how to change your desktop location in Windows

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As a matter of convenience, most Windows users use the Windows desktop as a temporary place to store files.  Unfortunately, even though important files are often stored here, there is, by default, a disconnect between this location and the location where you normally store your other important files.

This article shows how to set the location of your Windows desktop folder, so that your desktop files are kept in a more sensible location.  I have used this trick successfully in Windows versions ranging from Windows 98 to Windows7.

To change the location of your desktop in Windows, follow these steps:


Step 1: Create your new desktop folder.

Create the folder for your new desktop, if it doesn't exist, and use the location bar in Explorer to copy the folder's path to your clipboard.

Step 2: Relocate your desktop files.

Move all the files from your current desktop location to the new location.  If you are doing this by moving icons directly off your desktop, be sure to avoid the special icons that do not represent actual files on your desktop, such as the Recycle Bin.

Step 3: Update the desktop location registry value.

Now, use regedit to edit the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders\Desktop

Find the value name called "Desktop" and set its data to the desired location for your desktop.

Step 4: Restart Explorer.

To allow the changes to take effect, log off and back in.  Or, if you're a more advanced user, simply kill the explorer process and allow it to restart itself.

That's all there is to it!  Enjoy your new custom desktop location. :-)

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