windows 7 - Why do I have three My Documents folders?

  • Kris Harper

    I'm trying to fix my profile on Windows 7. Currently

    • %USERPROFILE% points to C:\Users\myUsername
    • My Documents is also at C:\Users\myUsername
    • \\profileServer\profiles$\myUsername has TWO "My Documents" folders
    • Neither of these folders contain what's in C:\Users\myUsername\My Documents
    • Navigating to %USERPROFILE% in Windows Explorer displays two copies of everything, one local and one copy from the server.
    • Programs use sort of a toss up between C:\Users\myUsername\My Documents or one of the two My Documents on profileServer.

    According to our sysadmins, My Documents is supposed to point to the profile server, but other folders should be local.

    How can I fix this so I have ONE copy of everything, with My Documents pointing to \\profileServer\profiles$\myUsername\Documents and everything else local?

    To be honest, I don't understand why this is so difficult and confusing. For example, why does Windows allow displaying two folders with the same name in the same directory?

    And why does inputting C:\Users\myUsername and %USERPROFILE% into Windows Explorer produce two different results? They should be identical.

    Some screenshots

    My directory on the profileServer

    My local user directory, C:\Users\myUsername

    Navigating to %USERPROFILE% in Windows Explorer

    Showing that %USERPROFILE% is set to a local directory

  • Answers
  • Thraka

    I hope I have your answer! I believe I reproduced this by copying the desktop.ini (hidden) file from the real my documents folder to any other named folder. This forces the look and feel of that folder to be My Documents even though it's something else.

    To Fix Your Problem

    1. In explorer, navigate to the Tools->Folder Options menu
    2. Click on the View tab
    3. Find the Hidden files and folders item and under it, select Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
    4. Click OK
    5. In your %userprofile% folder, you need to identify the fake My Documents. Do this by opening the Property page of both items. One will have a tab named Location. This is your REAL My Documents folder. The real My Documents and the fake My Documents
    6. On the property page of the fake My Documents folder, click on the Security tab. This will show the location of the folder for your reference.
    7. Close the property pages and open up the fake folder
    8. Since you enabled Show hidden files in step #3, you will now see a transparent looking desktop file. Delete this file and return the previous folder. The original name of the folder will return. (Ignore the icon in my picture, I have this file associated with notepad++) desktop ini file controlling the look and feel of the folder
  • Amicable

    You can change the location of your Documents folder, add more etc by Right Clicking on your "Documents" folder.

    (Note, "Documents" folder under Libraries. Not "My Documents")

    enter image description here

    Either the folder itself, or the Start Menu shortcut is fine.

    This window will pop up. You might have multiple folders listed here?

    Window like so

    You can then change the location of the libraries here.

  • Related Question

    Windows 7 re-install - reestablish existing My Documents location on separate partition
  • Dan

    I currently have a desktop with one big drive in it. I have a C: and a D: partition. C: is for my Windows OS and programs, and D: is for my data. I have My Documents configured to my D: partition.

    I have an SSD that I plan to use as my new OS/programs drive - I will install a fresh copy of Windows onto that new drive. What I'd like to do then is reestablish the new install's My Documents to point to the My Documents already on my data partition.

    I know how to change the location of My Documents to point to a new location; will this also work for changing the location to point to an exising location?

  • Related Answers
  • ongle

    You could test the process with a different account and see if it works and doesn't wipe out the contents of the existing location.

    To be safe, you could rename the old location to something else, point your My Documents to the original name of the old location (allowing it to create it), then just move all the contents from the "something else" folder to your new My Documents. No need to worry if it will wipe out anything in the move.