Come to Terms With My Documents Folder


My computer tries to get me to put all my working files under one subdirectory, and that’s the My Documents folder. Somehow that doesn’t seem right to me. Instead, I set up my computer so that my working files are listed directly under my C: . So, for example, I organize clients files like this: C:Clients . Likewise, I organize my personnel file like this: C:Personnel . But I pay a price for bypassing My Documents because it’s the default starting point for the Open and Save As dialog boxes. Your thoughts?

Ah, the My Documents folder dilemma! My Documents was created in the early days of Windows, and we’ve been saddled with it ever since. The thought behind it was valid: One default place to store documents so they’ll be easy to find. Unfortunately, it was not well thought through because, for one thing, My Documents was not that easy to find unless you created a shortcut to it. For years, I, too, refused to use it—pretty much following the same folder lineup that you use—directly under C: .

However, I finally got tired of having to overcome the default setup, and I switched and discovered it really wasn’t so bad—even though it makes for a really long file name. In Windows XP, for example, it looks like this: C:Documents and Settings<username>My Documents…and only then can you see the actual file name.

By the way, if you don’t like the name My Documents, go right into the address line in Windows Explorer and change it (see screenshot below).

Also, if you have a neat little program called Tweak UI (see column item “Get rid of the arrows on icons—and do lots more”), you can make the My Documents icon the first icon on the desktop.




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