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My Desktop location is assigned to my Hard Drive and I can't change it back (Windows 8.1)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello. A friend of mine recently helped me build a desktop computer. It has a solid state drive as well as a hard disk drive. We loaded the operating system (Windows 8.1) onto the SSD, and I have also installed other programs onto the SSD as well. I would like to keep all my programs on the SSD for faster performance, while storing all my files on my HDD. Since we installed the OS on the SSD, the default folders ('Desktop', 'Documents', 'Downloads', 'Music', 'Pictures', and 'Videos') were initially created on the SSD. To move these folders to the HDD, I right clicked them, starting with "Desktop," in Windows Explorer (now called File Explorer) and then clicked the "Properties" and then selected the "Location" tab, as shown in the image below.



For reference, C:\ is the SSD and A:\ is the HDD
The default location that was set for the 'Desktop' folder before I changed it was C:\Users\MyName\Desktop. I changed it to "A:\" without thinking, and so now, anything I move onto my HDD, drive A:\ also appears on the Desktop, and anything I save on the Desktop appears on drive A:\. This is a nuisance, because I can't save all my files on A:\, or else they will all appear on my desktop. Furthermore, when I go back to Properties --> Location and click the "Restore Default" button, I get an error message displayed in the picture above. I hope I have explained this clearly. I'm not sure what to do, and I'd really like to fix this. If anyone has any ideas, or needs more details about the situation, please respond. Thank you.
post #2 of 8

The only way that I know how to fix this is by doing it in the Registry. If you follow my instructions carefully, then you can do this without screwing anything up. Are you up to the task? I don't want to type all of my instructions up until I know you're up for it. It's not hard, but you had to have someone else build your computer for you, so I'm assuming that you won't want to do this yourself.

It's a computer!
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It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
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Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much for your response. I have a friend working on it now. We are trying system restore. If that doesn't work can I let you know? I am dedicated to fixing this issue, and am more than willing to spend hours myself following detailed and complex instructions. The friend who built my computer offered to do so and I was very grateful to have someone who had the experience train me hands-on.
Edited by sparrowbeer - 4/26/15 at 10:51am
post #4 of 8

Omg. Just take the computer back from him and make these changes in the Registry yourself. I mean, he doesn't know what he's doing if he doesn't know how to fix it. This is pretty basic, if you ask me. This literally takes about 5 minutes to do! The only reason why I asked you in the way that I did is, some people are EXTREMELY afraid of making changes to their Registry. However, he doesn't know what he's doing, so tell him that you want your computer back now because you have been told how to fix it and you'll just do it yourself. If he protests, then make him do this - however, it would be a million times easier if you just did it yourself. I would bet though that he'd be like, "umm.... I don't think you should do this", and that's because he doesn't know what he's doing.

 

So, let's get started!

 

First, open the Registry editor, called "Registry Editor". Or, "regedit.exe". My preferred way to open it is by opening the Start Menu and then typing either "registry editor" or "regedit" and then pressing Enter as soon as it is selected for me in the Start Menu.

 

Now, with Registry Editor open, go to these keys one at a time (don't open them all at once because then it becomes overwhelming):

 

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

 

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

 

HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-123456789-1234567890-123456789-1000\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

 

HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-123456789-1234567890-123456789-1000\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

 

With these last two keys, where you see "123456789" and "1234567890", you will find your own unique user ID. For security reasons, this number should never be shared with anyone. That's why I replaced mine here with just "123456789" and "1234567890".

 

Anyway, in each of these 4 keys, you will see what you need to change in the right-hand pane because you'll see all of the occurrences of "A:\folder name". So, all you have to do is change each one to be exactly what you want it to be (double-click each one in the right-hand pane, or just right-click and choose "Modify").

 

After changing these in all 4 of these keys, close Registry Editor and reboot. You might also be able to get the changes to take effect by simply logging out of Windows and logging back in, but I'd rather reboot just in case you'd end up finding that you had to reboot anyway for these changes to take effect. Usually though, changes in the Registry will take effect when simply logging out and then back in.

 

After you do this, everything will be fine.


Edited by TwoCables - 4/26/15 at 2:59pm
It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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Reply
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
It worked! After I modified the first 2 registries, the second two reflected the modifications I had already made to the first two. Thank you SO much! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me. Do you any recommendations for the best way to move my files to my HDD? Would it be a bad idea to try to move the Users file? Would it be better to simply change the location of the folders to A:\Desktop (or whatever the folder name is)?
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrowbeer View Post

It worked! After I modified the first 2 registries, the second two reflected the modifications I had already made to the first two. Thank you SO much! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me. Do you any recommendations for the best way to move my files to my HDD? Would it be a bad idea to try to move the Users file? Would it be better to simply change the location of the folders to A:\Desktop (or whatever the folder name is)?

 

I had a feeling that the 2nd two would change automatically, but it has been so long since I used the Registry to do this that I wasn't sure. :)

 

Anyway, I'm very happy that we got it taken care of. You're very very VERY welcome. There's almost nothing worse than something as irritating as this happening. lol

 

When you do Right-click > Properties > Location tab, click the button labeled "Move...". This will actually provide you with the option to have all of those files moved for you at the time you change the location. It's very slick! Of course, you can do it after the fact, but there's no reason to. hehe


Edited by TwoCables - 4/26/15 at 6:40pm
It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
  hide details  
Reply
It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
  hide details  
Reply
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post

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

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

HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-123456789-1234567890-123456789-1000\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-123456789-1234567890-123456789-1000\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
...

    Just quickly pointing out that only the first two keys are necessary.  HKEY_CURRENT_USER is a hardlinked mirror of the current user's settings in HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-*.  So a change in any one of the four keys you listed will be reflected its other mirror at HKEY_CURRENT_USER or HKEY_USERS since they are linked together, which is exactly what @sparrowbeer noticed.  Thus, if you fix the first two, the last two will already be fixed, and vice versa.  The only real use for the HKEY_USERS branch of the registry is if you're trying to change per-user settings for other user accounts on the computer.

    Here is a list of hardlinks I'm aware of in the Registry:
  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT = HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER = HKEY_USERS\{user account SID} (the SID used for the mapping depends on the user account the accessing program is running as)
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet = HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet*** (the ControlSet number is specified at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Select\Current)
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrowbeer View Post

Do you any recommendations for the best way to move my files to my HDD? Would it be a bad idea to try to move the Users file? Would it be better to simply change the location of the folders to A:\Desktop (or whatever the folder name is)?

    Yes, it would be a bad idea to move the Users folder.  This can cause problems upgrading Windows in the future, as well as being quite hard to do correctly in the first place.  As @TwoCables suggested, I also recommend using the Properties dialog's Location tab to move each of your personal folders (Documents, Pictures, Music, etc.) to the HDD.  And if for some reason you can't get to that (as you experienced earlier), change the folder location manually in the registry.  Now, please be aware that the Temp and AppData folders will be left on your SSD, along with your registry settings.
 
Edited by Techie007 - 4/27/15 at 11:38am
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My desktop PC
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-3770K Gigabyte P67A-D3-B3 NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS  1x Corsair 8 GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOS
Kingston SV300S3 WesternDigital WD10EZEX Samsung HD154UI Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
Daewoo L947BK Gateway FPD1530 HTK-2001 Dynex DX-400WPS 
MouseAudio
Kensington K72400 Realtek ALC889 
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post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your helpful and informative response! I followed your recommendation and used the Properties dialog's Location tab to move the personal folders and since I added a folder name (i.e. A:\Desktop), it worked! Thank you to you both!
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