I'm running Windows 10 x64 and a few months ago my Downloads and Desktop folder went missing. I can see them in explorer and I can even access the files inside them but when I try to access those folders in other programs they don't exist! Some programs see the folder but can't read the files inside. All the other shell folders (documents, pictures, etc.) seem fine.

For example, here are 2 programs and what happens with them:


I had deluge setup to download into the c:\users\%username%\downloads folder but when I recently opened the application it gave me an error saying the folder could not be found. When I browse through deluge to set the folder, it is no longer there (but I can see it in explorer).


VLC can see the downloads folder but when I choose a video file from either the explorer or within VLC it tells me the file cannot be read.

I'm not sure what changed and I'm fairly certain my disks are in good condition. Any idea what would be causing this and a potential fix?

  • 1
    Have you created a new user profile, launched either of these files, and verified the behavior happens as that new user?
    – Ramhound
    Jan 9 '17 at 20:52
  • @Ramhound I have not, I will test this and add the results to my question as soon as I can.
    – vane
    Jan 9 '17 at 20:55
  • Are the folders in question set to be "hidden"? Jan 9 '17 at 21:14
  • @Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Nope, they are not set to hidden and they are not set to system.
    – vane
    Jan 9 '17 at 22:18
  • Have you checked Controlled Folder Access? Try turning it off. Oct 21 '19 at 13:30

I would compare the folder "security" settings with another user folder, like documents or something. If there is a difference, set the security settings to match the one of the working folder.

  • I have already done this and they are identical, in fact, you can't get any simpler as far as permissions go. system = full control, administrators = full control, my user = full controll
    – vane
    Jan 9 '17 at 23:26
  • That's very weird. If you were to open a command prompt in your user's horn directory, and run the dir command, what do you see?
    – stojda
    Jan 10 '17 at 3:37
  • When I open a normal command prompt (meaning not elevated) as my current user (the user with the problem) and do the dir command, I see the Downloads and Desktop folder as normal.
    – vane
    Jan 10 '17 at 8:21

I've noticed in my recent installation of Windows 10, that my Desktop was moved into OneDrive. i.e. you can still access it by going to C:\Users\<USERNAME>\OneDrive\Desktop

  • He's asking about the downloads folder not the desktop folder.
    – DavidPostill
    Oct 23 '19 at 17:54
  • Why did you delete my comment? Are you guys reading the same post as I do? It clearly states Desktop. Oct 23 '19 at 18:19

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