Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


A folder that you can't put anywhere!

  1. #1


    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8

    A folder that you can't put anywhere!


    The "Generated Desktop" folder has a bizarre peculiarity. To see it, open any folder and then go all the way to the top of the "tree" of folders in the navigation pane. The folder is called "Desktop," but you'll notice that 7 special items appear in it: Computer, Homegroup, Control Panel, Network, Recycle Bin, the Libraries folder, and your UserName folder. The rest of its contents are the items on your Desktop. (Warning: Those 7 items are not shortcuts. Do not copy them from there to any other place. You can create shortcuts to them, or pin them to Start.)

    The weird thing about this folder is that it has no "parent" -- it isn't in any other folder or drive -- so it has no "address." And, as a result, you can't create a shortcut to it, or pin it to Start or Taskbar, or put it in another folder, or even on your desktop. It's doesn't even have "Properties." You'd think it would at least have a CLSID, but I've searched the Registry without finding one.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Arnhem, The Netherlands
    Posts : 1,412
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Media Center Edition


    Hi Dragon Drop,

    when I check the 'Desktop' folder in Windows Explorer it shows this path ==>

    "C:\Users\my_user_name\Desktop"

    When I check the folder "C:\Users\my_user_name\" I see a folder "Desktop".


    So, my advise to you is to check the folder "C:\Users\my_user_name\" and see if the Desktop folder exists.

    Good luck!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    I think you'll find that that "Desktop" icon is a link not a folder. Any thing you add to your desktop will be in "C:\Users\your_user_name\Desktop". Those other custom system icons are likely in C:\Program Data\Desktop. The Desktop link links to both and all icons are displayed like they are in one folder.

    The same sort of thing is done with the start menu.
    For Your Account Only:
    C:\Users\User-Name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
    For All User Accounts: (must be administrator)
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Webster NY US
    Posts : 325
    Win 7 / Win 8


    Yes, from the C:\Users\login_name\ you will see a Desktop folder which you can make a shortcut to, etc. See if it will let you pin that where you want it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    No, the Desktop folder under Users/username is *NOT* a link, it's a normal folder.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere View Post
    No, the Desktop folder under Users/username is *NOT* a link, it's a normal folder.
    No its not, I never meant to infer that it was. The Desktop Icon shown under Favorites I believe links to the two locations/folders I mentioned.

    Attachment 15054
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8


    The mystery is solved -- and yet unsolved!

    There are two different folders called "Desktop." One is the User Desktop folder, which is in your UserName folder. The other is the Generated Desktop folder, which I'm referring to in this thread. (I discussed both of them in my article about "Where Windows 8 Keeps Everything.") You can create a shortcut to the User Desktop folder, of course. And if you need the 7 extra items in the Generated Desktop folder, you can create shortcuts to them.

    But the Generated Desktop folder interests me because of its strange behavior. The "Desktop" icon in the Navigation Pane opens it, as Alphanumeric pointed out, or you can get it by just typing "Desktop" in the address bar, the same as with the "Applications" folder. And if you have one of those 7 special items open and then you click the "up" arrow from there -- or from the "Applications" folder, or from the Generated "Programs Folder", or from anything that has no "parent" folder -- it goes to the Generated Desktop folder by default. So there are plenty of ways to reach it.

    It wasn't a practical problem for me, just a fascinating puzzle: Is there any way to create a shortcut icon that will open that folder? The regular way is to right-click the folder's icon in its parent folder -- but the Generated Desktop folder has no parent. Or you can do "Create > New > Shortcut" and type the folder's address -- but the Generated Desktop folder has no address either! That is, there's no "path" to it, since it has no parent. It doesn't even behave as if it were in the C drive, or in any drive, or in any folder, or in anything at all. It just exists by itself, without being in anything. The same thing is true of the other generated folders ("Applications" and "Programs"); but those have CLSID's which you can use to create a shortcut. In my User folder I found a "Favorites" folder, but that doesn't contain anything called "Desktop." And neither does my "C:\Program Data" folder.

    But Alphanumeric's screenshot gave me an idea. I added the "Favorites" heading (which I had never used) to the Navigation Pane and then opened THAT "Favorites" folder. Guess what? It's another "generated" folder -- a folder with no parent -- and it contains a shortcut that opens the Generated Desktop folder!

    You can copy the shortcut to any place, and you can pin it to the Start Screen, put it in Quick Launch, or assign it a shortcut key. (But it looks the same as the Show Desktop icon, which is confusing. Copy it to your desktop, then change its name and icon, and then pin to Start or whatever else you want.)

    So one puzzle is solved, but another remains. I looked at the "Properties" of that shortcut, and the address shown there is that of the USER Desktop folder -- which is not the one that it opens!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    You're referring to shell namespaces. These have been around since Windows 95.

    Introduction to the Shell Namespace (Windows)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8


    Thanks. That article will probably answer a dozen questions I have. And it'll probably make me ask two dozen more questions, which is why it's so much fun!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8


    As it now turns out, I find that you CAN create a shortcut to the Generated Desktop folder, by using "Create New Shortcut" and typing "explorer shell:Desktop" in the Location pane. And if you create one that way, you can pin it to the Taskbar, in addition to the other choices I mentioned above.

    But I still think there must be a CLSID for that folder, if I could only find it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

A folder that you can't put anywhere!
Related Threads
Add "Delete Files in Folder" and "Empty Folder" to Context Menu of Folders in Windows This tutorial will show you how to add or remove "Delete Files in Folder" and "Empty Folder" to the context menu of folders for all users in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. While you must be signed in as...
So I was trying to remap my User folders (e.g. Documents, Pictures) to a different drive by changing the location. What I accidentally managed to do is (I think) migrate my Contacts folder with my User folder. Now, when I go into C>Users, instead of my name, I see the actual Contacts folder. When I...
Windows 8.1 Dell 6006 Desktop G/Day to all:D How come all Desktop My Folder’s Stuff are now located Paths now in a Contacts Folder Download ed was a “Folder” on My Desktop and was the “Default Folder” in Firefox options >General >Save files to/ C:\Users\DazzlingDasha\Desktop\MMYY...
Hi, I'm trying to open My Pictures on my wife's laptop but I get this error message Your folder can't be shared. This also happens to other folders on the laptop. I've tried to change Security Settings but it usually leads me to an endless layer of pop ups which finally ends with me being unable to...
hey when ever it try to open any folder in my computer its shows folder is empty even it has files in it then on task bar green ribbon runs for some time and then it shows files in folder...this wont be happening someday ago but now m getting this problem...hard drive test shows it is working fine
I cannot unmerge them! I would like to avoid system restore or adding a new profile if possible. right clicking and changing the location doesn't work because they are both changed by that approach The icons appear unique but they are both titled "Downloads" at the moment I had...
Sample Images. http://main.makeuseoflimited.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Documents-Folder-With-Colored-Folders.jpg http://main.makeuseoflimited.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Folder-Colorizer-Right-Click-Documents-Folder.jpg ...
Eight Forums Android App Eight Forums IOS App Follow us on Facebook