Having used Windows 7 during its RC Cycle and now using Windows 7 with its full release, I have come across what I believe is a side effect new cool functionality. Let me set the scene…
I like most IT people love to store content everywhere (this is bad being a SharePoint guy, I should know better, however…) I store content in my documents folder, my SharePoint sites, on USB drives and of course on my desktop. Also being in the IT industry I rebuild my laptop on average every six months due to a new product or something I have tried that didn’t work quite right J. To counter this proliferation of files I make a habit of changing the default location for my files (Documents, Pictures, Desktop) etc to something other than my OS drive. This way if something happens to my drive unexpected I have all my files up to date without having to rely on last Friday’s backups. In Windows Vista this could be done by right clicking on the documents or desktop folder and changing the default location to wherever you desire. In Windows 7, Microsoft has introduced the concept of these common folders as libraries, meaning that in your My Documents you can have multiple locations for storing things. For example: I have two folders of ‘Music’ mapped under my music library. The first location points to a music library on my laptop hard drive where I carry a selection of music I love to listen to all the time while working, while I have also mapped a second location to a USB hard drive that stores more ‘less required’ music. The great thing with these libraries is that they only appear when available and you won’t get lots of errors if there not. I also like the implications of adding SharePoint document libraries to this scenario where a user can access a SharePoint document library with little effort.
But enough on these new features, By Microsoft adding these great library features that have removed the change location ability that allows me to move my desktop from %USERPROFILE%\Desktop to another location. Frustrating!
Doing a little digging through the registry I found that it is possible to change the location of the desktop folder (or any of the core folder locations) to a location other than the default. Please note, that editing the registry can be dangerous and you should only make changes if you are willing to take the risks involved in editing the registry.
To change your default desktop location and do the following:
- Open the Registry editor (Regedit.exe)
- Browse to the location:
HKCU > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explorer > User Shell Folders.
- In the right window pane select the required value (i.e. Desktop).
- Insert the new location for the folder to be stored.
- Close the registry editor and log off.
When you log back on your Windows 7 folder location such as the desktop will be stored at the new location. You do need to note that any content that was stored in the old location does not move with the change and will need to be moved from the old location to the new location before you will see it again.