Confusion on Windows 7 User Folders (Pictures, etc.)

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by tracerbullet, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. tracerbullet

    tracerbullet Golden Member

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    Can someone please school me on how Windows 7 deals with the "Users" folder?

    I found a file copying program (Free File Sync) that I like a lot and have been using to run backups from my PC to a NAS. It worked well w/ XP for copying data. Using "My Pictures" for example - the "My Pictures" folder on my PC copied to "My Pictures" on the NAS.

    Enter Windows 7, where "My Pictures" on the PC copies to both "My Pictures" and also to "Pictures" on the NAS, giving me double of everything.

    If I rename the folder on the PC to simply be called "Pictures", things copy over once - from "Pictures" to "Pictures". Is there a better way to take care of this? Am I setting myself up for problems down the road because I've renamed these folders?
     
    #1 tracerbullet, Dec 14, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  2. serpretetsky

    serpretetsky Senior member

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    I'm not sure I fully understand. My win7 machine just has single pictures folders, do you have more than one?
     
  3. colonelciller

    colonelciller Senior member

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    my suggestion is to not use those "my _______" folders for anything at all...

    have a single folder with all of your saved files in it. Within that have a plictures folder with various subfolders... have a music folder... etc all in that one massive data folder. then you only need to backup a single location.

    microsoft's suggested personal folder structure sucks ball$ ino my opinion
     
  4. serpretetsky

    serpretetsky Senior member

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    What's the difference?
     
  5. postmortemIA

    postmortemIA Diamond Member

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    difference is that you have
    documents
    pictures
    favorites
    music
    downloads
    desktop
    ...
    IMO one folder is easy to backup, but difficult to use efficiently. I've seen people put thousands of items in documents folder.
     
  6. serpretetsky

    serpretetsky Senior member

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    I see, I would just backup the entire user folder, I guess thats why I didn't understand.
     
  7. tracerbullet

    tracerbullet Golden Member

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    I may not have explained it well, sorry. I have the generic Win 7 "users" folder, with me (Greg) as a folder inside of it. Inside of the Greg folder are the myriad other folders for documents, pictures, and so on. I tend to put things into each of those folders as expected, I'm pretty anal retentive that way. I suspect this is the standard setup most people use.

    When the backup program runs, it is told to simply copy the entire Greg folder from the PC to the NAS, to back up everything I care about. But what actually copied to the NAS was bigger than what is on the PC. The PC has, going with the example in the 1st post, just a "My Pictures" folder and only one of each picture inside of it. The NAS however ended up with "My Pictures" as expected and also a "Pictures" folder as well. And they had the exact same pictures duplicated inside of both them. As a hobby photographer that's 100's of GB of pictures.

    What I did was simply rename the My Pictures folder on the D drive to just Pictures, and the same for vids, docs, and music. Now my backups just have a single copy of everything instead of doubling up. Not sure the root cause of this, maybe something is messed up w/ the Win 7 libraries, maybe the FreeFileSync program has a bug. But that works, and I'll just leave it.

    Besides, I think that just calling those folders things like "Pictures" kind of goes back to the olden days before XP stuck "My" in front of them. It might be a band-aid solution but I'm starting to prefer it.

    Thanks for reading / trying to help, I think I got it "fixed" or at least working OK. I'm curious why it happened, but I've gotten around it.
     
    #7 tracerbullet, Dec 15, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  8. postmortemIA

    postmortemIA Diamond Member

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    maybe you have changed location of pictures for your account. then windows 7 keeps previous location, and adds a link to new, so you see both in your User folder.
     
  9. tracerbullet

    tracerbullet Golden Member

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    Hmmm. I follow, but I'm not sure how to find out (where to look to see the current location to compare to a default).

    This is a new setup, < 1 week old, I don't recall doing it but very well could have.
     
  10. postmortemIA

    postmortemIA Diamond Member

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    Just go to your user folder, and see properties of each special folder
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COIbTlnPI7I
     
  11. tracerbullet

    tracerbullet Golden Member

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    Duh, sorry yeah that was easy. For some reason I thought you were asking for something else.

    Those folders point to themselves. Actually looking in the Users\Greg folder, there's a folder called Pictures. The location listed for it is Users\Greg\Pictures. If I rename that folder to My Pictures, the location for it then becomes Users\Greg\My Pictures.

    Looking at the Pictures library info, it has only that folder in it (I killed off the public ones for testing this). If the folder is called pictures on the hard drive, it's called that in the library properties. If I change the name to My Pictures, it gets renamed that in the library. Still points to the same thing, and the name change seems to follow through.

    BTW, if you're curious what's up, I'll keep poking at it. But from a help request standpoint I'm good to go. It's working and I am happy taking "My" off of them.
     
  12. CSMR

    CSMR Golden Member

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    I don't think there is a My Pictures folder by default.
    There is a My Pictures library which links to both C:\Users\UserName\Pictures and C:\Users\Public\Pictures
    You could have stayed with the default and just copied C:\Users\UserName\Pictures
     
  13. mikeymikec

    mikeymikec Diamond Member

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    On Win7, 'My Pictures' is the name of the library of the default pictures location (C:\Users\Username\Pictures). Possibly related? Multiple locations set up in Libraries maybe?

    This wouldn't affect robocopy but I don't know the program you're using at all.
     
    #13 mikeymikec, Dec 16, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  14. colonelciller

    colonelciller Senior member

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    The thing about the user folder is that it is a real pain to navigate to unless it is bookmarked on the desktop.

    If you have a single folder for all your files located on a 2nd drive then you always have everything in one place. It isn't hard to find things because within that folder you'd have subfolders for music, pictures, word docs, etc.

    ...and within each of those you would have subfolders.

    If you let windows and applications save things wherever they default to then you have files spread all over the system with little logic to the distribution (IMHO)... definitely not as easy to find things as navigating to the single saved folder... and definitely not as easy to backup.

    My 2¢
     
  15. tracerbullet

    tracerbullet Golden Member

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    Actually - "Pictures" is the name of the library, and "My Pictures" is (well, was) the name of the folder it linked to. This is how Windows set it up (Win 7 Pro 64).

    This is also true on my laptop and my work PC, all 3 of which are on Windows 7. The Pictures library has My Pictures as a folder linked in the user directory. I haven't touched the defaults on these other machines. I'm not saying you guys are wrong but it's opposite of what I'm seeing in multiple places.

    I do agree that's likely got something to do with what was going on.
     
  16. serpretetsky

    serpretetsky Senior member

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    edit: nvm, i'm derailing the thread.
     
    #16 serpretetsky, Dec 16, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  17. Rhonda the Sly

    Rhonda the Sly Senior member

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    The folder itself, as of Windows Vista, is called "Documents". File Explorer uses the display name of "My Documents" to indicate that this is your user folder.

    What's might have been tripping up your backup program is that there's a hidden junction point for "My Documents" in the folder for backwards compatibility and it was probably attempting to copy that as well. If it was attempting to copy the Library you might have ended up with an additional backup of the Public Documents folder as well.
     
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