Take control of your documents

Windows 2000 and XP Professional started using a common folder to store your music, movies, downloads and photos. The My Documents folder is a great way to manage all your personal data. It helps you find all your data easier, provided, of course, that you use My Documents as your default save location.

Alas, what can be a benefit, can be a curse, too.

How many times do you go through the motions of clicking the Save option to have My Documents appear as the first in the list of choices?

On the other hand, how many times do you import data, such as your entire digital camera files, and the Windows scanner and camera wizard appears magically to automatically upload, and name the files, then save them in My Documents or My Pictures?

As you can see, it’s a 50/50 task.

The My Documents component of Windows is tricky.

If you prefer to have family members share your My Documents folder, you have to implicitly share it, by dragging the items into the Shared Documents folders. If you ever need access to your My Documents folder and you haven’t shared it beforehand, you’ll not be able to get what you need, unless you log off and log on as the user who owns or has created that folder, unless you are logged in as an administrator-level user and provided file encryption is not enabled on the user account you are attempting to access (this applies to XP Pro computers).

My Documents sits by default on your system drive, typically C: drive. If your system ever had a hard drive problem, or had to be reinstalled, you would lose this folder and all your precious data.

Why not safeguard it? It’s pretty simple to do, provided you have a backup hard drive – preferably a D or E partition with enough space to hold your My Documents and all its sub folders.

Windows 2000 and XP have a nice feature that allows you to actually change the location of the folder. Not only will it let you change the location, but it will also relocate everything to the newly specified location. It’s much better than a manual copy-and-paste.

To change the default location of My Documents, right-click on on the folder, select Properties. On the Target tab, click the Move Button. Then select the new location of your My Documents folder. Click apply, and wait for the action to complete.