Windows Vista Documents and Other Special Folders

Windows Vista Documents and Other Special Folders

While this page shows you how to find a user’s Documents and other special folders, the real message is use this discovery to organize your files.  For example, remember to save appropriate files in your Music, Downloads or Searches folders.

Topics for Vista Documents


Users Folders – Including Documents

Windows Vista DocumentsXP’s ‘My Documents’ has been replaced by a plain ‘Documents’ folder in Vista.  However, if you take a step back and view the top level folder (Pauline in screenshot), then you can appreciate that the Documents folder is part of a larger ‘Filing Cabinet’.  Here are the dozen folders for the user called Pauline.

– Contacts

– Desktop

– Downloads

– Favorites

– Links

– Music

– Pictures

– Saved Games

– Searches

– Video

– Videos

– (Public)

If you look carefully at the above left screenshot, then perhaps you can distinguish the different icons for each folder?  Meanwhile, the screenshot below shows nine of the folders, but featuring the Aero Graphics in all its glory.

User’s Folders Enlarged

Vista Explorer documents

Let us hope that each user takes the opportunity to file away their documents in the appropriate folder.  While Vista provides the structure and the inviting icons, it is going to take a new way of thinking to take advantage of the improved storage layout.

I am trying to practice what I preach.  So far I have been disciplined, at least to the extent that now I download ‘stuff’ into the Downloads folder rather than spraying files higgledy-piggledy over my hard disk.  My next task is to be disciplined and save Word files into Vista’s Documents folder.

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Add your Home Folder to the Vista Desktop

In XP, it is possible to display the My Documents folder on the desktop.  While the technique described below is also available in XP, however, in Vista ‘Show On Desktop’ is more spectacular.

  1. Click Start
  2. right-click Username (Pauline)
  3. Select ‘Show on Desktop’
  4. Return to the desktop and admire the new icon; it looks like a diary or an organizer and it contains ten users folders, not just the Documents.

Windows Vista - Show on Desktop

Tip: Resize Desktop IconsVista Documents

One of my favorite tricks is to resize the desktop icons with the mouse.  Hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key and scroll the mouse wheel.  See how the Vista Desktop Icons resize.  You can also try this Ctrl +Scroll wheel trick in Windows Explorer.

Move Your Document Folders – Location Tab

The key to moving your personal files to another drive, is to find the Location Tab.  The reason is that only special folders have a Location tab; ordinary folders only have 5 tabs.

How to Move Document Folders

  1. Launch Explorer
  2. Navigate to the Users Folder
  3. Select the folder to move
  4. Right-click the folder you wish to move
  5. Select the Location tab
  6. Decide which drive to move the folder
    (It is also possible to move to another computer, or another folder on the same computer)

Summary of Windows Vista Special Folders

The discovery of Vista’s ten special folders will help you organize your files.  Launch Vista’s Explorer, familiarize yourself with the new layout of a User’s folders.  For example, My Documents has been replaced by ‘Documents’ In addition, enjoy the extra information displayed by the Aero Graphics in general, and on the folders underneath Username in particular.


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Configuring Windows Vista Topics:


     Vista Tools and Extras


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