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Windows 7: User Folders - Restore Default Location



User Folders - Restore Default Location

How to Restore the Default Location of User Folders in Windows 7 and Windows 8
Published by Brink
28 Jul 2009
Published by

How to Restore the Default Location of User Folders in Windows 7 and Windows 8

information   Information
This will show you how to restore the default location of all or a single user folder of your choice in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Note   Note
If you have duplicate user folders instead, then you will need to backup the contents of the duplicate user folders, do OPTION TWO below, delete the duplicate folders, then you may need to restart the computer a couple of times first before the default location is restored.

The Windows 8.1 Update to be released on April 8th 2014 via Windows Update, renames SkyDrive to OneDrive now.


EXAMPLE: User folders
NOTE: This is at the default C:\Users\(user-name) location.
User Folders - Restore Default Location-example1.jpg

User Folders - Restore Default Location-windows_8.1.jpg




OPTION ONE
Restore User Folders using it's Folder Properties

NOTE: If using this option does not restore the user folder back to the default location, then use OPTION TWO below instead.
1. If you are in a homegroup, then you will need to change the homegroup settings to no longer share the user folder (ex: My Music) that you want to move first by unchecking the folder and clicking on Save Changes. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: This is so the user folder (ex: My Music) will not be shared on the homegroup anymore.
User Folders - Restore Default Location-homegroup.jpg
2. Press the Windows+R keys to open the Run dialog, type shell:UsersFilesFolder, and press enter.
NOTE: This will open your C:\Users\(user-name) folder.

3. Right click or press and hold on the user folder (ex: My Music) that you want to restore the default location for, and click/tap on Properties.

4. Click/tap on the Location tab, and Restore Default button. (See screenshot below)
Name:  Properties1.jpg
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5. Click/tap on OK. (See screenshot below)
NOTE: Notice that the location has changed to the default C:\Users\(user-name) location.
Name:  Properties2.jpg
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6. Click/tap on Yes. (See screenshot below)
Name:  Properties3.jpg
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Note   Note
If you have a folder in the default location named for the user folder already, then you will not see this dialog box.

Windows 8 will not have the "My" in front of the user folder name anymore.

User Folder Folder Name
ContactsContacts
DesktopDesktop
My DocumentsDocuments
DownloadsDownloads
FavoritesFavorites
LinksLinks
My MusicMusic
My PicturesPictures
OneDrive (Windows 8.1 Update)OneDrive
Saved GamesSaved Games
SearchesSearches
SkyDrive (Windows 8.1)SkyDrive
My VideosVideos


7. Click/tap on Yes. (See screenshot below)
WARNING: If you do not click/tap on Yes, then you will have two copies of this user folder at the C:\Users\(user-name) location. One will be a normal folder (same name) with the contents and the other as the now restored user folder. It is recommended that you click/tap on YES.
Name:  Properties4.jpg
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8. After a few seconds when the location has been restored, the Properties window (screenshot under step 5) will then close.

9. If you are in a homegroup, then you can now change the homegroup settings back to share the user folder (ex: My Music) again if you like by checking the folder and clicking on Save Changes. (see screenshot below)
Click image for larger version

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OPTION TWO
Manually Restore User Folders using a Reg File Download & Registry Editor

Note   Note
This is a more thorough method of restoring a user folder's default location, or restore missing user folders.

The reg files in the ZIP downloads below will automatically restore the default values at the registry location below for you.

Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
User Folders - Restore Default Location-user_shell_folders_reg.jpg


warning   Warning
If you have any duplicate user folders, or user folders that do not have a Location properties tab (Option One), then you will need to:
  • Backup only the folder's contents to another location to be safe.
  • Now proceed with the steps below
1. Open your C:\Users\(user-name) folder. If the user folder is missing, then create a New Folder and rename it with the name below for the user folder to fix.

For example: I would create a new folder named Documents if I needed to restore my My Documents folder.

NOTE: Windows 8 will not have the "My" in front of the user folder name anymore.
User Folder to fix Rename New Folder with
ContactsContacts
DesktopDesktop
My DocumentsDocuments
DownloadsDownloads
FavoritesFavorites
LinksLinks
My MusicMusic
My PicturesPictures
OneDrive (Windows 8.1 Update)OneDrive
Saved GamesSaved Games
Screenshots (In Pictures folder in Windows 8/8.1)Screenshots
SearchesSearches
SkyDrive (Windows 8.1)SkyDrive
My VideosVideos


2. To Restore the Default Contacts Folder Location
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Default_Contacts_Location.reg
download
3. To Restore the Default Desktop Folder Location
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Desktop_Default_Location.reg
download
4. To Restore the Default My Documents Folder Location
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Documents_Default_Location.reg
download
5. To Restore the Default Downloads Folder Location
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Downloads_Default_Location.reg
download
6. To Restore the Default Favorites Folder Location
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Favorites_Default_Location.reg
download
7. To Restore the Default Links Folder Location
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Default_Links_Location.reg
download
8. To Restore the Default My Music Folder Location
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Music_Default_Location.reg
download
9. To Restore the Default My Pictures Folder Location
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Pictures_Default_Location.reg
download
10. To Restore Default OneDrive Folder Location in Windows 8.1 Update
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Default_OneDrive_Location.reg
download
11. To Restore the Default Saved Games Folder Location
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Default_Saved_Games_Location.reg
download
12. To Restore the Default Screenshots Folder Location in Windows 8/8.1
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Default_Screenshots_Location.reg
download
13. To Restore the Default Searches Folder Location
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Default_Searches_Location.reg
download
14. To Restore the Default SkyDrive Folder Location in Windows 8.1
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Default_SkyDrive_Location.reg
download
15. To Restore the Default My Videos Folder Location
A) Click/tap on the download button below to download the file below.
Restore_Videos_Default_Location.reg
download
16. Save the .reg file to your Desktop.

17. Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

18. If prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

19. Press the Windows+R keys to open the Run dialog, type regedit, and press Enter.

20. If prompted by UAC, then click/tap on Yes (administrator) or enter administrator's password (if standard user).

21. In regedit, navigate to the location below. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: If this is for your Screenshots folder in Windows 8, then go to step 25 instead.

Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders
User Folders - Restore Default Location-shell_folders.jpg
22. In the right pane of Shell Folders, double click/tap on the user folder in the Name column (see table below) that you want to restore the default location of to modify it. (see screenshot above)
NOTE: If the Name entry in the table below is not there, then right click or press and hold on a empty space in the right pane, click/tap on New and String Value, and give it the name in bold below for that user folder.
Windows 8 will not have the "My" in front of the user folder name anymore.

User Folder Name in Registry
Contacts {56784854-C6CB-462B-8169-88E350ACB882}
Desktop Desktop
My Documents Personal
Downloads {374DE290-123F-4565-9164-39C4925E467B}
Favorites Favorites
Links {BFB9D5E0-C6A9-404C-B2B2-AE6DB6AF4968}
My Music My Music
My Pictures My Pictures
OneDrive (Windows 8.1 Update) {A52BBA46-E9E1-435F-B3D9-28DAA648C0F6}
Saved Games {4C5C32FF-BB9D-43B0-B5B4-2D72E54EAAA4}
Searches {7D1D3A04-DEBB-4115-95CF-2F29DA2920DA}
SkyDrive (Windows 8.1) {A52BBA46-E9E1-435F-B3D9-28DAA648C0F6}
My Videos My Video

23. Type in the full default path (see table below) of the user folder, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: Substitute User-Name in the full path with your user account name instead.
Name:  Modify_Shell_Folders.jpg
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Windows 8 will not have the "My" in front of the user folder name anymore.

User Folder Default Path
Contacts C:\Users\User-Name\Contacts
Desktop C:\Users\User-Name\Desktop
My Documents C:\Users\User-Name\Documents
Downloads C:\Users\User-Name\Downloads
Favorites C:\Users\User-Name\Favorites
Links C:\Users\User-Name\Links
My Music C:\Users\User-Name\Music
My Pictures C:\Users\User-Name\Pictures
OneDrive (Windows 8.1 Update)C:\Users\User-Name\OneDrive
Saved Games C:\Users\User-Name\Saved Games
SkyDrive (Windows 8.1)C:\Users\User-Name\SkyDrive
Searches C:\Users\User-Name\Searches
My Videos C:\Users\User-Name\Videos

24. Close Regedit.

25. Open an elevated command prompt (Right click -> Run as administrator).

26. In the elevated command prompt, Copy and Paste the command below exactly as is for the user folder icon that you want to restore to default, and press Enter. (see table below)
NOTE: This will set the user folder attributes back to default. You can Copy and Paste these to make it easier for you.
Windows 8 will not have the "My" in front of the user folder name anymore.

User Folder Command
Contacts attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Contacts" /S /D
Desktop attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Desktop" /S /D
My Documents attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Documents" /S /D
Downloads attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Downloads" /S /D
Favorites attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Favorites" /S /D
Links attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Links" /S /D
My Music attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Music" /S /D
My Pictures attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Pictures" /S /D
OneDrive (Windows 8.1 Update) attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\OneDrive" /S /D
Saved Games attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Saved Games" /S /D
Screenshots (Windows 8/8.1) attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Pictures\Screenshots" /S /D
Searches attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Searches" /S /D
SkyDrive (Windows 8.1) attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\SkyDrive" /S /D
My Videos attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Videos" /S /D


27. Close the elevated command prompt.

28. Log off and log on, or restart the computer to finish restoring the user folder location.
NOTE: Sometimes you may need to restart more than once for the changes to be applied.

29. When finished, you can delete the downloaded .reg file if you like.

30. If you have any duplicate user folders left, or user folders that do not have a Location properties tab (Option One), then you will need to:
  • Delete all duplicate user folders without the correct default C:\Users\(user-name)\(user-folder) path and user folders without a Location properties tab.
That's it,
Shawn









Related Tutorials

11 Oct 2009   #1
crasher23

Windows 7
 
 

Hi, I was doing this procedure and mistakenly click "yes" as warned in step 6, now I have to desktop folders, and I can't eliminate the duplicate. Can you please give me a link to the post were this is being solved?, I tried trough the search but I couldn't find any solution.
P.D. I now this is a how to but I don't wanna open a new post unless is necessary. Thanks a lot

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2009   #2
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Crasher,

The duplicate Desktop folder, without the default icon and just a yellow folder, should just be a normal folder without the Location tab in it's properties page. Copy all of the contents of this folder into the true Desktop folder, with the default icon, then see if you can delete it.

If not, then do OPTION TWO in the tutorial, restart the computer, and see if you can delete the duplicate Desktop (without default icon) afterwards.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2010   #3
doctorJ

Windows 7
 
 
Tried this and still no "my pictures"

I attempted this solution several times and have rebooted a number of times, but still "My Pictures" doesn't show up under my User directory. I used method 2, the registry fix and shell command. I used regedit to look at the value and it seems right. I have checked ownership of "pictures" and I own the folder.

But nothing I do seems to make the "My Pictures" show up where it can actually be used.

I have attached a screen shot. Any and all suggestions welcome.


Attached Thumbnails
User Folders - Restore Default Location-clipboard01.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


07 Feb 2010   #4
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello DoctorJ, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Sometimes it may take a bit for it to return. When you type in the Shell command for it, where does it open to?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2010   #5
doctorJ

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
Hello DoctorJ, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Sometimes it may take a bit for it to return. When you type in the Shell command for it, where does it open to?

It opens the correct location, My Pictures. I just can't see it in my user directory (nor can programs).

I have been trying other things, I changed to folder setting to display hidden files. It turns out "My Pictures" is a hidden folder. When I click on properties for that folder, the "hidden" property is checked, but greyed out so I can not alter it.

Any suggestions on how to unhide the folder. I think I will be good if I can restore the directory to be not hidden.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2010   #6
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

DoctorJ,

Open a elevated command prompt, then type the command below and press enter to see if that may help bring it out of hiding for you.

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Pictures /S /D
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2010   #7
doctorJ

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
DoctorJ,

Open a elevated command prompt, then type the command below and press enter to see if that may help bring it out of hiding for you.

attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Pictures /S /D
That worked! For some reason it took a couple of attempts (or maybe the effect just was not immediate). But eventually it worked. Do I need to reset that folder to be a system folder? (thats what the -s does, right? make it not system).

Thank you very much for you help. All this was a fix to a previous botched attempt to move My Pictures to a different drive. I will be more careful this time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2010   #8
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

You're most welcome DoctorJ.

No need to reset it. That is the default attribute setting for that user folder.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Mar 2010   #9
TheTalker

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I want to say thank you very much! I've had this problem for months now---I was afraid of changing the registry. Well, I finally did it and at first I thought I messed something up but after restarting everything is back to normal.

Thank you so much!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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