Windows 10 User Shell Folders Restore Default Paths

This post provides you the list of User Shell Folders in Windows 10 and their default paths. If you’ve moved or relocated a shell folder, you can restore it to the default location via the folder properties Location tab in most cases. However, there are situations where the Location tab option can’t be used — i.e. when two special folders such as Music and Videos become merged and point to the same location. In that case, clicking Restore Default in the folder properties Location tab causes an error.

In such cases, resetting the respective shell folder path(s) in the registry is the only possible solution. This article provides the .reg files needed to revert to the default shell folder paths quickly, and also includes the list of shell folders and their default path for your reference.

Reset Shell Folder Paths to Default using Registry files

  1. w10_usf_defaults_hkcu.zip  – Windows 10 Shell Folder Reset defaults for HKCU*
  2. w10_usf_defaults_hklm.zip  – Windows 10 Shell Folder Reset defaults for HKLM*
  3. w10_usf_clear_override_hkcu.zip – Windows 10 Clear the Overriding registry values for HKCU (See Table 2)

* HKCU is short for HKEY_CURRENT_USER & HKLM is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

List of Shell folders & their default locations in Windows 10

Per-User: For the current user account, the special folder paths are stored in the following registry key:

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

user shell folders registry key in windows 10

Shell Folder Name — Value type: REG_EXPAND_SZ Location
{374DE290-123F-4565-9164-39C4925E467B} %USERPROFILE%\Downloads
AppData %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming
Cache %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache
Cookies %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCookies
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

Note: {374DE290-123F-4565-9164-39C4925E467B} represents the Downloads folder.

The following items do not exist in a clean install of Windows 10, but they’re created only if you redirect those folders to Microsoft OneDrive. If the following values exist, the location defined in the following values takes precedence. In case of any conflict, the following values can be deleted so that the defaults (above) are used.



To clear or reset to defaults all of these values below, download w10_usf_clear_override_hkcu.zip.

Logoff and login back for the change to take effect.

Value Name (Overrides) Shell folder whose path is Overridden
{3B193882-D3AD-4EAB-965A-69829D1FB59F} Saved Pictures
{AB5FB87B-7CE2-4F83-915D-550846C9537B} Camera Roll
{B7BEDE81-DF94-4682-A7D8-57A52620B86F} Screenshots
{F42EE2D3-909F-4907-8871-4C22FC0BF756} Local Documents
{7D83EE9B-2244-4E70-B1F5-5393042AF1E4} Local Downloads
{A0C69A99-21C8-4671-8703-7934162FCF1D} Local Music
{0DDD015D-B06C-45D5-8C4C-F59713854639} Local Pictures
{35286a68-3c57-41a1-bbb1-0eae73d76c95} Local Videos

Per-System: The common special folder paths are stored in the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
Shell Folder Name — Value type: REG_EXPAND_SZ Location
{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

Note:

  • {3D644C9B-1FB8-4f30-9B45-F670235F79C0} value represents the Public Downloads folder.
  • The values CommonMusic, CommonPictures, CommonVideo are single words (no space in them.)

RELATED: [Fix] Accidentally Merged Music, Pictures, Videos or Downloads Folders


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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

7 thoughts on “Windows 10 User Shell Folders Restore Default Paths”

  1. Thanks, it was driving me crazy. Documents and Pictures were pointing to OneDrive even if OneDrive was configured to save to This PC.

    The guilty registry keys were the ones with GUID name for Local Documents and Local Pictures had a path %USERPROFILE%\OneDrive\Documents. I removed OneDrive from the path and I could see again my local folder.

    During all this, I could see my local folder only through Libraries or by browsing directly to C:\Users\abc\Documents.

    Thanks again.

  2. Ramesh,

    I utilized, “PC Mover,” for a new Windows migration a year ago. During the cleanup process something happened (I’m not sure if it was me or the application) and it the “Downloads” folder began to mimick the “Documents” folder. I almost gave up trying to find a solution until I tried your registry key update, “w10_usf_clear_override_hkcu.zip.” It resolved the issue!

    Thank you!

  3. Worked for me as well. What a monumental pain in the rear the MS OS’s have become with all the embedding. Did the same as the first reply and then redirected to desired location. Thanks

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