Redirect a system file problem


  1. Posts : 3
    Win 10
       #1

    Redirect a system file problem


    First post here for me - have lurked and used many tips over the years.
    I'm setting up a new computer with Win 10 Pro pre-installed (version 1903 Build 18362.356). It's a Dell Alienware Aurora R9.

    While changing the location of some of the system folders in my primary User (Dianne), I mistakenly pointed it to the D:\ drive instead of a folder on the D drive. It is the downloads folder, so I don't want files spraying all over my D drive. I cannot figure out how to "undo" this.
    I tried simply relocating it to a folder on the D Drive and I get the error about parent and child folders.
    I can't get it back to the c:\users\Dianne folder - get a permissions type error.
    I tried to move it back to c:\Users\Public\Downloads and that gives me this: Do you want to redirect folder "Downloads
    into another system folder "Public Downloads" located at blah blah. If you proceed with redirection you will not be able to separate them or restore default location. Do you still want to proceed with redirection?"
    I'm baffled at this point.
    I'm reasonably comfortable using command lines and such if that will help untangle this so I can get moving - don't want to start re-installing programs and moving some data from backups of my old PC until I get this part set up.
    Thanks for advice or for pointing me to a tip already posted that I can read & follow.
    Dianne
      My Computers


  2. Posts : 43,282
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #2

    Hi, welcome to tenforums. I assume you used the Location tab when making this mistake.

    If you followed the tutorial, you'll note this warning (which I asked to be added).

    This tutorial will show you how to move the default location of your Downloads folder to where you want in Windows 10.

    It is highly recommended to create a system image backup first to make it easy to undo if you were to make a mistake in the steps below.
    Move Location of Downloads Folder in Windows 10

    It is virtually impossible to correct such a mistake- MS says it's not possible. In one case only, as an experiment, one member, Bree, spent about two weeks repeatedly experimenting to try to find a way to help someone who'd made this sort of mistake. Eventually, he did.

    However, that was a one-off.

    Do you have a disk image you could use to restore your system to a state prior to this?
    Here on tenforums, members tirelessly recommend that people use disk imaging routinely- e.g. Macrium Reflect (free/paid) + external storage for sets of image files.

    Lacking that, the best recommendation is to transfer everything to a new user account and abandon this one.

    Note: there is this, but I'm not sure how much it will help: make sure you back up any data before making changes.
    Restore Default Libraries in Windows 10

    As I've posted several times elsewhere, my preference is to create my own folders for personal data on a separate disk or partition. These can be added to libraries of course.
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 14,139
    Win10 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro and Home, Win7, Linux Mint
       #3

    What I've done is create a new Downloads folder on the D:\ drive, copied all the files from the C:\Users\USERNAME\Downloads folder to the new one followed by deleting the originals then in the browsers changed the location to that new one for storing downloads.

    Links found on Web pages may not adhere to that scheme so I left the C:\Users\USERNAME\Downloads intact and periodically Move files out of it to D:\Downloads.

    If C:\Users\USERNAME\Downloads no longer exists may need to add the folder.

    It was important as the only drive [1TB] in the computer is partitioned 150GB for the C: boot/system/OS drive and D: is a 780GB partition as the Data drive which I also install some programs on. This has worked for 4 years but if I ever need to reinstall I may re-partition the drive to give C: more room.
      My Computers


  4. Posts : 3
    Win 10
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Redirect a system file - problem


    Thank you, dalchina. I did use the location tab and I've done it many times over the years - so I wasn't following the tut and didn't use proper care by making a system backup first. Lesson learned (again)!

    I'm not entirely sure how I did it, but it now appears to be fixed. I followed a suggestion in another thread that I happened on.
    the steps were:
    1. make a new downloads folder in the destination location of choice
    2. right click on the "wrong" shortcut - D:\ in my case & select Properties
    3. In the path field, simply change it to your preferred destination and click APPLY
    4. You'll get a request to confirm the redirection - click No
    5. Click OK in your D:\ window
    Restart.

    After restarting, I opened File Explorer and the Downloads system folder seems to be where I want it - D:\DOWNLOADS
    I manually moved a few files into it.
    There are no error messages.
    It sounds to easy to actually be true, so I'm not publishing this to the world yet.

    Berton, thanks for chiming in. Your solution certainly works, but I don't want to have to think about yet another "maintenance" step if I can possibly avoid it.
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 43,282
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #5

    Glad you found a way back.. depending on what mistake is made, this can be next to impossible.
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 9
    Windows 10 Professional, x64-based PC
       #6

    An even better way, reset Registry values for default locations


    dearnold said:
    First post here for me - have lurked and used many tips over the years.
    I'm setting up a new computer with Win 10 Pro pre-installed (version 1903 Build 18362.356). It's a Dell Alienware Aurora R9.

    While changing the location of some of the system folders in my primary User (Dianne), I mistakenly pointed it to the D:\ drive instead of a folder on the D drive. It is the downloads folder, so I don't want files spraying all over my D drive. I cannot figure out how to "undo" this.
    I tried simply relocating it to a folder on the D Drive and I get the error about parent and child folders.
    I can't get it back to the c:\users\Dianne folder - get a permissions type error.
    I tried to move it back to c:\Users\Public\Downloads and that gives me this: Do you want to redirect folder "Downloads
    into another system folder "Public Downloads" located at blah blah. If you proceed with redirection you will not be able to separate them or restore default location. Do you still want to proceed with redirection?"
    I'm baffled at this point.
    I'm reasonably comfortable using command lines and such if that will help untangle this so I can get moving - don't want to start re-installing programs and moving some data from backups of my old PC until I get this part set up.
    Thanks for advice or for pointing me to a tip already posted that I can read & follow.
    Dianne
    This problem is caused by Windows becoming confused and having two "valid" locations for your special folders. I'm not sure how this happens in all instances, but in my case, it occurred when OneDrive "Backup" redirected the Desktop, Documents, and Pictures to the OneDrive folder rather than the separate data partition locations used before reinstalling Windows to the OS partition and then finding the OneDrive damage while trying to relocate my personal folders to the data partition.

    The perfect, complete solution was provided on the excellent "winhelponline.com" site. In summary, the ultimate solution is to first redefine the default location for your personal folders to some iteration of "%USERPROFILE%\[Folder Name]" before then redoing the folder location change. Remember to sign out, and then sign back into your account after each action, rather than just restarting, which seems to reload your original, existing profile.

    There are three articles:

    Error “The folder can’t be moved here” for Documents and Pictures Folders, Caused by OneDrive
    Error "The folder can't be moved here" for Documents and Pictures Folders, Caused by OneDrive >> Winhelponline

    Windows 10 User Shell Folders Restore Default Paths
    Windows 10 User Shell Folders Restore Default Paths >> Winhelponline

    [Fix] Music, Pictures, Videos or Downloads Folders Merged Accidentally and Point to the Same Location
    [Fix] Accidentally Merged Music, Pictures, Videos or Downloads Folders
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 26
    Windows 10 Pro
       #7

    Berton said:
    What I've done is create a new Downloads folder on the D:\ drive, copied all the files from the C:\Users\USERNAME\Downloads folder to the new one followed by deleting the originals then in the browsers changed the location to that new one for storing downloads.

    Links found on Web pages may not adhere to that scheme so I left the C:\Users\USERNAME\Downloads intact and periodically Move files out of it to D:\Downloads.
    Use mklink to create a junction (i.e. soft link) between C:\Users\USERNAME\Downloads and D:\Downloads. This technique is used for C:\Documents and Settings directory, which is hidden and is a soft link to C:\Users (open a cmd box, type CD \, type DIR /A:H and you'll see it). More info:

    The Complete Guide to Creating Symbolic Links (aka Symlinks) on Windows
      My Computer


 

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