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Windows 7, folder and path name different  --  "My Documents"  or "Documents"

Posted on 2012-12-23
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Last Modified: 2013-01-19
I noticed that the "My Documents"  folder at :    
 C: ->  users -> zzhang ->My Documents ->

Turns into a path:

C:\Users\zzhang\Documents

, when I clicked the path slot on the Window.  Not that I really care this normally, but when I install a software package (AGK -- developmet kit) , it  requires the package  to be insetalled at "My Documents"  not just "Documents"

And I got a messages from the system (don't exactly where)  "AGK not installed properly".
Before I start using the AGK under VC++ 2010,  I'd like to know everything setup properly.

Windows experts, AGK experts?  Thanks in advance

Ze
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Question by:zzhang2006
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 38717355
C:\Users\zzhang\Documents  is the correct representation and that is where Windows will find documents and some installation folders. I see that on my machine.

Windows uses junction points with names that point to real folders. So AGK should know this. Have you contacted the vendor (developers) to see if they can fix this?

.... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:pony10us
ID: 38717360
On my windows 7 machine I have both a c:\users\<user>\documents and c:\users\<user>\My Documents

Confirmed by using a command prompt and cd to each folder.

The contents of each is different.
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Accepted Solution

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satsumo earned 290 total points
ID: 38761403
The name of the user's Documents folder can be changed by the user.  You can just click its icon and call it whatever you want.  It isn't even guaranteed to be inside the users home directory.  A programs should get the path by calling a system function.  Assuming that it's called "My Documents", "Documents", any other name or path is wrong.  It's a software design flaw and it should be fixed.
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Author Closing Comment

by:zzhang2006
ID: 38797371
Can I understand this way, one is the real folder name and one is a link to a real folder(like on symbolic link on Linux)? But even that I still confused, it makes "My Documents" like a shortcut to "Documents" , and I wonder which one is a shortcut to which. In my machine these two really just one single folder.
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Expert Comment

by:satsumo
ID: 38797692
It is confusing and you do get multiple links to the same folder with different paths.  When a program asks for the users documents directory, Windows give it a path.  A program should use that path and not consider what it contains.

Windows has a setting for each user which is the location of their document folder.  The folder itself can use any vaild folder name.  To confuse things, certain parts of windows UI link to that folder by using a 'Documents' link.  This is what you might see on the Desktop and in the File Open dialog.  These are like Unix style symbolic links.

In Windows, folders don't have to relate to physical storage.  Desktop is not an actual folder, nether is Network, Printers, Control Panel and many other.  The 'Documents' icon you see most often is one of those icon types, it points to the physical storage path.
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