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Author Topic: Are we allowed to avoid the "My Docs" mess in Win7?  (Read 7309 times)
tomos
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« on: July 23, 2011, 02:37:14 PM »

Messing around with a fresh windows 7 install.

It took a little figuring but I have removed the "My ____" folders from the libraries and have created new folders (without "My"!!) on other drives that are now the default save locations (one for each heading).

I was hoping to avoid the mess made by installing programmes putting their own "My [junk]" folders in My Docs etc. But I suspect, that as the new folders are the default save locations, that windows will direct installing programmes to these new locations.*
If Windows does subject me to this, is there any other way to avoid it?

Hope I'm explaining clearly(?)


* [edit] I havent installed much yet, and nothing has used any of the folders, (default or "My___" folders) so far. So I dont know how this works with apps that do that kind of thing [/edit]
« Last Edit: July 23, 2011, 02:42:56 PM by tomos; Reason: clarification » Logged

Tom
tomos
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2011, 02:39:26 PM »

this, from a Vista user:

 In other words I have a lot of folders under My Documents, which I never  
 intend to use. So I delete these folders, but the next time I start an
 application, it's folder is recreated. Currently I have modified the
 permissions on My Documents, to deny:Create Folder. This works, but from
 time to time some application will fail to reinstall and I have to temporary
 unprotect the folder.
~
http://www.vistax64.com/v...-folder-my-documents.html
(first post second paragraph)
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Tom
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2011, 03:48:41 PM »

Windows 7 actually doesn't use the "My " in the folder names anymore. But that isn't obvious because it still displays it.

But yeah, you can easily move the folders anywhere else. Here's mine:



So basically I moved them all to D:\

D:\Documents = My Documents
D:\Music = My Music
D:\Videos = My Videos

But here's the tricky part: As I said, Windows 7 still (sometimes) displays them as "My Documents," "My Music," etc. so it can be difficult knowing where to find them in an alphabetical list of folders. Is it D for Documents or is it M for My?

EDIT: Oops I think I misunderstood what you were asking. Anything that automatically creates a directory in your "My Documents" directory will save it to the newly configured location, unless the path was hardcoded in the app which is just plain bad programming practices.

I'm not sure how or if you can prevent a (e.g.) "My Games" folder from being created in your Documents folder, but one thing you could do is make a symlink/junction for Documents/My Games to point to another directory of your choosing.
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worstje
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2011, 03:58:12 PM »

This topic is exactly why I don't use any of the default Windows folders. It's sad, but true. My documents are my documents, don't dump files or directories there without my asking!

There is only one exception to the no-windows-folders rule, and that is the Downloads folder Windows 7 gives me. It is exactly where I expect it to be, and that place is a natural-mess-with-dates-for-reinstall-purposes anyway.
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tomos
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2011, 02:14:18 PM »

I'm not on Win7 as I write,
but I guess I could just remove and/or ignore the libraries and add my equivalent folders to favourites....


[edit] then I'm back looking for a dialogue extender for save/open. Ah well, just what I'm used to... [/edit]
« Last Edit: July 24, 2011, 02:31:14 PM by tomos » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2011, 03:36:24 PM »

[edit] then I'm back looking for a dialogue extender for save/open. Ah well, just what I'm used to... [/edit]
Listary works well for me on Vista, but you really need the payware version, $19.95 lifetime license, for a dialog box extender.
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wraith808
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2011, 03:57:20 PM »

Thanks for the heads up on Listary.  What does Listary pro give you that Listary doesn't?  I see the comparison, but I don't really understand the missing features.
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Renegade
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2011, 07:40:14 PM »

This topic is exactly why I don't use any of the default Windows folders. It's sad, but true. My documents are my documents, don't dump files or directories there without my asking!

It's kind of hard to avoid though... I have the same thing going on. Some of those folders:

  • Donation Coder
  • Image-Line
  • MAGIX
  • MAGIX Downloads
  • My HelpAndManual Projects
  • My Kindle Content
  • My Shapes
  • My Web Sites
  • Replay Telecorder
  • Visual Studio 2005
  • Visual Studio 2008
  • Visual Studio 2010

A few others as well...

But WHERE else can you put them by default?

/users/login/AppData/Roaming/company/product isn't the kind of place that normal people would ever think to look. It's remote at best.

Allowing people to set a location for files is an advanced feature that many users simply wouldn't understand or care to bother with.

In general, I try to use the Roaming directory for most things, or the working folder, but I can't really think of anything else that "works" for most people by default other than to put it in the obvious "Documents" folder.

If you have any insight into what would work, I'm all ears. I just can't see any decent default alternatives.

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tomos
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2011, 03:29:44 AM »

If you have any insight into what would work, I'm all ears. I just can't see any decent default alternatives.

I think it's really up to windows to allow users to customise the save/save-as/open dialogues.
=> Problem solved.
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Tom
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2011, 04:39:40 AM »

...long list goes here...

A few others as well...

But WHERE else can you put them by default?

/users/login/AppData/Roaming/company/product isn't the kind of place that normal people would ever think to look. It's remote at best.

Allowing people to set a location for files is an advanced feature that many users simply wouldn't understand or care to bother with.

In general, I try to use the Roaming directory for most things, or the working folder, but I can't really think of anything else that "works" for most people by default other than to put it in the obvious "Documents" folder.

If you have any insight into what would work, I'm all ears. I just can't see any decent default alternatives.

My point is that those directories should not be created in the first place. If you insist on setting the Save Dialog on my Documents folder by default, fine. Why put folders that are by default empty in there to clutter things up? If I have some sort of project I am working on, I'll usually use multiple programs. Should I be coaxed to save every program-specific file in a folder specific to that program followed by the project? No! Let me find my project and make a directory suitable for this new aspect, such as 'help', 'manual', 'icons', 'graphics', 'sounds', etc nd I'll dump this new programs files in there. Giving such default directories only wrongly potty-trains users to dump everything in their Documents\ProgramX directory.

Half the other folders will contain 'program information' that the user can do nothing with. They can't doubleclick it or anything. It's just junk to them. Saved games are a fair number of them.

Also, Windows 7 has a Saved Games directory. I'm not sure about Vista, but either way that's an improvement.

Someone should set up a Hall of Shame website that lists software that appropriates the Documents folder for its own uses. Or maybe a more general one with sub-sections for common UI annoyances. There are some Hall of Shame websites out there that are about computer programs, but many of them are from the W95 era. The web could do with a new one. smiley

Btw, Raymond Chen hates these programs too.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2011, 07:04:01 AM »

If the application in question doesn't have a configurable method of getting rid of it's pesky folder I just make it a hidden folder and leave it there. Then it can be there and completely ignorable at the same time.
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tomos
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2011, 10:08:59 AM »

If the application in question doesn't have a configurable method of getting rid of it's pesky folder I just make it a hidden folder and leave it there. Then it can be there and completely ignorable at the same time.

seems like a good solution thumbs up
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Tom
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2011, 12:14:15 PM »

I think it's really up to windows to allow users to customise the save/save-as/open dialogues.
=> Problem solved.

Like this?:
Common File Dialog Box - Customize Places Bar - Windows 7 Forums

[edit] then I'm back looking for a dialogue extender for save/open. Ah well, just what I'm used to... [/edit]
I just want a choice of favorite directories added to my "save as" dialog.
The suggested software

HTH
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Renegade
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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2011, 01:15:51 PM »

My point is that those directories should not be created in the first place. If you insist on setting the Save Dialog on my Documents folder by default, fine. Why put folders that are by default empty in there to clutter things up? If I have some sort of project I am working on, I'll usually use multiple programs. Should I be coaxed to save every program-specific file in a folder specific to that program followed by the project? No! Let me find my project and make a directory suitable for this new aspect, such as 'help', 'manual', 'icons', 'graphics', 'sounds', etc nd I'll dump this new programs files in there. Giving such default directories only wrongly potty-trains users to dump everything in their Documents\ProgramX directory.

Half the other folders will contain 'program information' that the user can do nothing with. They can't doubleclick it or anything. It's just junk to them. Saved games are a fair number of them.

Also, Windows 7 has a Saved Games directory. I'm not sure about Vista, but either way that's an improvement.

Someone should set up a Hall of Shame website that lists software that appropriates the Documents folder for its own uses. Or maybe a more general one with sub-sections for common UI annoyances. There are some Hall of Shame websites out there that are about computer programs, but many of them are from the W95 era. The web could do with a new one. smiley

Btw, Raymond Chen hates these programs too.


That's not really an answer to the problem. That answer seems to be, "Let's let users clutter the 'My Documents' folder with a trillion files."

Not all software works on a file basis. Some software works on a folder/project basis, and that really needs to be cleaned up in a project folder.

I can understand what you're driving at as I have the same problem, but I just don't see a solution, and you're not offering one.

What you SEEM to be saying (if I'm reading you right) is that there are 2 basic folder philosophies:

1) File in program folders
2) File in semantic folders

But that really means nothing as you can't read the user's mind. How is any programmer supposed to know that? It's unknowable. (A framework could solve that though.)

I think were' stuck with meaningful folder names until such a time as semantics becomes a bigger part of computing. That will be a while...

I just can't see any alternative. Right now the only logical solution seems to be to roll with what we have. Sad
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mouser
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2011, 02:03:32 PM »

My strategy for this is very simple.

I don't f*ck with where Windows (and other applications) wants to put and name the "My Documents" or "Documents" folder.  I leave it right where MS wants to put it.

But.. and here's the key point.. I don't go near that directory with my own files.  I use my own custom MyDocs folder for any program data that *I* have control over.  So any program where i have a choice, and where I care about the data, I save to the MyDocs folder.

This has the great advantage of letting you easily distinguish the relatively small number documents that you actually work with and care about (which are in MyDocs), and those that are auto managed and you probably don't much care about, in the "My Documents" path.
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tomos
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2011, 02:21:35 PM »

I don't f*ck with where Windows (and other applications) wants to put and name the "My Documents" or "Documents" folder.  I leave it right where MS wants to put it.

But.. and here's the key point.. I don't go near that directory with my own files.  I use my own custom MyDocs folder for any program data that *I* have control over.  So any program where i have a choice, and where I care about the data, I save to the MyDocs folder.

Well if I combine ^this approach with:

  • adding the new personal folders to favourites in windows explorer
  • customising the save-as dialogue and/or using a dialogue extender

I guess I'm sorted for everyday use.

~ Thanks Winkie for those links thumbs up
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Tom
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« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2011, 02:41:29 PM »

But.. and here's the key point.. I don't go near that directory with my own files.  I use my own custom MyDocs folder for any program data that *I* have control over.  So any program where i have a choice, and where I care about the data, I save to the MyDocs folder.

This has the great advantage of letting you easily distinguish the relatively small number documents that you actually work with and care about (which are in MyDocs), and those that are auto managed and you probably don't much care about, in the "My Documents" path.

+1

~ Thanks Winkie for those links thumbs up
You're welcome. Grin
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mouser
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« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2011, 02:57:13 PM »

Quote
customising the save-as dialogue and/or using a dialogue extender

yep, this is a must-have for this strategy.
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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2011, 02:10:07 PM »

What does Listary pro give you that Listary doesn't?  I see the comparison, but I don't really understand the missing features.
Apologies for delayed reply.  Your query made me take another look at the comparison.  As I recall it, early versions of Listary restricted most of the dialog box extender features to the Pro version.  It looks like this has changed somewhat, and quite good ones are included in the free-for-personal-use version.  I'm still exploring the new features myself.  Select last opened file automatically means that when you reopen a File Open dialog, that last file will already be in the file box, same with last saved file.  Export list content to a CSV file means (obviously), make a directory listing.  But, given that Listary is free for personal use, and has a portable version as well as an install one, you might find it worth taking a look yourself...
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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2011, 11:44:04 PM »

My strategy for this is very simple.

I don't f*ck with where Windows (and other applications) wants to put and name the "My Documents" or "Documents" folder.  I leave it right where MS wants to put it.

But.. and here's the key point.. I don't go near that directory with my own files.  I use my own custom MyDocs folder for any program data that *I* have control over.  So any program where i have a choice, and where I care about the data, I save to the MyDocs folder.

This has the great advantage of letting you easily distinguish the relatively small number documents that you actually work with and care about (which are in MyDocs), and those that are auto managed and you probably don't much care about, in the "My Documents" path.

Yes very nice mouser I agree with you. Better to not f*ck with the Windows folders and make a set of your own on a separate partition. I think it's the best way.  smiley
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« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2012, 07:32:58 AM »

Re: Mouser's quote: But.. and here's the key point.. I don't go near that directory with my own files.  I use my own custom MyDocs folder for any program data that *I* have control over.  So any program where i have a choice, and where I care about the data, I save to the MyDocs folder.  I've been doing exactly that-even using "MyDocs" almost from the time I started using a computer. In fact, as I'm using Linux Mint more and more, have done the same there.
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« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2012, 11:02:43 AM »

This is one of the biggest annoyances, seriously it is. In downloading, testing and sometimes reviewing downloads the My Documents folder is one big mess. Some create non-descriptive folder names like 'output' and others don't even create folders and put everything right under My Documents.

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« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2012, 07:33:04 PM »

Hmm, I should have thought of MyDocs a long time ago. I don't use My Downloads or My Videos or any of that. And it's really annoying when apps just stick the stuff there without asking.  It would be one thing if the stuff was consistent across OS versions but it seems they shift the stuff around with every major release.

I thought at first it might not be so bad. At least if the folder was Documents and videos were in Videos you might be able to double click down from Desktop and find stuff. No way. They stick the My prefix on so you have to wait 5 seconds for your eyes to focus and pick between My Documents My Videos and My Royal Pain In The Ass folders. smiley

Right now I'm going to change the My Documents button in RocketDock to point to MyDocs folder!! smiley

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