Windows 10: Moving "Special Folders" and the USERPROFILE variable Solved

  1.    29 May 2016 #1

    Moving "Special Folders" and the USERPROFILE variable

    On a laptop running Windows 10 Home I tried moving the special folder "Videos" to another location, by clicking on the folder's Location tab in Properties, and using the Move button. It appeared to work fine, but I noticed one odd thing: Before the relocation, if I typed the following at a command prompt:

    cd %USERPROFILE%\Videos

    Explorer would open to the Videos folder. If I run the same command now, it tells me "the system cannot find the path specified." Of course this is because %USERPROFILE% still points to its original location under C:\Users\[username].

    1. Is this behavior involving the environment variable normal?

    2. If so, how do programs know where to store videos if Windows can't find %USERPROFILE%\Videos?

    Background: I'm trying to figure this out because I'm trying to diagnose a problem on a desktop machine which I just upgraded from Win 7 Pro to Win 10 Pro. I am seeing duplicate special folders under my username. I assume this has something to do with the fact that in the past I had relocated them to a different drive. I know I could try to get rid of the duplicates by restoring them to their default location and then moving them again, but first I want to understand what's going on with the environment variables.

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    29 May 2016 #2

    FOLLOW-UP: I see that the values stored in:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

    indicate the new locations of special folders after I move them. Is this the (only?) way Windows knows, for example, where "My Video" is located? How would one get to it from a command line?

    What's weird is that on my desktop machine I have two "Documents" folders under my username, each of which has a Location tab, even though only the "moved" folder is listed here in the registry. Why does windows think the folder in its original location is a "special folder?"

    General question: Once you move a special folder to a new location (using the Move button) shouldn't the folder no longer exist at it's original location? Or does Windows keep around a hidden copy for some compatibility reason?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3. Slartybart's Avatar
    Posts : 3,506
    Win_8.1-Pro, Win_10.1607-Pro, Mint_17.3
       29 May 2016 #3

    Take a read on this: CLSID Key (GUID) Shortcuts List for Windows 10

    and the related tutorials

    Complete List of Windows 10 Shell Commands
    Complete List of Environment Variables in Windows 10

    I ran into similar issues when I did what you did, tried the Win10 save location in Settings ... but eventually decided to just move my entire profile to a different partition.
    See: User Profile - Change Default Location - Windows 7 Help Forums

    When you're done, double check the environment variables
    Command Prompt
    REM if things look good, then
    REM exit
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    30 May 2016 #4

    Thanks. I think I've resolved it. I switched all the special folders back to their default locations, and then switched them back to the location where I want them on another drive. (I temporarily emptied them all first so the moves would be instantaneous.) Now I see only one of each kind of special folder.

    And the CLSID Key (GUID) shortcuts all seem to work: if I create a new shortcut using each of those keys, it opens the correct folder. So I think I'm good to go.

      My ComputerSystem Spec


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