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    Understanding Windows 7 file structure

    I have just changed from XP to Windows7 and am struggling with the file structure (amongst other things).Using a duplicate file finder I discover that I have loaded twocopies of every one of my picture folders, one lot underC;\users\Public\Public Pictures and the other under C:\users\{name}\My Pictures. When I click on Libraries\My Pictures all my picturefolders are displayed, but if I click on the small arrow to the leftof My Pictures a new “folder” Public Pictures is displayed, whichshows all of the same folders. I want to delete one of the duplicatesets – which do I delete ?. The same thing applies to the MyDocuments folder, which is also listed as duplicated.

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    Public folders are used to automatically share the files within on your network. If you want to delete from somewhere, that's the place.
    I am not sure about My Documents duplication. Do you care to provide more info?

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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    This MS TechNet FAQ can help in understanding why you find what appears to be a copy of your files in the default Windows Libraries.

    This How To Geek article is also very helpful.

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    File Structure

    I have attached three images showing the places where the files can be viewed. According to the duplicate finder the images are stored twice. I have solved the duplicate my documents problem - it was reading the XP copy which I had copied to the new computer and then again copied to the Libraries folder. Of the three locations shown on the screen shots only two are "real" - I want to delete one of those two sets but which one - maybe the C\:Users\Mike\My Pictures. All was perfectly understandable in XP but I am lost in Win 7.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    I think I get the idea now - all files are stored in C:\users\{name}\etc but things like pictures can be easily accessed via Libraries. In XP I had one vast My Documents folder with lots of sub-folders including a number for pictures. I had dragged all of the picture folders to Libraries\Pictures. What I need to do is put the various picture folders back in C:\users\....\My Documents and then link them to Libraries\My Pictures - I think. The How To Geek article was very useful - I also see that I am not the only one to struggle.

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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike21 View Post
    I think I get the idea now - all files are stored in C:\users\{name}\etc but things like pictures can be easily accessed via Libraries. In XP I had one vast My Documents folder with lots of sub-folders including a number for pictures. I had dragged all of the picture folders to Libraries\Pictures. What I need to do is put the various picture folders back in C:\users\....\My Documents and then link them to Libraries\My Pictures - I think. The How To Geek article was very useful - I also see that I am not the only one to struggle.
    Glad the article helped. You definitely would not want to delete the folders in C:\users\username\... because these are your actual files. The files shown in your Libraries are not really duplicates. They are reflections or virtual folders that point back to the real folders under your user folder. If you delete the folders/files in your C:\users\username\... then you will see those file names disappear from your Libraries, for example your "Pictures" in the Libraries. But it is also true that if you delete any folders in your Pictures Library, the real folders under C:\Users... will be deleted as well, so great care must be taken when deleting one or the other, as what you do to folders in either location affects the other.

    You can delete the pictures contained in C:\Users\Public\Public Pictures, and any picture file names located in the Public Pictures Library folder will be removed. If you are sure you have a copy of those pictures in your C:\Users\YourUserName\My Pictures, then you can safely delete the pictures from your C:\Users\Public\Public Pictures folder.

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    Public folders are used to automatically share the files within on your network.
    I think its only local sharing among users of the same computer by default; I believe it has to be turned on in advanced sharing settings to be available to network users.

    One thing that can help put more certainty in a library folder is to put the view into details and then add "folder path" as one of the header columns...then you know where each folder actually is!

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    Yet another reason why I will never go to 7 and probably 8. Ridiculous structuring. Ugh.

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpioso View Post
    Yet another reason why I will never go to 7 and probably 8. Ridiculous structuring. Ugh.
    Upgrade denial will not help anyone after the 2014 date on which Windows XP will no longer receive any updates from Microsoft Updates.
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    This discussion and confusion is one reason why I have avoided both Public Folders and Libraries. It's not immediately clear what they do or how the sharing works. Instead, I simply create a folder when necessary and set the permissions specifically. Then I always know what is shared and who it is shared with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mpioso View Post
    Yet another reason why I will never go to 7 and probably 8. Ridiculous structuring. Ugh.
    I do not agree with this. You can have the same sharing you had on XP, on 7. I use it the same way. Windows 7 does add some features to make it easier to achieve some tasks. Public folders are one way to make sharing easier.

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    Windows 7 does add some features to make it easier to achieve some tasks. Public folders are one way to make sharing easier.
    ...and more difficult to achieve some tasks it must be said; for the sake of increased security; for instance, those same Public folders have to be given permission to be shared over a network in advanced network settings. I don't really notice any "ridiculous" structuring though, Microsoft just labeled it differently in most cases and had to make some un-aesthetic arrangements to accommodate both 32-bit and native 64-bit applications.
    I don't really consider Libraries to be part of the file structure...its an organizational layer above the file hierarchy, and as such, can be very confusing because its a pseudo layer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rfarmer View Post
    This discussion and confusion is one reason why I have avoided both Public Folders and Libraries. It's not immediately clear what they do or how the sharing works. Instead, I simply create a folder when necessary and set the permissions specifically. Then I always know what is shared and who it is shared with.
    I ran into this exact problem awhile ago. I had somehow set my "public" picure folder as default or something like that, and when I deleted pictures from the "public" folder, it would automatically delete from the \user\my pictures folder, but it was all my fault as I was trying to place files where they shouldn't go or at least when I thought they should go.

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    Here's the link to the issue I mentioned.

    http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...-What-did-I-do

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    I have found no useful purpose for Libraries whatsoever, and don't use them in any way, shape or form. I'm looking into ways to disengage them from Windows and delete them entirely.

    As this thread and many others on many other forums presents, Libraries are a large source of confusion for many people.
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