• Shell Folders – Downloads – change location

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    • This topic has 17 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 4 months ago.

    I tend to make a new downloads folder each year, so I created one called “2022”.  When I then go to  Explorer, right click on ‘downloads’ and change the location to the new folder from last years’ location (cleverly called ‘2021’).

    However, now in the file exploer window, the old ‘downloads’ is not viewed as 2021 as it should be.  I now have two “Downloads” folders showing.   Screenshot attached…

    I’ve rebooted and all but this remains so.

    What’s happening here?  How can I fix it?   Some registry entry I presume but where to go…

    Thanks   Richard


    Viewing 11 reply threads
    • #2418457

      I see that I asked exactly the same question a year ago.    I should remember these things.

      At that time the issue either went away by itself or I fixed it – but of course I cannot remember which is true.   In any case the same thing this year so that Windows ?bug seems unchanged.

    • #2418458

      At the risk of being accused of not investigating an issue very diligently myself, I now can report that the issue can be fixed by manually going into explorer, renaming the folder, and changing the icon to a generic one.  So the issue goes away.

      I still don’t really know what is going on.  I wonder if I manually changed things last year, and those manual changes stuck, and then had to go and undo them this year so as to allow the new ‘downloads’ shell folder to be unique….     I dunno.  In any case it has gone away.  My apologies if anyone wasted time on this.

    • #2418576

      Sounds like new folder added to old cache type glitch.

      Try shutting down without the Quick Start function which loads a lot of the same old caches on restart.

      Hold the Shift key down while pressing the Shut down or Restart.  Windows will take longer to startup, but will build fresh cache files.

      HTH, Dana:))

    • #2418888


      Seemed like a good idea – so I tried it on my laptop.  However didn’t seem to fix the issue – still two “downloads” foldernames….


    • #2418926

      What do the property values show for the 2 folder locations?


      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2418969

      The properties to me look pretty similar.

      The only difference I see is that the ‘2022’ folder, the proper downloads shell folder, has a ‘location’ tab in the properties box as one might expect – the old one, 2021, does not.  Screenshots attached.



    • #2419040

      Have you tried deleting the Desktop.ini file?  It may be loading the old folder from its saved settings.  If you leave both there, do the files in the folders get mixed up or try to merge?



    • #2419056

      OK…. I’ll log in…

      I said:   Oops – I have 315 files called ‘desktop.ini’ on my system…

      • #2419095

        Desktop.ini is where custom folder settings are kept.  I think one folder is loading from File Explorer and the other from a Desktop.ini.  You have a lot of customized folders on the root drive, so that makes a lot of Desktop.ini files…one for each custom folder.

        The Desktop.ini to delete is the one inside the 2021 folder that isn’t displaying correctly.

        Be careful.  If you delete the wrong one, you will delete some customization for another folder.   You can open the Desktop.ini in Notepad to view any customization in helping you decide which one to delete.  If you open the Desktop.ini in Notepad and it appears unreadable,  press Ctrl + A and change the Font to Tahoma or some readable Font.


        HTH, Dana:))

    • #2419166

      Ah!  Success.

      Then I thought I would play more and see what happened.  I thought I would see if I could change the ‘downloads shell folder’ location, change the location, and see if icon changed properly.

      I don’t know what I’ve done but for some reason ‘downloads’ doesn’t show in explorer. (? some tweaking program I’ve used?)  So I go to the registry to look for ‘shell folders’ – but there are two such entries:   simply ‘shell folders’ and also ‘user shell folders’…  Why is this.  Changing only the location for downloads in ‘shell folders’ doesn’t actually do anything that I see. So I change the (two) entries in ‘user shell folders’ to my new directory.

      Now, in Explorer, the “downloads” location in the quick access toolbar shows the name as not ‘downloads’ but 2022-2 with the down arrow icon but in a filemanage (xPlorer2) the icon is still attached to the original 2022 folder…

      This is all very messy and I’m wasting too much time on it.  Not important I don’t think!


      • #2419256

        FYI – To move one of the default shell folders like the Downloads folder:

        Open File Explorer.

        Click the down arrow to the right of the Address bar to highlight the current address.

        Type in shell:Downloads and press the Enter key.  This opens to that folder.

        Right click a blank space in the folder and select Properties

        Select the Location tab

        Click the Move button and select where you want to move it to.

        Windows will take care of all the necessary Registry setting changes.

        HTH, Dana:))

    • #2419294

      Windows will take care of all the necessary Registry setting changes.

      And when a new feature update is released you may lose all the data in that moved folder (it happened in the past).

      I have manually created download, documents, photos, … folders on drive D leaving the default folders on drive C, empty.

      • #2419327

        I also do not use the Microsoft provided folders and store all on another drive in my created folders, although I haven’t heard of losing data because of moving the folders and a later update.  The instructions are for those that want to move the folders, but I personally don’t see the reason.

        I keep only Windows and installed apps on the C drive.  I even have some of the installed apps kept on a different drive.


    • #2419426

      although I haven’t heard of losing data because of moving the folders and a later update.

      Users are Reporting Lost Data After Installing Windows 10 October 2018 Update

    • #2419429


      From what that article and users that experienced that data loss say:

      Heads up to anyone updating windows. Apparently, if you have documents saved in your user directory, i.e. users/JohnDoe, and not one drive, the update will delete EVERYTHING in that location.

      It deleted files from these shell folders in their default location, thus had not been moved; so if a user had moved these shell folders one wonders if that would have saved their files?

      This is a good reason not to use those folders at all and to keep regular backups.


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