Tuesday, November 9, 2010

WINXP - My Documents Folder

I was answering a question on the Computer Help Forum (sidebar) when I realized that this subject should be posted here.

This has to do with the location of your My Documents folder. Specifically if you want to move it to another hard drive. This is specially handy if your C: is getting a bit tight (full) AND you have a second hard drive (like D:) has enough free-space.

Note that this move is transparent in the use of [Start] menu, Documents. After moving your My Documents folder, the menus get you to the correct folder.

Note that for this post I will use C: and D:

Lets start with some background info. There are a set of special folders in My Documents that have a Special Folder Icon (see screenshot) like My Music or My Pictures.

There are 2 ways to move your My Documents folder:

For Multi-User system (more that one user logs on)

Any user can drag-drop their My Documents folder from C: to D:
  1. In Explorer (aka My Computer) find your My Documents folder (in C:\Documents and Settings\your-profile-name)

  2. Open another Explorer window on D:

  3. Now drag your My Documents folder from C: to D:

You SHOULD get a set of folders in D:, here's where those Special Folder Icons come in.

For user John Doe, you something like:
  • John Doe's Documents
  • John Doe's Pictures

The same happens for any other user that is logged-on and moves their My Documents folder, but with their logon name.

Single-User system

Here is how I moved the My Documents folder on my home system


  1. Created D:\My Documents

  2. COPIED the full contents of C:\Documents and Settings\my-profile-name\My Documents to D:\My Documents, DO NOT DRAG/DROP

  3. IMPORTANT - use the Registry Editor to change my Document Path (see screenshot)

  4. (click for readable view)


Regardless of which method you use, you now should test to see if it worked.
  1. Click [Start], Documents to open your My Documents folder

  2. Now find a simple file you saved before (suggest a text file) and open it

  3. Now use the File menu, Save As, and rename the file (example MyDocsPathTest.txt), save

If things went correctly, the MyDocsPathTest.txt should be in D:\My Documents but NOT in C:\....\My Documents.

At this point you can delete the contents of C:\....\My Documents, OR the entire folder. In my home system I deleted the My Documents on C:

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