Problem with "My Documents" folder

By Tim_is_here ยท 10 replies
Feb 16, 2006
  1. I am running XP professional with SP2 on a PC with two users. For simplicity, I will call them User A and User B. User A (me) has administrative privileges, and User B is just a glorified guest account that hasn't been used in quite some time. I am the only one that uses this machine.

    The problems I'm having are with the "A's Document's" and "B's Documents" folders under "My Computer". "Shared Documents" is fine.

    The problem with "B's Documents" is that when I hover the mouse over that folder, it says the same thing as the "Shared Documents" folder: It says "Contains files and folders shared between users of this computer." Of course, in the case of "B's Documents" this is not true. This folder is not shared, and there is no "hand" showing under the folder. If I doubleclick on the folder, it goes to "C:\Documents and Settings\B\My Documents" as it should, and properly displays the files there.

    The "A's Documents" folder has additional problems. First, like B, when you hover the mouse it gives the same message as above ("Contains files and folders shared between..."). Also like B, it isn't actually shared, and there is no "hand" under the folder. Unlike B though, it has the additional problem of pointing to the wrong place. If I double-click on "A's Documents" it takes me to "C:\Documents and Settings\LocalService\My Documents". As this is empty, My Documents appears to be blank. However, if I go to "C:\Documents and Settings\A\My Documents" all of My Documents are indeed there (thank god).

    I have no idea how this got all screwed up. I can tell you though that whatever happened, happened recently -- either today, or at most a couple of days ago. Before then, things were normal. I only noticed this problem today. I cannot afford to lose a day's work over this silliness though, so I cannot use a system restore point. Besides, I use GoBack, and the furthest I could go back is one day. Who knows if this would even be far enough back to fix the problem.

    By the way, my machine is protected from viruses and spyware. Norton Antivirus is always running, as is Microsoft AntiSpyware. In addition, my PC runs Microsoft AntiSpyware and Lavasoft Ad-Aware full scans daily.

    Any idea how I can fix this? "A's Documents" and "B's Documents" folders both are read-only. I know how to change that, and thought that maybe I could delete both these folders and recreate them -- but then they would appear as shortcuts instead of folders (I assume). And I'd wonder if there'd still be something inherently wrong with them, such as the incorrect hover text and who knows what else. So before messing with anything I thought I'd come here first. Any ideas on what might have happened, and what I should do? Thanks very much!

  2. Peddant

    Peddant TS Rookie Posts: 1,446

  3. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    i read somewhere that it has something to do with teh profiles and also teh registry.. while i was searching something to help another guy on this forum for his answer the program UPHCleaner came up.. that cleaner, (although since i havent used it before) does have something to do with cleaning/fixing up the registry of user profiles or something.. may be worth checking out.. (read the readme.txt first.. it does seem abit complex...)

    since you're admin-level, you will have access to all the folders, and i think thats teh default msg for hovering above folder icons, unless its details and Mb of its' contents?

    hope it helps =)
  4. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,186   +469

    System restore will not delete your work files. Since you can always undo the restore, it would be worth a try unless you have turned it off.
  5. Tim_is_here

    Tim_is_here TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the suggestion...I went ahead and installed UPHclean. And you're right, it's sort of complicated. Unfortunately, it didn't solve the misdirected folder problem, but I discovered I did in fact have another problem that UPHclean fixes, so it's a keeper. (If you're curious what that problem is, check out which explains it better than I could. Basically, Microsoft's own "svchost" was causing that problem.)

    You know, I think you are probably right about this. But just to confirm: do you (or anyone else in Administrator mode) see the same message I do? Do you see "Contains files and folders shared between users of this computer" when you go to "My Computer" and hover the mouse over "User X's Documents"? This would be for all users. Thanks!
  6. Tim_is_here

    Tim_is_here TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Actually, it would delete my work. The only way it wouldn't delete it is if I knew exactly which files to bring back after the restore. But since I don't...

    Anyway, the point is moot because I now cannot go back far enough into the past to fix the misdirected folder problem.
  7. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115


    now your turn.. see if you can find this in regedit:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

    those keys have something to do with the location of folders i think.. i'm a bit short on time and brain power at the moment (2am here and afterparty...) so i hadnt looked throught the whole registry.. however you could, just open up regedit via the run command and ctrl+f to search for eg: my documents and then f3 to go next finding etc.. just google em and backup before hand as well before you change anything.. (which i'd suggest to you to do on the above keys.. )

    anyways.. im off need sleep.
  8. Tim_is_here

    Tim_is_here TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks N3051M! First off, the fact you get the same "hover text" message that I get makes me think that I probably have less wrong with my system than I thought...maybe just the one misdirected folder. Also, searching the registry was a great suggestion. I didn't see anything unusual under the folders you mentioned, but I did search for "C:\Documents and Settings\LocalService\My Documents" and came up with two hits. And, they were very similar paths to what you suggested:

    1. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\DocFolderPaths, A=C:\Documents and Settings\LocalService\My Documents

    2. HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-19\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders, Personal=C:\Documents and Settings\LocalService\My Documents

    Since the problem in "My Computer" was that "A's Documents" was pointing to LocalService's documents instead of A's, I thought changing #1 above might fix the problem. And it did! There, I set A=C:\Documents and Settings\A\My Documents and that problem now seems fixed. :)

    But, now the question is...what the heck is this other registry entry (#2)? It seems pretty illogical to have a "My Documents" under a hidden folder, so it seems like this also could be a mistake. So...I went on to another computer and did the same registry search, and lo and behold...that computer also had entry #2. Is this actually supposed to be in there? Do you have it too? Thanks again!
  9. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    if your refering to this one:

    2. HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-19\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders, Personal=C:\Documents and Settings\LocalService\My Documents

    i realy don't have a clue.. most likley assumption is that one determines what folder is important or something for programs/windows.. have a crack around google is my only advice or maybe one of the techheads here can explain this to the most of us who dont live and understand teh registry.. just works magicaly =)
  10. Tim_is_here

    Tim_is_here TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I have done google searches and not found anything related to registry key #2. Interestly, now that we've solved the misdirected folder problem, with a different google search I found someone else who had the exact same misdirected folder problem, who was given the exact same solution:

    However, no search came up with anything at all about #2. N3051M, would you mind checking your registry to see if you have key #2 as well? If you do, then I'll just assume that key has nothing to do with my original problem, and will feel comfortable in forgetting about it. Thanks again.
  11. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    well i'm running home on this rig so registry's slightly different, but kinda same if you know what i mean, and a branch in reg called local service doesnt exist on my end (which i presume is a winxp pro only feature) although there is keys for it which doesnt seem to be related to this matter... so yeh.. although it does look similar to the key in my 2nd post here.. \microsoft\windows\currentversion\explorer\shell folders yada yada yada...

    i think the \DocFolderPaths key determine windows folders (hence if you expand the name it would be Document Folder Path..) and where the default is when you double click on "my documents" as proved by you altering the entry...

    the \shell folders may be just to add that folder as 'important' with some feature or gismo like the "do-not-delete-this-thing-it-is-important" thing that windows does to you when you try deleting somthing.. (although im curious to try that one day... but i'll wait till it starts to have a nervous breakdown again :p) as teh word 'shell' seems important since half the things that can go wrong with windows usualy has the word 'shell' hehe...


    anyways.. you can change that entry as well if it puts your mind at ease or leave it alone.. just make sure you backup your stuff in the future..
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