Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I did something silly and accidentally moved my my special folders (My Documents, My Music etc.) to the Desktop. Once I noticed my mistake I quickly moved them back. But now my System acts erratically.

It continuously creates new empty folders on my Desktop. And I have now two folders named "My Pictures" in my home directory. One of which is magically linked to the one in Desktop while on the command line one one is actually visible.

If I delete the superfluous folders on Desktop then the explorer crashes. It is all a big mess.

Of course I checked HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\User Shell Folders and it looks all ok there.

So here the question: As anybody got any informations on how Windows 7 handles the special folders which might help be clean up the mess?

I am well versed in using both the command line or the registry editor.

share|improve this question

If all else fails, create a separate fresh user profile, then manually shift your data into the appropriate folders.

Have you tried using System Restore to revert back to a point when you knew things were working well?

There's also a Fix-It tool from MS that resets the system shell folders.

There's also a table available listing the appropriate paths - scroll down for the Vista / Win 7 one.

share|improve this answer
+`1, System… – Moab Jan 28 '11 at 15:55
up vote 3 down vote accepted

For the benefit of those who might find the question:

In the and I fixed it by using a combination of command line and explorer:

  1. I let Windows recreate new empty folders on the desktop
  2. I renamed the full directories in my home directory using TakeCommand
  3. I moved the folder from the desktop back where they belong using the Explorer
  4. I deleted the empty directories using TakeCommand.
  5. I renamed the full directories using TakeCommand.

I leave the question open as there is still no answer on how the explorer manages those special folders and those alias names which show up in the explorer but have no representation in the file system at all (Reminds me of OS/2 shadow links).

share|improve this answer

Many of the 'special folders' you see in explorer in Windows 7 (those that 'magically link') are junction points. Open a command prompt and go to your user's directory. type in


and you will see all the reparse points. The "L" attribute option is a new option I have not seen until windows 7 (I did skip vista).

share|improve this answer
I know about junction points :-). — But in this case it is the new "Library" feature of Windows 7 Explorer which brought the trouble: Once you know the right keyword to google it becomes all clear. – Martin Dec 31 '11 at 16:48
Thanks. I was playing around a little with Libraries but never quite got that far. The more you dig into the structure, the more questions pop up. – Richard Dec 31 '11 at 17:41

I think Nirsoft's SpecialFoldersView is what you're looking for.

I'm using it to see what's going where, following some re-direction.

I'm using Tune-Up's Disk space Explorer to remove large data from my OS, and this program's helping me fix application datapaths following a re-shuffle.

Hope this helps!


share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .