My Documents in Windows Vista/7



  • (warning, this may be rantlike)

    Hi everyone,

    so I recently did the move to Windows 7 too, having skipped Vista more or less completely (because that's what the cool kids were doing, right?).

    All in all I can agree with the general opinion and like many of the new features very much. (Especially Aero Peek and the like). However, I'm kind of puzzled about what they did to the My Documents folder.

    If you remember, in good ol' XP we had a single "My Documents" folder that was a subfolder of "Documents and Settings/foo/". Inside you already had a few standard folders like "Pictures" and "Music", alright, but the semantics of those were very weak and you could easily adjust the folder hierarchy to your own needs. You could even move the whole "My Documents" folder to another drive without all programs getting confused. The general rule was that everything inside "My Documents" was "user space" and could be freely modified/restructured by the user. In contrast, all user dependant stuff that you don't want the user to touch directly was to be placed into "Documents and Settings/foo/" directly or into a hidden subfolder, which belonged to "system space". Yes, some program created their own annoying standard folders inside "My Documents", but even those folders contained files that were meant to be seen by the user. I personally always found that division very convenient and easy to teach to "normal" users. "Documents and Settings" -> don't touch, "My Documents" -> do touch.

    Compare to Windows 7 (and apparently already windows Vista, too, as I know now) where apparently the old "My Documents" folder has been seen as obsolete. Instead, all standard subfolders ("Music", etc) have been moved directly into "users/foo". Into the very same folder that still contains all the system files. However, there is now a new "/users/foo/Documents" folder that apparently is advertised to pre-Vista programs as the "My Documents" folder.

    Because I generally want to understand how the designers of a system have meant it to be used before I screw it up with my own plans, I'd like to know how this new layout is supposed to be used. If I want to store files, which, I don't know, don't happen to be pictures or songs, which folder am I supposed to save them in? If it's Documents, then why do I have a hard-wired shortcut to "/users/foo" in my start menu and why are all the other standard folders placed outside? But if I'm supposed to use /users/foo directly now, what purpose has the "Documents" folder and why the fuck do I have all those system files in my personal folder?

    I personally can live with having my personal folder cluttered, even if it's annoying. But I know several users where that kind of design makes me think of a house that has the main water valve, fuse box and internet router in the children's room, possibly obscured by a curtain. Yes, I could disable viewing hidden files, but this isn't really an option if you're developing.

    TL;DR: Were the engeneers of Windows Vista on crack when they designed the new layout for "My Documents" or am I just missing something?



  •  Hmm, I realize now, I'm just a little bit late with that complaint. Still, have you guys found a solution to that in the three years since it was apparently discovered?



  •   the /Users/<user> folder is completely userspace except for the hidden directory AppData.   That is the only folder that is not really for the user to be interacting with.

    I don't know why disabling showing hidden files isn't an option when you are developing.  I've developed tons of apps and never have I turned on view hidden folders.  If I need to poke around the AppData I just go there directly.



  • @tster said:

      the /Users/<user> folder is completely userspace except for the hidden directory AppData.   That is the only folder that is not really for the user to be interacting with.

    I don't know why disabling showing hidden files isn't an option when you are developing.  I've developed tons of apps and never have I turned on view hidden folders.  If I need to poke around the AppData I just go there directly.

     

    I think you're in for a surprise if you show hidden and system files then.  Which I unfortunately need to have visible since I recently developed a shell extension and needed to play around with the desktop.ini files. Which are marked as both, hidden and system.

    But even if you kept them hidden, it wouldn't work. There is still a number of programs (e.g. Gimp) which used to write their "system space" files in  /Documents and Settings/<user>/ directly, instead of AppData (bad, I know). Those now clutter up the /Users/<user> folder. But in contrast to the clutter in My Documents, I can't even delete them.

    I've solved the problem for now by moving the Pictures, etc folders into the Documents folder and basically pretending things would still work as in XP. But I was wondering if there was a better solution.



  • Its called use the fucking library. Honestly, I know it makes no damn sense but its how they "want" you to do things.



  • @PSWorx said:

    @tster said:

      the /Users/<user> folder is completely userspace except for the hidden directory AppData.   That is the only folder that is not really for the user to be interacting with.

    I don't know why disabling showing hidden files isn't an option when you are developing.  I've developed tons of apps and never have I turned on view hidden folders.  If I need to poke around the AppData I just go there directly.

     

    I think you're in for a surprise if you show hidden and system files then.  Which I unfortunately need to have visible since I recently developed a shell extension and needed to play around with the desktop.ini files. Which are marked as both, hidden and system.

    But even if you kept them hidden, it wouldn't work. There is still a number of programs (e.g. Gimp) which used to write their "system space" files in  /Documents and Settings/<user>/ directly, instead of AppData (bad, I know). Those now clutter up the /Users/<user> folder. But in contrast to the clutter in My Documents, I can't even delete them.

    I've solved the problem for now by moving the Pictures, etc folders into the Documents folder and basically pretending things would still work as in XP. But I was wondering if there was a better solution.

     

    I would say a better solution would be to not show system files.  I mean, they are called system files for a reason.  If you need them while working on a shell extension then turn them on temporarily (or access them from the command line)



  • well there's an easy way to fix this:
    Make a folder in /users/(username)/ called 'documents'; rebind the "My Documents" folder to /users/(username)/documents/ using still availible hacks. Done.



  • @tster said:

    I think you're in for a surprise if you show hidden and system files then.

    In Vista and Win7, if you turn on "show system files" strange icons appear on your desktop.  In Windows XP you could see them in Explorer but XP was smart enough to not show them on your desktop....  Don't you just love progress?

     



  • @PSWorx said:

    Because I generally want to understand how the designers of a system have meant it to be used before I screw it up with my own plans, I'd like to know how this new layout is supposed to be used. If I want to store files, which, I don't know, don't happen to be pictures or songs, which folder am I supposed to save them in? If it's Documents, then why do I have a hard-wired shortcut to "/users/foo" in my start menu and why are all the other standard folders placed outside? But if I'm supposed to use /users/foo directly now, what purpose has the "Documents" folder and why the fuck do I have all those system files in my personal folder?

     

    If it's not Miley Cyrus, and it's not pr0n, it goes in the "other" folder, Documents. What more could you need? Also, you got all those system files from the pr0n and Miley Cyrus you illegally downloaded.



  • @PSWorx said:

    @tster said:

      the /Users/<user> folder is completely userspace except for the hidden directory AppData.   That is the only folder that is not really for the user to be interacting with.

    I don't know why disabling showing hidden files isn't an option when you are developing.  I've developed tons of apps and never have I turned on view hidden folders.  If I need to poke around the AppData I just go there directly.

     

    I think you're in for a surprise if you show hidden and system files then.  Which I unfortunately need to have visible since I recently developed a shell extension and needed to play around with the desktop.ini files. Which are marked as both, hidden and system.

    But even if you kept them hidden, it wouldn't work. There is still a number of programs (e.g. Gimp) which used to write their "system space" files in  /Documents and Settings/<user>/ directly, instead of AppData (bad, I know). Those now clutter up the /Users/<user> folder. But in contrast to the clutter in My Documents, I can't even delete them.

    I've solved the problem for now by moving the Pictures, etc folders into the Documents folder and basically pretending things would still work as in XP. But I was wondering if there was a better solution.

    I've have been working with Windows 7 for months and never experienced any difficulties or problems with the "Libraries" concept that replaced "My documents". Are you sure you are not suffering from a mild case of the "gaaah... change" syndrome? 🙂

    Libraries are actually quite powerful. I have created a custom "Software" and a "Projects" library which bind to multiple different folders on my 😨 and E: drives to provide a single entry point.



  • @bob171123 said:

    If it's not Miley Cyrus, and it's not pr0n...

    You repeat yourself.



  • I'm not sure if this helps any, but for years, I resisted the move to "My Documents" as a repository for my stuff.  I created directories in c:\ called photos, TV, movies, mp3s, etc.

    It wasn't until Win7 that I migrated all of them to Documents.  TV goes into a folder in Videos called TV.  Then it shows up in WMC under the TV tag.  Same for movies.  Before the switch to using Documents, I had to add all my music and videos to WMC by adding the folder.  I no longer have to do that, because all of the folders in Documents are added to the appropriate category by default.

    I particularly like Windows Live Photo Gallery.  

    I still use my own folders for a few things, but they even have a Downloads folder.  Or maybe that was just created by Chrome.  

    Now, if only I can get WMC to share with my Xbox 360 consistently. 

    As for answering your question, I'm unsure why they've put a link directly to /users/foo.  In the past, it seems like they didn't want you going there, as there was no direct link there (unless you created a shortcut) and if you clicked "up one folder" on My Documents, you went to the desktop, not /users/foo.  However, as has been mentioned, apps went directly there.  I know eclipse likes to put your workspace in /users/foo/workspace, and I think Netbeans likes that too.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @tster said:

    I think you're in for a surprise if you show hidden and system files then.

    In Vista and Win7, if you turn on "show system files" strange icons appear on your desktop.  In Windows XP you could see them in Explorer but XP was smart enough to not show them on your desktop....  Don't you just love progress?

     

    quote fail.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    I still use my own folders for a few things, but they even have a Downloads folder.  Or maybe that was just created by Chrome.

    It's not a chrome thing; Vista has that as well.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @belgariontheking said:

    I still use my own folders for a few things, but they even have a Downloads folder.  Or maybe that was just created by Chrome.

    It's not a chrome thing; Vista has that as well.

     

    The annoying thing with Vista is that programs are inconsistent in using C:\Users&lt;username>\Documents\Downloads or just C:\Users&lt;username>\Documents.



  • Hardlinks people (Link Shell Extension) will allow you to have 2 or more folders with the same contents.

    My XIU\Documents\Downloads folder points to the XIU\Downloads folder and I then used attrib +s +h Downloads /L to make it hidden 🙂


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.