature.

I also include these in the libraries which also include Overflow areas for videos where space constraints mean I have to use other drives / partitions for storage

With this set-up I can enter the folders via the Libraries, User Folders or directly.

This set-up has been in this form since Vista and multiple installs of Win7, (Libraries added), and machines.

I have never had any issues and where applications add their own folders I tend to leave these in place but set them to hidden, where they do not bother me but remain accessible to the application.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Oct 2011   #9
stlsailor

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by essenbe View Post
I just found C:/users and copied it to my E drive. Then used the location tabs to move it to the folder of the same name on the E drive, then click apply. then click yes. If you don't click yes I believe it will be in both locations.
Do you mean that you copied the entire directory tree including all folders and files to your E:/ drive before you moved the personal folders? Did you copy and move all of the personal folder files, even those just there for compatibility?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Oct 2011   #10
stlsailor

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
My personal folder structure is located on my Data drive under a "MY Stuff" folder - This contains a my Documents, My Videos, etc. but also the desktop, searches and other special folders that are re-locatable using the Locate feature.

I also include these in the libraries which also include Overflow areas for videos where space constraints mean I have to use other drives / partitions for storage

With this set-up I can enter the folders via the Libraries, User Folders or directly.
So you used the Move feature to move all the personal folders into "My Stuff?" You had no problem with any of the personal folders disappearing in transit like mine did?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Optimal Personal Folder Structure for Windows 7




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