Dude, Where’s ‘My Documents’?

I’ve looked forward to each issue of Plus for years. The other day I installed Microsoft Office Professional 2003. The next day I booted up my PC to check and reply to some emails. I wanted to insert a picture and found that all the Folders and Files I added to My Documents were gone, other than I had when I first installed WindowsXP Professional and Service Pack 2. How can I access everything that was there before installing, Microsoft Office Professional 2003? —Dwight Stilson

Those folders and files are probably right where you left them. Microsoft is most likely playing a little shell game with you by defaulting to a “My Documents” folder in a different location.

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To find your folders and documents, first open My Computer and choose Folder Options from the Tools menu. Click on the View tab and make sure the “Show hidden files and folders” radio button is selected, then click OK. Now, right-click on your C: drive and choose Search. Enter into the “All or part of the file name” box the name of a known file or folder that’s in your missing My Documents folder. Once you find the item, right click on it and choose Open Containing Folder.

It’s a good idea to choose a central location for all your documents and data, and make sure that Windows, Office and other applications agree on exactly what that location is. If you’re happy with the new default location, then you can lift the old “My Documents” folder, complete with all its subfolders and files, and drop it onto the new one. Alternatively, you can choose a new location (or the original one) and use Tweak UI or some other technique (e.g. http://www.google.com/search?q=change+default+folder+windows ) to change the default folders.

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.