How do I change "My Documents" to "Documents" in Windows 7?

Posted on 2011-02-18
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
How can I get Windows 7 to my folders like "Documents" and "Pictures" in my folders instead of "My Documents" and "My Pictures".

Of all the problems with Vista, there was one thing they did right, they finally named the folders correctly and fixed their (in my opinion) mistake they did in Windows XP by putting everything where it should be "C:\Users\(name)\Documents" easy to read and makes sense instead of "C:\documents and settings\(this is stupid)\My Documents".  Now why they went back to this naming convention in Windows 7 is beyond me.  I understand why they put libraries in and multiple locations for documents/pictures which I can see beneficial for some people.  However, I just want to be able to goto My D: drive and see it listed as "Documents" instead of "My Documents".  And yes of course I realize I can just type the path in but I want to get rid of it from display.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

So my situation is D:\documents displaying as "My Documents"
path of documents

When I try to rename "My Documents" it says "Documents" already exists.  BUT THIS IS DOCUMENTS.  
trying to rename
Question by:gemvision
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Expert Comment

ID: 34927885
Hmm, I usually just go into my c:\users\myuser\ - select the document folder and just press F2 and rename it, without any problems.

But you say that when you do that, it cast a alert that another folder is called Documents?

Author Comment

ID: 34927951
Sorry I should have been more clear as to the history.

I moved the default location to all my files to:


etc.  Just did this by going to each folder and changing the path.

So if I goto D:\Documents it works fine, but the folder name is showing "My Documents".  If I goto \\mycomputername\d$\ and look at the folders listed they are all listed correct as I named them:
If I goto a command prompt they are also listed correctly:
The problem is the normal display Windows 7 Puts on them is the "My" in front.

Author Comment

ID: 35215888
So because no one could answer the question gets deleted?  I'm still looking for a solution.
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Author Comment

ID: 35244499
So is there no other way to keep this ticket open?
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Expert Comment

ID: 35265686

If you run a Search on "Documents" you will see that you have many folders with that name in different directories.  So the error message may be correct and you would have to change some/all of the others.  Of course you could try to rename as Documents1/
LVL 44

Accepted Solution

Jackie Man earned 500 total points
ID: 35265803
It is not difficult.

In your documents1.PNG, do you see a Libraries folder in the left pane.

Expand Document under Libraries and you will see two folders, one is called "My Documents" and the other folder is called "Public Documents"

Rename "My Documents" folder to "Documents" and the display in your D drive will look like what you want.

LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 35265845
A picture stands for thousand words. Please see the printscreen below and you will understand.

 My Documents
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Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 35266044
Right click Documents under Libraries, you will see a screen like the one below.

Under the libraries of Documents, there can be more than two locations for document. By default, the two labels are "My Documents" and "Public Documents" and you can rename the labels to the name you like.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 35267283
You can move your document into any Drive or alternate location you would like
You can store them under folders named Documents, photos, music ect ect

However, as part of your profile you will have My Documents
It is done this way, and has been for some time, as the OS has the ability to have multiple user logons
My Documents specifies that they are the documents that are related to the logged on profile/user
Documents still exists for other users that are not currently logged on.

Don’t really see the point of changing a folder name from My Documents to Documents
And the repercussions of doing such is great as you could break all the built in connections to that location.

Kinda like saying, I don’t like the naming of C:\Windows, Im going to change it to C:\Windows7 or I want to rename C:\Program Files to C:\Applications

Best practice is to leave System Files and Names alone

LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 35267424
Part of the problem is build into windows.    When you use the Windows Explorer shell to browse folders, the folder that is currently defined as your personal documents folder is *displayed* on the screen as "My Documents".  Look in the registry at

HKCU\software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\explorer\user shell folders

When you right-click on "My Documents" and try to rename it to "Documents", the failure is because "documents" already exists, and is the folder you are trying to rename.  Windows is just displaying the name something "more friendly"
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 35268041
My 2 cents,
" MY " is the key word here, in all windows these are system folders as soon MY is included
My  Documents My Pictures My Music. Windows adentifies it as a system folder.
If the D drive is off your C
 I just create a shortcut from My Documents  even though the name is the same one on C drive is a default local folder one is a shortcut from a local folder off D drive

So your original question>>How do I change "My Documents" to "Documents" in Windows 7?<< is actually not really relevent, since all your redirected folders are named correctly and working correctly but since your viewing  them on WINDOWS C DRIVE
windows is seeing them as the windows Default My Documents My Pictures etc.
Does that help you make sense of it.
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Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 35269321
I do not agree that the label "My Documents" is system related.

The label of "My Documents" is just a tag or a junction point to a folder. The name of the tag or junction point can be changed and there is no actual change to the actual storage path of the data.

LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 35270524
Yes I agree to a point but one cannot replace the system My Documents with one off his D drive can it?
There can be only one
My documents. hmm sounds familiar
Seems the problem here is either name the D drive My Documents with extension two
 or keep the directed one as a shortcut.
I also can rename My Documents windows 7 professional to just Documents
But I would be concerned keeping it like that as it may effect how windows associates to it via regestry.Core
However that process is called.
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 35270682

When the user views the actual location (folder) of "Documents" in Windows Explorer, no matter it is under C:\Users\{User Name} or under D:\, the label of the junction point, i.e. "My Documents" will replace the actual name of the folder.

My test indicates that if I rename the junction point from "My Documents" to " "Documents", the view resulted in just what the asker wants, i.e. D:\Documents\ in Windows Explorer.

If you have access to Windows 7, you can try the above too.
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Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 35270761
Of course, I do not think that it is a bug but it is strange.

MS does want to let the user to change the view in Windows Explorer to the junction point instead of the actual path. Maybe, it is a new system rule in folder viewing when the libraries concept is brought into Windows 7.
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Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 35270987
According to the comment of DaddyMan, it says:-

"After further research, I discovered that the My Documents icon with the arrow is actually a junction point, like the other icons with arrows in C:\Users\<username>. I eventually found several web pages, including a question in the Windows 7 IT Pro Forums, that described the junction points in a Windows 7 user profile.

Here are the user profile junction points and their redirected locations (I hope the line spacing doesn't get too messed up):

Documents and Settings     C:\Users
Application Data                 C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming
Cookies                             C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies
Local Settings                    C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local
My Documents                   C:\Users\<username>\Documents
NetHood                            C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Network Shortcuts
PrintHood                           C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Printer Shortcuts
Recent                               C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent
SendTo                              C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo
Start Menu                         C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
Templates                          C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Templates

The four 'My' folders - My Documents, My Music, My Pictures and My Videos - are actually the Documents, Music, Pictures and Video folders, but they are somehow made to appear in Windows Explorer with the 'My' added."


Author Comment

ID: 35271202
True this seems to be a Windows 7 Only problem.  Both Vista and XP allow you to rename or move My Documents or Documents to whatever you'd like either via registry or within Explorer.  

The problem is I've been using the same folder structure for 15 years and when Microsoft decided to start putting spaces in their main system folders adding "My" in front I cringed.  I've since accepted this baffling move and was very pleased to see they actually did it right in Vista.  Then comes Windows 7 and they did some sort of weird cross bread between the two and adding libraries on top of it.  I get the logic with this and think it could be useful in some situations.  

@Merete & @jackieman:
Regardless, thank you both very much for your help with this, it finally worked.  It makes no sense to me why I can rename it under the libraries area on the left but not on the right of windows explorer, but it worked regardless and I'm happy!  Geez that was annoying.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 35272681
Geez that was fun though. Glad to hear it's resolved gemvision
I think it helps if everyone uses windows 7.
Have a great day
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Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 35272921
Glad to know that you have the problem solved. Cheers!

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