My documents cannot be displayed on XP desktop

By ranger_cole
Jul 10, 2008
  1. I have an XP Pro sp2 pc that has stopped displaying My Documents folder on the desktop. I right mouse click on desktop>properties>desktoptab>click customize desktop button>see that my document box is checked next to icon. I click ok and then click apply button. View desktop but no icon is displayed.
    I went to C:\Documents and Settings\my name\My documents and there is a “my documents” folder at this location.
    Here is another piece of the puzzle: When you open any application and go to the menu and choose open you get a list of named icons like my recent documents, desktop, my computer, and an untitled icon that is the my documents folder. You can click this untitled icon and it will open my documents folder. I installed TweakUIpowertoy for XP. I went to my desktop and no my documents folder is listed. I went to special folders and clicked on my documents and there was no location listed for it. I then added C:\Documents and Settings\my name\My documents as the location clicked ok and apply. No my documents icon on the desktop.
    I went to this reg key HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders but there is no my documents entry.
  2. 1101doc

    1101doc TS Rookie

    It sometimes happens that a User Account can become corrupted and present "goofy" symptoms that seem to make no sense,
    I suggest that you create a new user account with Admin rights, reboot and log-in to the new account.

    Please be patient while Windows configures the new account for first use. It may take a couple of minutes.
    Once the desktop is fully loaded, check to make sure that "My Documents (and everything else) is working properly.

    If so, reboot into Safe Mode, log into the overall ADMINISTRATOR'S account and follow the procedure for transfering your documents and settings to the new account as explained here:

    After living with the new account for long enough to be sure that your data has all been transferrred, the old account can be deleted.
    After that you can rename the new account to the same as the old one if you like.

    I actually keep an unused Admin level account on my system at all times just to facilitate this sort of thing. "Switching" accounts is often much more straightforward than attempting to troubleshoot and correct difficult problems which may only be user account deep.
  3. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    You can also do one or both of the following:

    1. Run the Error Check: My Computer> right click on Local Drive-usually C> Properties> Tools tab> Error Check> CHECK both boxes on the screen that comes up> OK> Close the nag message that comes up and Reboot.

    If you don't do the Error Check as part of your routine maintenance, it will take a while- let it complete. The system will reboot when finished.
    Do a System restore to date right before My Docs went missing.
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