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Green arrow icon in Explorer in Windows 7 ?

Posted on 2014-04-18
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Last Modified: 2014-05-02
I have just upgraded a Windows XP machine to Windows 7. Apart from the fact that many of the existing folders have been retained, when I was only expecting to see a Windows.old folder, the icon of one of the folders is a green right-facing arrow (see attached).

It may have been there before on XP, but I hadn't noticed it.

Does any one know what it is, and also can anyone explain why many existing folders have been retained in situ, as I understood that the old files would just be lumped into Windows.old ?

Thank you
Geoff
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Question by:lybreeze
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by:n2fc
n2fc earned 100 total points
ID: 40008355
There is no "upgrade" from XP to Windows 7... You probably did a fresh install without a format...

XP has a top level folder called "Documents & Settings" under which lies user profiles...

The analogous folder under Vista and newer is "Users"...

There are other, similar, folder movements between XP and newer Windows OS's...
See:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/whats-changed-from-windows-xp 
for a summary
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 150 total points
ID: 40008441
Looks like as part of the install process Windows Easy Transfer has grabbed your files and settings from XP.  During the upgrade process you should have seen "These files and settings have been saved for your transfer" and off loaded them to a location other than the partition you were upgrading.  Once Windows 7 was installed you should have been through the "Choose what to transfer to this computer" stage.

If you used all the default settings you should have retained most of your data from the XP profile(s) relocated into the new default locations for Windows 7.  You won't have any of your programs installed though.

The green icon is selected from Windows Explorer's %SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll library and shows the files were relocated using Easy Transfer.

You can change the icon by navigating to C:\Users\<Profile Name>
Right-click on "My Documents" > Properties then go to the Customize tab and click the Change Icon button either choose the "Restore" option or find the icon you want to use instead.

(NB: There is a very, very, very, (very!), tiny chance of a malware hijack so always worth checking the "look for icons in this file" address on that window to check it is pointing at the SHELL32.dll at  the path above but the chances of this being malicious is remote)

So in summary pretty much normal behaviour for the upgrade process just not well documented.

Change the icon in this window
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Author Comment

by:lybreeze
ID: 40008445
Hi n2fc,

I take your point about the Users folder that was introduced in Vista, and there is indeed a separate Users folder visible in Windows Explorer.

Perhaps it is a red herring that the folder with the green arrow icon is called My Documents, but it is present in the C: drive at the root level.  My hunch is that it is a sync'd "cloud" folder.  All the files within it are accessible, even when off-line, but are flagged as Read-only.

Re the "upgrade", again I take your point that strictly speaking there isn't one.  I ran the Windows 7 DVD from within XP, was told that the Windows folder would be saved as Windows.old, but at the end of the Windows 7 install I can see a load of folders that were on the hard-drive under XP !!

Geoff
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 40008450
lybreeze, interesting...  
Did you use the cloud storage as a redirected folder in XP previously?
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Author Comment

by:lybreeze
ID: 40008460
That's a good question.  I wasn't aware that there was a redirected folder, but I'll ask the (power) user and see if he can remember.

The green arrow icon is indeed in  %SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll

It might well indicate that the folder was transferred using Windows Easy Transfer, but I don't recall seeing any messages referring to Windows Easy Transfer, and none of the other folders that have been retained have the green arrow icon.

I'll get back once I've spoken with the user.

Geoff
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Author Closing Comment

by:lybreeze
ID: 40036825
Sorry for the delay in getting back, but both the user and I have been away.

The upshot of the green arrow icon is that the user created a folder called My Documents at the root level, and changed the icon himself, as MASQ had thought possible.  So it turned out to be nothing to do with cloud storage or Windows Easy Transfer.   Sorry for the red herrings !

Re the folders retained from XP, it seems that if you do an Upgrade then all the folders are retained in situ, but if you do a Custom install then the My Documents, Program Files and Windows folders are put into Windows.old, and all other folders are retained.  However, as mentioned above, none of the applications are executable.  This seems to be the case whether you run the Windows 7 install from within XP or you boot using the Windows 7 DVD.  I never saw an option to format the hard-drive before installing Windows 7.  If anyone knows how to do this then feel free to add a comment.

Thank you both for your help.
Geoff
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