As many people who follow this site may know I recently switched from Linux to Windows 7 as my daily operating system. This morning I saved a file as the default “save” in word instead of “save as” which is what I normally do. I then looked in my users My Documents directory and the file wasn’t there. At this point I was perplexed and a little annoyed so I ran a search for the file and found it in C:/Users/Public/My Documents which is not where I wanted it to go. I am not sure whether this was user error and I just somehow set up my system wrong or if this is the default Windows 7 behavior. Either way I decided to out line how I straightened it out.

When saving a file, you can select a library to save it in, but because Libraries aren’t real locations, the file is stored to the defined save folder. The default libraries are set to save files in the associated folder, such as My Documents or Public Documents. In my case my files were set to save to C:/Users/Public/My Documents rather than C:/Users/purehate/My Documents like I wanted.

In order to change this behavior we need to reset the properties of the folder. In my case I want to change the My Documents folder so follow these steps.

1. Open the start menu and click on your users name in the top right corner.

library-1

2. Next right click on the Documents folder listed in the left hand pane under libraries.

documents-old

3. So as you can see there are actually 2 save locations defined here. The one with the black check mark is the default one which is in Public.
4. So I want to highlight the other folder which is C:/User/r00t/My Documents which is where I want my files to save and then click the set save location button.

document-new

5. Now the issue is that there are 2 file save locations and I only need one, so I simply delete the other one.

document-new-2

6. Now all the default saves will go to my users home directory. I had to do this for all the files that were defined under library including My Documents, Music, Pictures etc.

Once again I am not sure if I just set it up wrong or if this is the default behavior but either way now there are some instructions in case you want to change it.

Windows 7 Inside Out (Paperback)

By (author): Ed Bott, Carl Siechert, Craig Stinson


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63 Responses to “Change Windows 7 Default File Save Location”
  1. Eugene says:

    It is very odd Windows bahaviour and it annoys me a lot. Even with this workaround/fix, It actually means that windows7 forces users to save files (on defeault) to any folder you may like on your hardrive or network, But as long as this foilder is LINKED through one of the library-folders… Strange much?

    My paranoid mind tells me this windows behaviour forcing to users to store files on or through one location, or, through 1 virtual portal linking all folders you use on regular basis. Makes it easier for inteligence agencies to scan your computer and your personal files and what you are recently up to.. is it not?

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Eugene,

    It could create security issues however it would also depend on the computer location and the security measures taken outside of this.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  2. Jason Bean says:

    Exactly what I was looking for and needed today. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Jason,

    No problem! Thanks for taking the time to post feedback.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  3. Jason says:

    There is no name when I open the start menu…….. Just the icon… nothing happens when I right click on it, and when I click on it, a control panel opens up without any of the options described in the article…..

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Jason,

    Sounds like you may have been having other issues. Were you able to get the issue resolved?

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

    Jason Reply:

    Hey Alex, thanks for the reply-

    Yes and no… I found several workarounds… first I changed the default save location in my browser, which is the most common save function I use.

    Secondly, I figured out how to manipulate the libraries and add/delete folders/locations. It seems that by right clicking on the particular library you want to modify (documents, music, etc.) from any open save dialog, you can get to the same screen that is in the article.

    But I’m not a fan of libraries in general, so I’ve modded that only a little (but did do it where it counts.)

    I never figured out what the problem was with the start menu/login name. I’m using Win7 Pro 64… I’ve tweaked out a lot of stuff, so maybe I removed it at some point, I don’t know… but my workarounds should do the trick for anyone else who has the same problem I have….

    Thanks-

    -Jason

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Jason,

    Awesome. Thanks for following up. We are glad to hear that you got a workaround rocking and appreciate you taking the time to write out the details of how you accomplished your goal.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  4. Marcus says:

    Brill – works perfectly. But Windows remains mystifying. Why does it mess around like this so often?

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Marcus,

    Great. Thanks for taking the time to post feedback.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  5. Neocloud says:

    Thank you =) Works great!

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello neocloud,

    No problem. Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  6. Brad says:

    This was perfect, and saved a ton of headache. Thanks! I would consider this to be a huge security flaw in Windows 7… If public folder sharing was turned on and the end-user didn’t realizing they were saving all their documents, by default, to a puclic folder, anyone on that network could access those files. PPPPP = Piss Poor Planning Prevents Proper Performance

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Brad,

    No problem. Windows 7 has a security flaw…. no! :)

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  7. purehate says:

    Np Guys I am glad it helped out

    [Reply]

  8. Tom says:

    I had to reformat my harddrive and backed up all of my files, thinking that I had everything until I noticed that afterward, most of my files were not transferred over to the new install. As you pointed out, any new files created or modified are saved to the users/appdata directory.

    I often ask myself why I had to move away from XP because somebody hyped microshaft’s latest and greatest piece of crap. Anyway, thanks for this article, it really was helpful and is good to know.

    [Reply]

    purehate Reply:

    No problem, glad we could help you learn something for next time.

    [Reply]

  9. I think this internet site has very wonderful indited written content posts .

    [Reply]

  10. luis says:

    Thanks Alex.
    Just like Alex, rclick on the user does not open the screen.

    I just got a new machine with w7.
    It came with a 1TB, and I added a 640 GB hard drive.
    According with the experts, I will have only programs in the 640GB, and all the other files in the 1 TB drive; it will keep the programs away from viruses, and there will be no files to slw down the operating system.
    I wanted to have the 1TB to get all the saved files by default.

    this is what I did:
    Click Start > click User Folder (start Screen) > rightclick user folder (after the folder opens) > click properties > click location Tab (shows default location) > click Move… > click (on the righ side pane) on the drive, folder or file you want to be the default (it will show on the bottom “Folder:”field > click Select Folder .
    If you click again Start > click user folder User Folder, you will finf the new chosen default were the original User Folder used to be.

    cheers
    luis

    [Reply]

  11. Martin says:

    Great guide!
    But how do you delete the C:\Users\Public, I do not need this sh**!
    At present, says Access Denied..

    ANY IDEA???

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Martin,

    I would advise against removing the Public folder as that is integrated into Windows and includes many sub folders. There should be no need to remove this folder unless you are out of disk space and store items in this folder at which time you could move the Public folder to a different drive. Again though moving it is also not advised and you will likely run into unexpected issues if you move the folder or attempt to delete it. Regardless of what you do back everything up first and make sure you are displaying hidden files and folders so when you decide whatever it is you are going to do you can restore the folder when you start having issues.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  12. kay says:

    i cant even find documents or save or anything regular on the i guess tool bar

    [Reply]

  13. kay says:

    p;ease help me find a beginners course on how to work computer and windows i am so frustrated

    [Reply]

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