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Windows 7: Generally screwed up - User ID issues

07 Jan 2011   #1

Windows 7 Pro
Generally screwed up - User ID issues

Got a 'small' problem involving one or more things, those all the results of my fiddling with my Windows 7 machine's settings, but not sure what actually caused the issue with my not having a My Documents folder on the desktop.

As I recall, originally on a clean install an My Documents folder was once on the desktop, but somehow some time ago I found it gone and so I've since added a shortcut for it on the desktop.

Now just recently after an issue I caused, I reinstalled windows (after some snafu I'm guessing was either library and/or User ID related) after I'd found issues with Windows Media Center's albums, ie; I couldn't get one of three albums for a given artist to list in WMC's albums list. So in WMC, I removed all the 'look for' media references that I'd initially pointed WMC to, re-booted and re-pointed it back to the usual folders, but no matter how I tried, still the album wouldn't list.

So I opened the Library folder and deleted several oddly unrelated separate songs that listed outside my artists folders, and I' pretty sure I deleted the library too. Thereafter, on re-boot, I had serious issues with my IE8 browser and even my Outlook email handler.

Those issues were, opening IE8 prompted that 'a program has
corrupted your default search provider setting for IE' which led to IE trying to install a new search provider, which resulted in 'could not be installed, a req'd file could not be downloaded or website (ahem) unavailable' or (ahem) 'not connected to internet', and in Outlook, attempts to open it resulted in a prompt of 'your personal address book could not be opened..inaccessible or is not a PAB', but oddly if I used my handy SearchEverything utility, listed Outlook files, then
located one of its exe's and clicked on one, Outlook opened with out issue. At the very least, obviously a User ID issue.

So I tried system restore, no luck, tried running my system image, no luck, tried re0installling the registry from a recent reg backup (no luck, still IE and Outlook issues), then reinstalled Windows, I think I used that operation's result link to restore my documents, and only then I was able to use the system image and restore, recover or re-install whichever is the correct connotation.

So all seemed fine until for the first time ever, when I save something through a windows browser to supposedly the desktop, it saves it but I cant see it on the desktop (unless I set folder views to un-hide).

This 'all' seems related to issues relative to one or all of... 'my desktop' (I did something that disallows the original "My Documents" folder from being on the desktop), a one time long ago attempt at setting up and using a virtual desktop which didn't work out so well as even though I got it to work, I discovered that I could only swap document files one way and not both ways (to/from my W7 and XP-SP3 laptops), so I tried or succeeded in un-doing settings for virtualization and even the sharing stuff related to workgroups, plus I re-set the DSL Eternet/WifI modem.

Of no doubt significance, currently at...


..I see both "ShowSuperHidden" and "SuperHidden" valued at '(0), not sure if that's what they're supposed to be valued at when I've set folder views to un-hide.

But obviously reinstalling windows and then re-installing the system from my backup system image seems to have either restored this old 'issue' of not seeing/having a My Documents folder on the desktop (I now use a shortcut on the desktop to quickly access My Documents folder), but the just encountered matter of files save via any windows browser, those saved files aren't seen on desktop (but I can locate those saved files at C:\Users\MyNameHere\Desktop.

If it means anything, I have detectable "desktop" folders at...


The latter one, seems possibly odd as I don't network as far
as my 'advanced newbie-ness' (borderline wrecklessness) is aware of it, ie; I'm a home user and access the internet via a DSL modem/router (which I think I've since re-set it after one time trying to get it to WiFi between my laptops, ie; their platforms being XP/SP3 and W7).

If somehow this is a User ID issue (I hope not and find it hard to believe it could be, given the re-installs of first Windows and then reinstalling from a system image), the if assuredly this is seen as a User ID issue, I'm afraid I'd need my 'hand held' the entire way through what I suspect would be the recommendation that I fiddle with my user account (re-name it, delete the other one and then re-name the re-named one back to a default one.

Best regards and happ-e-trails to all,


If it ain't broke, we're not trying hard enough. How true.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2011   #2
Mike Connor

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2011   #3

Windows 7 Pro
Neeveer mind

Thanks for the reply.

Unbelievably after doing nothing more than poking around, checked registry for what values hidden showed, that and opening folders view and selecting and deselecting hide/unhide, that and a re-boot, the issue with saving files to desktop seems resolved.

As for my use of a "My Documents" shortcut on the desktop (as opposed to having a genuine My Documents folder on the desktop), I'm forced to ask if you're reply stems from your actually following all I wrote and your either recommending doing as you state for simply good practice, best guess or maybe you see some specific reasoning for that fixing things.

Apologies for exacerbating your kind reply.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Jan 2011   #4
Mike Connor

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

I read everything you wrote.

If you are happy with the modifications you have done, and they work, then by all means keep them.

Many things are dependent on the various "default" settings for folders etc. If they have been changed it often becomes extremely difficult to fix any problems that may arise.

The default settings are always the best basis for troubleshooting, and in many cases various problems simply disappear when the default settings are applied.

Regards....Mike Connor
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2011   #5

Windows 7 Pro
Seems like a shell game

App's for having read your reply so hastily, but then until just now I hadn't realized your somewhat succinct comments actually contained a link.

When first read, I incorrectly assumed you were referring to the common folder's properties>view>reset folders (and I'd assumed that must do a little more than what I'd always thought it did).

But now that I've looked at the post in your link, it's becoming clearer that I've obviously set up a user shell (not that I even understand what that encompasses, or how I did it).

I did notice that the post's 2nd picture doesn't look like my start menu, ie; as where my name is listed, it doesn't expand like what appears to be in the post's 2nd picture.

Instead I have to click it and then a window opens to see what resembles the picture's apparent expanded menu. Maybe I've un-ticked something somewhere that disallows expanding the start menu for my name (I kind of doubt it as I don't recall ever seeing a tick-able for just that, and most all the other start menu items are expandable).

As such, I'm guessing I've somehow created user shell, yes?

Aside from how the start menu lists my name's folders, in that most every folder seen in the window (when I click my name) has a "lock" icon, previously I'd simply assumed that meant they weren't shared, but for the first time, I thought about these icons and now (ahem) realize all the folders are shared (a result of my one time hopes of readily xfrg files between my laptops).

In any respect, I'm left to more seriously 'rolling this around on the table', as I'd initially figured to leave well enough alone (maybe I will, maybe I won't, depending on what you think I've actually done to my system.)

Again, no disrespect intended, I just didn't quite fully grasp what your reply actually involved.

This forum's really a cut above other forums. Much better than It used to be a an excellent forum, but now it seems all too often, replies there sort of whine about my past posts being relatively a bit lengthy, but I can't honestly expect an earnest reply without providing enough detail so as to afford someone making valid stab at resolving the issue.

Again, thanks for taking the time to reply, let alone read it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2011   #6
Mike Connor

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

Impossible to say what has actually occurred with your machine. Guessing and assuming are bad ideas when troubleshooting! :) One is obliged to stick to facts.

Can you tell me what it is you would like to achieve? Or what is apparently not working? Then I can attempt to help you fix it or achieve it. Remember, all I know about what is happening is what you tell me. I can not guess or assume things as that might result in my giving you wrong or bad advice. If you guess or assume things then I may have the wrong information on the matter and am unlikely to be able to solve the problems concerned as a result. Also, it is only sensible and possible to address one issue at a time, as one otherwise simply bogs down in a morass of unrelated problems. Choose one single issue which you would like to have addressed, and we will go from there. Often, solving one issue solves others as well,but one must concentrate on one at a time or it doesn't work.

Regards....Mike Connor
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2011   #7

W7 home premium 32bit/W7HP 64bit/w10 tp insider ring
re your ie query

Hi Wguru,
that doesnt sound good id do a quick scan with malwarebytes.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2011   #8

Windows 7 Pro

Good idea and thanks again for getting back. Sticking to one idea...

I see folder icons displayed as a folder with small padlock and sheet of paper under/next to that small added feature of otherwise folders are seen as simply a manila folder.

Again, aside from likely these are simply system folders that are set apart from general folders, I have no other idea what/why these specialized folders/icons of folder are displayed with the lock, paper and folder icon/folder.

If I might add to this, I see in the registry at...

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

..I don't have a Documents named entry, but I do have a "Personal" named entry and its value is "C:\Users\'my name here'\Documents".

So hopefully keeping with 'one thing at a time', I'll keep it at that.

And no, I don't ever recall having used malwarebytes, but I'll be looking it up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2011   #9
Mike Connor

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

The padlock icon overlays mean that the folders are SYSTEM files.

Also, if you deny the Read & Execute permissions for the HomeUser group the lock overlay will be applied by the system.

You can remove the lock overlay in this case by resetting the permissions to be inherited, and removing all permissions that are not inherited. To do so;

Right click the folder, click Properties
Click the Security tab
Click Advanced
Click Change Permissions
Check Both boxes to Include inheritable permissions, and to Replace all child object permissions
Click Apply then click Yes
Wait for the list to refresh
Remove all permissions that are <not inherited>

I still don't know what you actually want to do.

If you have been doing various things in the registry without really knowing what you are doing this can have wide ranging consequences, up to and including making your machine unusable.

In this case I would run a backup, and then do a "Repair " or fresh install, so that everything is back to normal. Then if you want to modify stuff, keep careful track of what you modify, and make regular backups.

To do a "Repair Install";

System Repair Disc - Create[2]=Performance%20Maintenance

Repair Install[2]=General%20Tips

You should also look at this;

Tutorial quick reference list for Installing Windows 7

Regards....Mike Connor
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jan 2011   #10

Windows 7 Pro
No registry fiddler here

Thanks for replying with your having identified 'system file folders' as those with padlocks and I'm guessing also they're supposed to have what resembles a sheet of paper sort of half way under the padlock.

I kind of surmised those folders were system folders, but just wanted to know for sure if they're supposed to be in a folder (apparently) named "Personal" (as seen in the registry), hence my mentioning that in the form of a question.

FYIO - I don't touch the registry unless absolutely, positively, no other way around something and I (before I ever touch it) back it up and moreover, I check out any reported issues in 'fiddling' with that aspect of the registry, plus I confirm with advanced IT professionals as well as I drill MS's website for as much details as I can comprehend. Because of that and the well known risks of registry hacking, I can count the times I've changed it on one hand and even then, it was an absolute last resort.

What I 'was' trying to do, is follow your lead and keep to one subject at a time by simply mentioning the registry not listing shell folders as per the link you provided, ref. it lists "Personal" as opposed to the default "My Documents".

That difference surely defines some change to the manner with which the My Documents folder is stored, accessed and/or displayed. And as in my initial post, I mentioned that I don't have the "My Documents" folder on the desktop (instead, again as mentioned, I have a shortcut for My Documents folder and I don't know why), so I'm trying to find out whatever information I can about why I don't have that folder on the desktop.

Again, I only mentioned my looking at my registry's having listed a "Personal" folder (also its key, lists the default pathway for that folder) and I earlier mentioned that my start menu doesn't (didn't) have a dropdown/expansion arrow where my name is listed at the top of the stat menu's right-hand column, ie; I seem to have 'fixed' the start menu's not affording a dropdown/expansion arrow, by checking the start menu's properties (all list as link options were ticked, so I used that window's 'restore default start menu', then re-ticked the 'show as links' and now all the folders in the right-hand column, especially the one listing 'my name', have the expansion arrow. Go figure.

Of note as well, I didn't realize it until after I 'un-conbooberized' start menu, but earlier before that, when I hovered any of the right-hand column's listed folders, the top most segment of that column always displayed nothing but my picture (it never changed to the hovered folder's icon until after I un-conbooberized the start menu's 'show as links' setting, ref. the right side column only now displays each hovered folder's icon). Again, go figure.

Also now that the start menu seems fixed, I see now that the 'padlocks' are no longer seen either in the now available start menu's dropdown, nor even if I open the 'system' folder that bears my name. Again, go figure.

So unless there's insufficient significance to those telltales, I suppose I shouldn't mention anything else, so as to keep to one subject at a time, unless of course it involves answering any speculation or questions you might have (towards determining why I don't have a an actual "My Documents" folder on the desktop).

And while I know now I can simply restore folders to default, I'd still kind of like to know why or how that happened, if only to perhaps avoid it in the future, plus as I read elsewhere, others are posting with the same/similar issue, and I haven't found any posts explaining how this is happening.

As for your initially mentioning malware as a potential cause, while I'm still looking into your suggestion, I'm afraid that until I find out more about your referenced scanning, ie; if it changes/fixes things without users OK'g it, if it does change/fix something, is it reversible, where to run it from (legitimate websites or is it a standalone scanner, etc.), so until then, I avoid running such software until I'm confident with respect to how to safely use it.

But its hard to imagine that in as much as I've mentioned I first reinstalled Windows to default, then ran what I'm confident is a clean system image, I kind of doubt malware is involved. And I don't recall, nor have I documented changing privileges.

I suspect the lack of a My Documents folder on the desktop could well be simply that I somehow didn't feel comfortable with it on the desktop (note I touched on that subject earlier) and perhaps I did something fairly innocuous to move the folder off the desktop, hence the somewhat MS sounding label for it in the registry (Personal).

So that's what I'm trying to do, why and I've added a bit more background that hopefully might point the way to determining how this happens a user.

I'm usually pretty good about documenting things that I change on my computers. I'm almost anal about it, but I'm not seeing any notes about the desktop and My Documents.

Lastly, I that my system image is set up for file sharing, networking via WiFi and Ethernet cable (thru my DSL modum/router), something I'd forgotten about and now that I've just un-did file sharing (even that seems an in-ornately exacerbated process as sharing and networking wizards don't 'cross-talk', eg; had to remove firewall rules, workgroups, etc.), and what with simply having 'reminded' the start menu's properties of its settings, I'm starting to think that maybe this My Documents folder issue, could be a result of little more than the results of file sharing and/or networking.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Generally screwed up - User ID issues

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