Change My Documents Folder Default Location Path in Windows

»»»Change My Documents Folder Default Location Path in Windows

Since Windows 95, all versions of Windows operating system has included a special shell folder named My Documents, or simply Documents in Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Most programs and applications especially Microsoft products will automatically open My Documents as the default folder to save the files, images, pictures, videos, documents and etc.

If you have another hard disk drive or partition, or just purchased an external portable USB/FireWire HDD drive, and would like to move the My Documents or Documents folder to another location on the same or different drive, it’s possible to change the My Documents or Documents folder default path or location to another folder.

Changing and moving “My Documents” (in Windows XP) or “Documents” (in recent Windows versions) to another folder on different hard drive or partition has advantage of keeping the system partition clean and reduce the risk of running out of disk space. Beside, by placing and storing all personal or business documents, ideas, notes, files in My Documents folder that is on another separate drive or partition, users no need to worry about copy and backup the data if there is a need to format and reinstall the Windows, which may cause lost of all date stored in the My Documents in default location.

By default, the location of My Documents for your user account is located in %UserProfile% folder. For example, C:\Documents and Settings\user name\My Documents (in Windows XP or earlier) or C:\Users\user name\Documents (in Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10), which is on the system drive itself.

A lot of My Documents folder location changing instruction requires modification of registry key at the following branch:

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

The registry mod may not work and the keys’ values may be reverted back to original after system restarts. There is a much simpler method to move and change the default location of the special shell folders, such as My Documents folder.

  1. Create a new folder that you want to assign as My Documents folder, if needed.
  2. Assign appropriate folder permissions if needed.
  3. Click Start.
  4. Right click on My Documents or Documents (for Windows later than Windows XP).

    You can also right click on My Documents or Documents folder that appears in Windows Explorer, or in My Computer or Computer window (for Windows versions beginning from Windows Vista), then select Properties in the context menu.

  5. Click the Target tab (for Windows XP or earlier version) or Location tab (in Vista).
  6. In the Target box (Target folder location in Windows XP), type the path to the folder location that you want My Documents to be, and then click OK button. For example, D:\My New Documents Folder\. If the folder does not exist, the “Create Message” dialog box is displayed. Click Yes to create the folder, and then click OK.

    Alternatively, click on Move, then select a new folder that you want to move My Documents to, and click OK to select the folder as new target. Click OK at Documents’ Properties. If you need to create a new folder, click Make New Folder shortcut, or right click on blank space then select New -> Folder. Type a name for the folder, and then click OK twice.

    Change My Documents Target Folder

    Note: The new target folder can be another place on same hard drive, another drive or another computer on your network.

  7. You have the option whether to let Windows move the files currently in the original My Documents folder to your new target folder. In the Move Documents dialog box, click Yes to move your documents to the new location, or click No to leave your documents in the original location.

    Move My Documents Files

  8. My Documents now point to new folder location.

By | 2017-02-21T22:10:44+00:00 February 21st, 2017|Categories: Windows|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |30 Comments

About the Author:

LK is a technology writer for Tech Journey with background of system and network administrator. He has be documenting his experiences in digital and technology world for over 15 years.Connect with LK through Tech Journey on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
  • Pingback: Restore Windows User Personal Shell Folders to Default Location » My Digital Life()

  • Tony

    You left out a step… in Vista, there is also a Junction to the Documents folder, called "My Documents". This should be updated for legacy programs that look for it, and because otherwise you leave an apparent directory that is always "unavailable."

    It can be updated with:

    c:&cd users

    linkd "My Documents" /D

    linkd "My Documents"

  • Kelley Vice

    If you don't have linkd (which is in the Win2k Resource Kit), you can just use Vista's built-in junction tool, mklink. The command, if you're moving your "My Documents" folder to D:Documents, would be:

    mklink /D "My Documents" d:Documents

  • Thank you so much for the tip! I went through the steps!

  • Jeff

    This is great, my question has a twist. How do I change the default folder in Vista for saving documents. For example, I'm in outlook and there is a Word attachment. I right click on it and Save As. Vista instantly goes to the Documents folder. I would prefer to use my temp folder instead as the default location. How can I change that? Thanks.

  • Frozy

    How can i find my lost music folder in my documents or create new my music folder?

  • Pingback: Changing the Documents folder location - -

  • Pingback: Out of memory- any ideas please?? -

  • connersw

    How can I do the same thing for Shared Documents? It doensn't give me a target tab option.

  • Sam

    jey me got sorta the same problem!

    but i have two disk drives and i made the my music folder locat to another drive for example: (C:)was where it 1st was. then i made it go to (E:) and theni had to take the (E:) drive out one day and then i plugded it back in and from then i have had problems (the 'My Music' Folder) was missing for lost? and cant find it again? help?

    I am running a custom built computer:

    with 2 hard drives:

    (C:) = 160GB and

    (E:) – 370GB

    and im running Windows Vista 64BIT!

    and having probs?

    any ideas on how to fix this?

    beecause i need to run ITUNES and ITUNES needs the My Music Folder for it to Work?



    if you have an idea or know how to fix it please email me on:

    thanks heaps


  • Thank you! Very helpful!!! Exactly what I was looking for!

  • Sophie

    That's perfect and so easy! Thank you, nice simple explanation.

  • Tony M

    I whole-heartedly applaud the overall objective detailed in this article. My technique is a variation. I don't think my method for dealing with this is necessarily better; it's just what I do.

    I don't touch the location of the My Documents or Documents directories. I ABHOR the whole concept as implemented by Microsoft for these simple reasons:

    (1) The "spider's web" of sub-directories is a needless and annoying challenge to deal with.

    (2) By creating your own data directory/sub-directory structure and naming these storage locations as YOU see fit, the naming conventions and structure are much, much easier to become familiar with. You made it … Not Microsoft.

    (3) By backing up your data and ONLY your data, for those who don't save their entire system, this makes their data backups a much, much simpler task to complete.

    I recognize that certain programs (e-mail clients and other non-Microsoft programs) sometimes use paths under My Documents, but I deal with those situations individually as they occur.

    There certainly may be techniques better than mine for dealing with the My Documents situation, but the way I see it, Microsoft is doing you/us/me no favor by creating this packrat's nest for storing your data. A simple and neatly organized structure of data directories that I made myself would be much more preferred. Just MHO.

    • walter kirsch

      Dear Tony M

      Could you share the directory structure names that you use?

  • Neo

    I was messing around with the Documents folder in windows explorer and messed up the registry where it would not work but the registry hack worked for me. So for all you out there this is good just use the registry hack if you have messed up by moving back and forth and if it stops working.

  • Tzalumen

    One question… I do not have a target tab under properties. Where is the setting to enable this?

  • Pingback: Moving my documents photos etc. - Computers - PCs, laptops, hardware, software - City-Data Forum()

  • I have lost page-up, down line in my documents folder. A bar which help move down or up the items. can someone provide suggestions, how it can be repaired.

  • Sumedha

    this is grate answer excelent work Thank u so much

  • HC

    How to rename the Documents Folder to Documents instead of the shared folder name, that it takes when the location is changed?

  • niki

    thank you!!!!!

    big help!

  • RB

    How can I change "My Documents" folder for all users in XP? Say have all users automatically go to the 2nd drive (D:)by default

  • Adam

    im running low disk space. im using windows 7. ho can i free up space, or switch to the d drive as the default hard drive?

  • Brilliant, One partition for music, one for documents/downloads etc, gonna do one for pictures and If put any vids on one for video

  • ishwar gour

    the very & cool location in my document and we have the mainded the man

  • David

    Hi Everyone

    I have a windows xp and I found that it had a little hard drive without enough space so I bought a external hard drive and changed the file path to the hard drive. Everything was going good until I needed to use my hard drive for another purpose that required me to format it. But when I rebooted my computer it didn’t start up and it asked me to insert system disk which I lost a while ago.
    Is there a way to change the file path back without using the windows interface?

  • Donna

    thanks for this!!!!

  • DIck

    you all suck

  • DIck

    and need to get a life

  • DIck

    really badly