Introduction

This article describes how to move the special folders in Windows® Vista.

Moving the special folders

Windows Vista lets you easily relocate the shell folder paths for Documents, Music and Pictures folder using the Property sheet. Note that in Windows XP, selectively moving the My Pictures or the My Music folders required a registry edit. This is no longer the case in Vista.

Method 1

To move a special folder to a different drive or path, follow these steps:

  • Create the destination folder first
  • Click the Start button
  • Right-click the special folder (Documents, Music, or Pictures) and choose Properties
  • Select the Location tab
  • Click Move and select the target folder
  • Click Apply
  • Click Yes when you're prompted to move the files to new location
  • Click OK

The shell folder is now moved to the new location.

Method 2: Using Registry Editor

To accomplish this using Registry editor, follow these steps:

  • Create the destination folder first
  • Click Start, Run and type Regedit.exe
  • For per-user special folders, navigate to the following location:

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

  • For per-system special folders, navigate to the following location:

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

  • Double-click the corresponding shell folder name
  • Change the Value data accordingly, mentioning the destination path
  • Close Regedit.exe

Default shell folder paths - Listing

Per-user special folders

Value name (Special folder)

Value data
{374DE290-123F-4565-9164-39C4925E467B} %USERPROFILE%\Downloads
AppData %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming
Cache %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files
Cookies %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies
Desktop %USERPROFILE%\Desktop
Favorites %USERPROFILE%\Favorites
History %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\History
Local AppData %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local
My Music %USERPROFILE%\Music
My Pictures %USERPROFILE%\Pictures
My Video %USERPROFILE%\Videos
Nethood %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Network Shortcuts
Personal %USERPROFILE%\Documents
PrintHood %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Printer Shortcuts
Programs %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
Recent %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent
SendTo %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo
Start Menu %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
Startup %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
Templates %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Templates

 

Per-system special folders

Value name (Special folder)

Value data
{3D644C9B-1FB8-4f30-9B45-F670235F79C0} %PUBLIC%\Downloads
Common AppData %ProgramData%
Common Desktop %PUBLIC%\Desktop
Common Documents %PUBLIC%\Documents
Common Programs %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
Common Start Menu %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
Common Startup %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
Common Templates %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Templates
CommonMusic %PUBLIC%\Music
CommonPictures %PUBLIC%\Pictures
CommonVideo %PUBLIC%\Videos