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Windows 7: Changing icon locations changes it for all users

08 May 2012   #1

Win 7 Home Premium x64
Changing icon locations changes it for all users

When I move or delete an icon in my desktop (yes, it's the admin account), it also changes and moves them on other users' accounts. Any idea why?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 May 2012   #2

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

Welcome to the Seven Forums!

I'll assume when you say move you mean that you moved shortcuts or folders from your desktop to another folder and not that you just moved them to new screen coordinates (location) on your desktop.

There are two desktop folders that are merged together to form the desktop that the user sees:
(anything in that folder, everyone sees)

(anything in that folder, username sees)

The stuff that you are changing/moving is most likely in the public desktop folder... so you are impacting every user of that computer.

Sometimes, during the installation of a program, you will see a question like, "Do you want to make this program available to all users?" If you answer yes, then a shortcut to that program might be placed in the public folder for all to see and the start menu for all users... answering no might place them in the desktop and start menu folder locations for the user that is currently logged on.

The start menu is also a "merged view" of two folders:
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\
(anything in that folder, everyone sees)

C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
(anything in that folder, username sees)

One last thing (that you did not ask about) is the startup folder. There is one for all users and one for each individual user. You can see where this is going :-)

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Right clicking on the startup folder and then selecting "Explore" from the context menu - as shown above - will let you see the startup folder for the person currently logged on. Selecting "Explore all users" is pretty much self explanatory. Items placed in the startup folder for all users - impact all users :-)

BTW, you might need to tell Windows 7 to show hidden folders if you want to navigate to these folders via Windows Explorer.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #3

Win 7 Home Premium x64

That was informative, thank you. The problem with your explanation is that some of the icons (this is on my wife's user desktop) that got moved to another folder were ones that I did not have. She has some genealogical programs that I've never had an icon for (not my speed) that got moved when I did some rearranging under my user profile. One thing that I didn't mention before and I'm not sure it's relevant but I recently installed a program called Rocket Dock. A cool prog but since my ultimate goal was as clean a desktop as possible, I had to shove everything on my desktop into a single folder before adding shortcuts to Rocket Dock. You don't suppose this program might have tinkered with something and ended up with an unintentional side effect?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 May 2012   #4

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

I installed Rocket Dock, made a folder & moved the only two items that I had on the desktop into it (which moved everything from the public desktop to this newly created folder). then I placed a shortcut to the two items in that folder on to Rocket Dock. But, none of this impacted the shortcuts that were unique to another user's desktop. So... I was not able to reproduce your issue. :-(

I did, however, succeed in crashing Rocket Dock...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #5

Win 7 Home Premium x64

Lol, that's funny! Yeah well I just threw it out there just in case it rang a bell. I didn't know if it had anything to do with my problem or not and it was the only new thing I installed since this problem started. Otherwise, I'm out of ideas.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Changing icon locations changes it for all users

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