A set of special folders are created for every Windows user automatically when Windows is installed.
These folders have names like My Documents, My Pictures, My Videos or My Music, and are designed to provide you with a centralized location for specific file categories in the Windows operating system.
These folders are not to be confused with the new libraries that Microsoft has integrated into Windows 7. They are all created on the same partition that Windows is installed on, something that some users might want to change.
Probably the most common reason for doing so is storage limitations. If your main partition is small, you may want to move files and data to another drive because of that to avoid that its performance deteriorates, or that no new data can be stored in those locations anymore.
The following articles explains how to move special folders like My Documents to another partition or location. This is actually easier than it sounds in Windows 7.
Update: This method works in newer versions of Windows such as Windows 8 and Windows 10 as well. Microsoft dropped the "My" part of the folder name though, so that these folders are listed as Documents, Downloads, Favorites, Music, Pictures or Videos.
Let us take a look at where those folders are located by default in the Windows 7 operating system:
All user accounts are created under the Users folder on the partition the operating system is installed on, usually c:\Users\. The special folders are located in the user folder, e.g. C:\Users\Martin\Music or C:\Users\Martin\Documents.
One option to move those folders is to use symbolic links, a method that we have described in detail in a previous tutorial.
But that is not the easiest option as Windows 7 offers an even better solution to moving the "My folders" to another location.
Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder of the user whose My Documents folder you want to move to another location, e.g. C:\Users\Martin\.
Locate the folder that you want to move to another location: we use the My Documents folder in this example but the same method applies to My Pictures, My Videos, My Music, Downloads and basically any other folder in the user directory that is created by default during user creation.
Right-click the desired folder and select Properties from the menu. Switch in the new window to the location tab which should look like the following screenshot.
The menu displays the current path of the folder and the three buttons Restore Default, Move and Find Target.
Restore Default simply moves the files back to the default location of the folder. Move will open a browser with the option to pick a new folder where there files will be stored from then on. Find Target finally opens a Windows Explorer window with the folder's contents.
The path to the new folder can also be pasted directly into the form if you select the move option. Selecting a new folder and clicking apply will open a Move Folder query that displays the old and new folder location and the option to move all files that are currently in the folder to the new location which is useful if you want the files to be available in the new location.
If you don't do that, all existing files remain in the old location while all new files are created in the new location you picked instead. Note that you can only access the new location of the folder in Windows Explorer's sidebar.
It is recommended to move the files if they need to be accessed by applications or services which is for instance the case for the save game folder or some of the other user folders.
Just make sure that the new location has enough free storage space as you will run into copy operation errors when that is not the case.
Windows 7 and newer versions of Windows make it dead easy to move the default data folders of a user account to another location. It is easier when you perform the operation right after installation of Windows or user account creation, but you can perform it any time later as well.Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.