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Window 7 - User Profile Directories

Posted on 2010-08-30
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
This is a Domain connected workstation without roaming profiles. -
I am trying to find a given link that was created after a product install and move it to the default directory for all users.

In doing so I am finding that Windows 7/Vista has changed how all of this is stored.
Here is what I see so far -
User Profile Directories
~ = Locked
| = Shortcut

 c:\users\Administrator
~c:\users\All users
 c:\users\Default
~c:\users\Default users
 c:\users\Public
~c:\users\USER1

Depending on where I look some of these are links that typically point to a protected directory. Is there no way to get to the source file?

I saw a couple of posts that pointed to the microsoft\localdata directory but there wasnt enough detail? Can someone explain the structure by directory for me (or point me somewhere that does?

Thank you very much.
LK
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Question by:ljkrauss
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 33562542
I am sure I can help... if you can only tell me what you are trying to do.
You have a "given link" - what does that mean?
...and "move it to the default directory for all users" - so what is considered default?
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Expert Comment

by:Zupreme
ID: 33563036
The "Locked Directories" don't really exist.  They are simply shortcuts that Windows puts there so any software which might still refer to the old XP directory structure can still install successfully.

If I'm reading your post right, then what you will want to do is to place a copy o fyour shortcut in the following directories:

1) Start Menu:  C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
2) Desktop: C:\Users\Public\Desktop

Note:  The Public folder is there under USERS, but it is hidden by default.
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Author Comment

by:ljkrauss
ID: 33563313
I appreciate your help.

So let me try and narrow down my confusion to a couple of Qs....
1) In what set of directories would I look for a program icon that was installed by an application?
2) How about the Startup folder? I found this directory but its outside of the profiles
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
Does this mean that all Startup icons are now in this \ProgramData\Vendor folder? How do i find just whats set to startup automatically? Look in each one?
3) Many of the 'Locked' Directories I could access in Explorer. All of the Shortcuts gave me Access Denied messages. Zupreme - you said that the locked dirs were shortcuts. What is the difference between the 3 states - Locked, Locked Access Denied, Shortcuts - Access Denied?

Again, Thanks for your help. Just looking at this through the dirs is confusing.

LK


By 'given link' I meant any link file in particular. (figure of speech.) By 'move it to the default directory for all users' I meant the profile that all users inherit from.
Ex. I copied a .lnk file created on the current user desktop
from
C:\Users\user1\Desktop
to
C:\Users\Default\Desktop

I then logged in with another domain users account and it was avialable on the desktop. Just what I expected. Im not sure that \default was the correct target directory but it worked in this instance.


What I need to understand is what each directory is for -
Ex. What is the difference between
\Administrator
\All Users
\Default
\Default Users
\Public
\USER1

And where do some of the link icons get mapped to within the directory structure.
Clicking on one of these shortcuts gives you an Access Denied message. Im assuming these are stored in system variables now. How do I find out where they actually point to?

Ex. Where are the directories for the Startup folder - the default profile (the one from which each user inherits from) and the current logged on user.
I have an application that on install gets added to the Startup Folder but only for the logged on user. I need this to be for all users. Where do I find the file in the currently logged on users profile and where does it get copied to?

I was able to find this in the properties of one of the Startup Folder Links
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

How does this ProgramData directory relate to the profiles? Is this for all profiles?

If it isnt obvious I am confused about the structure of the profiles in general. Some over all help is really what I need.

Thanks again.
LK
0
 

Author Comment

by:ljkrauss
ID: 33563318
Sorry - I forgot to remove my orignal garbage.... This post should have just been the first part.

I appreciate your help.

So let me try and narrow down my confusion to a couple of Qs....
1) In what set of directories would I look for a program icon that was installed by an application?
2) How about the Startup folder? I found this directory but its outside of the profiles
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
Does this mean that all Startup icons are now in this \ProgramData\Vendor folder? How do i find just whats set to startup automatically? Look in each one?
3) Many of the 'Locked' Directories I could access in Explorer. All of the Shortcuts gave me Access Denied messages. Zupreme - you said that the locked dirs were shortcuts. What is the difference between the 3 states - Locked, Locked Access Denied, Shortcuts - Access Denied?

Again, Thanks for your help. Just looking at this through the dirs is confusing.

LK
0
 
LVL 53

Accepted Solution

by:
McKnife earned 500 total points
ID: 33564995
LK, I find it good to break it down to a set of questions. However, you will not fully understand the answers if you don't inform yourself about Microsofts new "politics" when it comes to backward compatibility to predecessors of vista. You should read for example http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7files/thread/79b0fb38-9466-4dec-b889-1860addfcc0b (->Ronnie Vernons comment about the doc and settings folder - which is not a folder but a symbolic link) and http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb756982.aspx for the paths you need.

I try to answer, too:
1) umm - do you mean it's shortcut or really the icon file? If really the icon: it can be extracted from the executable or it's a .ico file. Both would be in the installation directory (c:\program files\programsname). The shortcut would be placed into the start menu folder: per user: C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs respectively %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
or for all users: c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\StartMenu or %allusersprofile%\Microsoft\Windows\StartMenu
2) No, it's not one per vendor, it's below microsoft for all of them. C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup (or %allusersprofile%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup) is the common startup, the startup folder of the allusers profile. The personal startup folder is in c:\users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup (or %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup). Please note that the tail of that path does not change. For users it starts with %appdata%, for allusers it starts with %allusersprofile%.
3) There is nothing like 3 states. You will have come across "folders" like c:\documents and settings, which is no folder and neither a shortcut but a symbolic link.

Then again there are folders like c:\sysvol which are simply not accessible even by administrators unless they answer the UAC (which effectively changes the acl of that folder).
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