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Windows 7: Confused Between The Difference - "My Documents" & "Documents"-Win7?

19 Jul 2011   #11

Windows 10 Pro (x64)

Almost every folder that has a "My ***" name to it has a desktop.ini file within it, this file is normally hidden. It is what is giving the folder it "My" prefix. It is part of Windows Localization. See below, an example desktop.ini file.

Removing "LocalizedResourceName" makes Explorer use the folder name as is.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jul 2011   #12

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Open a cmd window in /users/(your account) and type 'dir'. You will see the naked folders in all their glory.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jul 2011   #13

Win7 Home Premium 64x

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sgage View Post
Open a cmd window in /users/(your account) and type 'dir'. You will see the naked folders in all their glory.

Lol yes very nice sgage
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19 Jul 2011   #14

Windows 7 Home Premium X64 SP1

<< The other descriptor "My Documents" is a method of making it easy for the User to navigate to and organize their documents

The same goes for My Music, My Pictures, My Videos

Each of them have the My in front, but only for appearances sake>>

Actually, the 'My' prefix serves another purpose - it groups the Pictures,Documents,Videos and Music folders together and easy to spot in a long list of folders. Without the 'My' they'd be separated.
I found this out when I created duplicate folders on my D drive and dropped the 'My'
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jul 2011   #15

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1 & Windows 8 & 8.1 Pro x64

@ Thorsen:

Hello again! Thanks for continued help and your links!

Okay, let me throw this one at you... ...and you may ACTAULLY AGREE WITH ME...

ONLY when I realize by keeping it ONLY WITH "Documents", "My Documents", and "Public Documents" folders now, things start to click in my mind and you conceptually rationalize this:

JUST MAYBE, because we CANNOT SEE THE PHYSICAL "Documents" folder... ...AND it is in lieu of both "My Documents" and "Public Documents" ACTUAL folders; "Documents" IS ACTUALLY the "Documents Library" which we know "Libraries" IS A VIRTUAL PLACE. Therefore, "Documents" (A CATCH ALL FOR "My Documents" and "Public Documents") IS THE SAME THING AS the "Documents Library" and IS A VIRTUAL PLACE. If I look at my folder views of "My Documents" and "Public Documents" each folder contains 22 and 8 items prospectively, and in total my "Documents Library" should have 30 SINCE IT IS COMBINED and IT DOES! ..and when I perform the so-called conversion with the "My Documents" in the address bar to "Documents" (and also "Public Documents" as "Documents" too) using the technique you have shown above, they BOTH are calling themselves "Documents"), "Documents" IS INDEED the SAME PLACE AS THE VIRTUAL "Documents Library" -- BOTH VIRTUAL AND NOT REAL PHYSICAL PLACES! Therefore (logically, by the nature of the evidence) "Documents" *IS A VIRTUAL PLACE*, AND *NOT* A REAL PLACE! That would also mean this I have now just realized:

When you see in an address bar with C:\...\...\... ( the full directory name) of what have you, it can be BOTH A REAL and NOW A VIRTUAL PLACE, even though right along we have always accepted and considered it as a matter of convention (at least I have and I am sure many others have too) as a REAL place on your system. Now, with Windows 7, that does NOT hold true anyone that that the full directory name given will ALWAYS MEAN it is a REAL place.

Just a "logical and rational" thought???

Please reply if you wish.

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19 Jul 2011   #16
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1

Libraries actually contain nothing at all, they are a "shortcut" to various real folders. when a Library is opened, you may see the "My" prefix, as said this is for legacy operations which are expecting to find, say, My Pictures.

In an explorer window, you should see Libraries in the left pane near the top, expand them and you'll see what that Library junction point is pointing too. Go down the tree on the left farther to Computer, whatever your install is called, Users. Expand users and you find the folders "contained" in the Libraries.

That said, I find no use for Libraries myself and was confusing when I first got Win 7. What I did was to include only one location in each, eg, Documents has only 1 location, Documents. When I click documents from the start menu, voilą! The Documents folder opens up, nothing else.
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28 Jul 2011   #17

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Thorsen View Post
Here is a better way of describing it. why reinvent the wheel when wiki is your friend.

NTFS junction point - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
To Thorsen

Thank you so very much for your patience, valuable explanations, and links. This thread has been immense help to me.

After years of running my ThinkPads, in a very stable, fast, reliable XP Pro powered environment, I skipped Vista, but am very determined to run and enjoy Windows 7. Yet that said, old habits die hard especially with a highly optimized trouble free XP setup which is mission critical for my work.

Then add to the mix the fact that I work in a cross platform environment, with about half of my time spent running OS X 10.6.x on my MacBook Pro, and it's obvious why anything that saves me time as I ramp up my knowledge of Win 7 is quite appreciated.

Thankfully, I came across this thread which has _finally_ made it possible for me to say adieu to XP and fully embrace Windows 7.

Finally it get's even better, since I am a huge Windows advocate and use it for all my personal computing.

Your exemplary help has been priceless, you have made my day!

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28 Jul 2011   #18

Win7 Home Premium 64x

Well, thank you Vaioseven. I appreciate the compliments and I am ecstatic that I can be of such help.
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27 Dec 2012   #19

windows 7

The real purpose of libraries is intended for those that are generally incapable of or simply do not want to organize their files, so windows does it logically by sorting files by extensions.

Those of use that are used to and will continue to organize every single file exactly as they feel appropriate find libraries incredibly annoying and of zero value.
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27 Jan 2015   #20


I know this is old, but I'm still sooo confused!! That's one reason I did away with "Libraries", (MicroSoft idiots).

When in Windows Explorer, I have 3 places for "My Documents":
Desktop\Admin\My Documents
C:\Documents and Settings\Admin\My Documents
C:\Users\Admin\My Documents

the one under Documents and Settings does NOT contain all of my stuff, only a few files

I deleted Documents and Settings. I think the Desktop location is only a shortcut, maybe?
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 Confused Between The Difference - "My Documents" & "Documents"-Win7?

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