Setting documents folder to network location in Windows 7

I believe changing your My Documents folder from the default system drive location to a network drive location is possible when the remote location is a Windows server file share. However, trying to connect to a NAS drive that might be based on Linux does cause problems.

We needed to connect our My Documents to a Linux based NAS device (Netgear NAS) and were thwarted when trying to do so in Windows 7. In order to change the location you need to right click on the documents folder and choose properties, you can then add a new location by selecting the include a folder.. button:



Unfortunately, at this point you receive the following error:


We don’t want to index the location (add as an Offline folder) and we probably couldn’t anyway due to the Linux incompatibility problems.

The workaround is to edit the registry. You need to run the Regedit.exe programme and then navigate to and change the following keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell \FoldersPersonal


HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell \FoldersPersonal

My network location is on a mapped network drive Z:\documents and settings\admin\my documents


Double click and enter your network location path:



Do the same for the User Shell Folders (User Shell Folders is queried at login first, and uses the %USERPROFILE% variable, Shell folders ar just an expanded form of this – you need to be explicit in both to make sure the network location is used):


Your remote folder can be any path of course – I just like ‘Documents and Settings’ from the XP days 🙂

You now need to logoff, logon to reset the locations. When you now go to the documents properties you will see:


Your My Documents has disappeared. Now just hit the Restore Defaults button which will restore the My Documents according to the registry entries:



Author: James

IT Manager - Network, Web coding, MS SQL and Online Mapping expert

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