Relocating User Desktop Folder Problem

  1. Posts : 3
    Win 10 Pro

    Relocating User Desktop Folder Problem

    I need help correcting a problem I created with the relocation of my user Desktop folder.

    I am new to Windows 10, and I have limited experience with Windows7.

    Lenovo M725s
    Windows 10 Pro, 1909 Build 18363.815
    AMD Ryzen 5 Pro CPU
    8 GB memory
    C: SSD, D: hard file

    I wanted to relocate my user Desktop folder from my C drive (SSD) to the D drive. I made a mistake in specifying the path in the relocation dialog box, and by not creating the D:\MyUser\Joe\Desktop folder before initiating the relocation.

    * I did not create the D:MyUsers\Joe\Desktop folder before trying to move the folder
    * I typed D:\MyUsers\Joe as the relocation path, instead of D:\MyUsers\Joe\Desktop

    The net effect seems to be a merge of the Desktop and other user Folders in the D:\MyUsers\Joe folder.

    How do I recover from this mistake? Some possibilities from my research on the forum.

    1. Manually recreate the folders with the appropriate attributes, permissions and locations.
    * * How do I do this?
    * * The I've accidentally replaced my User folder with my Pictures folder
    link seems to offer some try-and-retry suggestions (2018 post).

    2. Create a new user account (eg Joe2) and copy the backup date to the new user account folders, delete the Joe account, and then recreate the Joe account (or just live with the Joe2 account).
    * * Any way to recreate User folders w/o reinstall?

    3. Use the system restore capability.
    * * How do I know the date of the restore point(s)?
    * * How do I restore?
    * * Will the restore recreate the user profile folders with the appropriate attributes and permissions?

    4. Re-image the C: and D: drive from the CloneZilla image. The images were made in Feb 2020, so a lot of recovery and application reinstallation work might be necessary.

    Before making the Desktop folder relocation change I had done the following on the system.

    * Installed the latest MS Windows 10 update, so hopefully I have a recent restore point before I made the folder relocation mistake.

    * Backup of the user folders to an external hard drive before trying to move the Desktop folder

    * I then tried to relocate the Desktop folder to the D drive so it would be easier to backup along with the other user folders.

    I tried to relocate the user Desktop folder from the C drive to the D drive. This was similar to my previous relocation of some “user” folders such as the Documents, Pictures and other folders. Unfortunately I tried to perform the relocation steps from memory instead of following a set of written instructions. I did not create the Desktop folder in the D drive users directory before making the change which seems to have merged the relocated Desktop folder with the other user folders.

    I will show screenshots of 2 different user accounts: Joe and Joe Admin. The Joe Admin account is an admin account, that I did not try to modify. The Joe account is the account where I tried to relocated the Desktop folder.

    There is a 5 image limitation on uploading jpg files. So, I created a pdf file with the text and related images.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance.
    Relocating User Desktop Folder Problem Attached Files
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 12,017
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H2 Build 19044.1889

    1 Create the folder you want [D:\MyUsers\Joe\Desktop]

    2 Run C:\Windows\regedit.exe and paste this into its address bar [it's quicker than getting there manually]
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

    3 Look on the right-hand side.
    - You'll see an entry called Desktop with a little ab icon on its left and containing the data D:\MyUsers\Joe
    - Double-click on that little ab icon
    - Enter D:\MyUsers\Joe\Desktop
    - OK. Then you can close RegEdit.

    That's it. Job done.

    You can now have a look in the 'wrong' location D:\MyUsers\Joe for files you want to move across into D:\MyUsers\Joe\Desktop. You can just use File explorer for this.

      My Computer

  3. Posts : 36,384
    Win 10 Pro (21H2) (2nd PC is 21H2)

    Hi, sadly mistakes in doing this are reported time and again. This is why I asked Brink if he would add an instruction in the relevant tutorials to create a disk image before performing this operation.

    You've correctly noted your images/clones are out of date.

    Macrium Reflect (free) can create a differential image of a typical Windows installation over USB3 from a SSD in e.g. 8-12 minutes with a few clicks.
    Last edited by dalchina; 30 Apr 2020 at 01:21.
      My Computers

  4. Posts : 3
    Win 10 Pro
    Thread Starter


    Thank you for your response. I will take another look at your regedit suggestion after I read some more on the tutorial by Brink.


    You are so right about making the image.

    New Questions:

    Continuing my online research about the Desktop folder problem, I found the well written tutorial by Brink.

    Restore Default Location of Personal Folders in Windows 10

    Option 2 in the tutorial describes using downloadable bat files to restore the Personal Folders.

    If I understate correctly, I could run the
    which then would create a new
    C:\Users\<name>\Desktop folder on the C drive.

    I could then copy the appropriate user files to the new folder on the C drive, and then relocate the new user folder to the D drive later following the correct relocation procedures.

    If so, then this might be a safer way to for me to recover from my mistake without incurring the risk of my editing the registry.

    My Questions:
    1. Are these downloadable bat files still valid for Windows 10?
    2. Is my understanding that the bat files create a new C:\Users\<name>\<Personal Folder>, where <Personal Folders> could be Documents, Desktop, Contacts, etc?
    3. Do I need admin rights for the account when I run the bat file?

    Again, thank you for your assistance in advance.
    Last edited by JoeWin10; 29 Apr 2020 at 22:24. Reason: typo
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 12,017
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H2 Build 19044.1889

    1 Yes
    2 Yes
    3 No [By the way, the concept of Admin rights is something that comes into play if a change affects other users. By definition, if you are changing your own user folders you are not affecting others.]

      My Computer

  6. Posts : 3
    Win 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Success - Thank You

    I am very late in posting a sincere “Thank You” to Denis and others for their assistance with my problem.

    I successfully used the Brink’s tutorial to recover from my mistake.

    The only snag I encounters was caused by my earlier attempt to recover from my mistake. I had some of the Desktop folders for one user account split between the C and D drives. Once I moved all of the messed-up Desktop folders to the D drive, I was able to recreated the Desktop folders on the C drive using the bat files.

    I then copied the desired files from the folders on the D drive to the folders on the C drive. Once I verified that the User Desktop Folders were functioning correctly, I deleted the D drive folders.

    Once everything was stable for a week or so, I then relocated the user Desktop Folders to the D drive making sure that I had first created the necessary User Folders on the D drive (do not make the same mistake twice).

    Again, thank you for your assistance.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 12,017
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H2 Build 19044.1889


    I'm glad the problem has been resolved.

    Just for future reference, I avoid similar problems by using this variation on the standard procedure to avoid my own mistakes as well as Windows' mischief
    1 I create the target folder before starting.
    2 I then move the files & any subfolders from my original user folder myself in File explorer [so I don't need to ask Windows to move them for me during the procedure]
    3.1 I then open the target folder in File explorer,
    3.2 I click on a blank area within the File explorer address bar so that it selects the full path,
    3.3 I press Ctrl-C to copy the full path to the clipboard.
    4 I then use the standard procedure in the TenForumsTutorial during which I paste the copied path into the Location tab so I know there are no typos or other mistakes.

    I started using this variation on the standard procedure a decade ago after I had messed up my own user folder relocations.
    - Since then I have never had any problems.
    - Since then I have been able to help a lot of other users who have made mistakes during relocations.

      My Computer

  8. Posts : 13,961
    Windows 10 Pro X64 21H1 19043.1503

    Backup your hard drive

    The first thing you need to do is backup your current install. The best way to do this is to use Macrium Reflect Free to make an image backup to an external hard drive. If you don't have an external hard drive now is a good time to get one as regular backup should be a part of your normal process. You can get a 1TB external hard drive for $60 (less if on sale).

    There are other backup programs available but Macrium is the one I use and recommend.

    • Acronis True Image. A full featured backup solution. ...
    • EaseUS ToDo Backup. A flexible solution in the backup arena. ...
    • Paragon Backup & Recovery. Enterprise options for home backup. ...
    • NovaBackup. Does the basics well, but only the basics.

    Forget CloneZilla please. Switch to Macrium if possible or one of the others listed above. This is important, don't put it off.
      My Computers


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