Duplicate knownfolders

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 13 May 2009 / Last Updated on 5 Jan. 2009]

What to do if you see duplicate folders in your user profile.

Folder redirection is generally used to redirect knownfolders (such as Documents, Pictures, etc.) from a user's local profile to a central network location. Doing this makes it easier for administrators to ensure that users' files are always backed up, and it also enables users to access their files easily from any computer on the network.

What if you are such a user and you open Windows Explorer and explore your user profile and find two Documents folders instead of one? This could be caused be several things:

  • You logged off from or shut down your computer during a sync operation and before the sync completed. In this case, log on again and manually initiate sync if needed.
  • Your administrator misconfigured Folder Redirection so that the option to move all current content to the network location was not selected. This caused your local Documents folder to be copied, not moved, to the network share, and now you have two Documents folders. Ask your administrator to reconfigure Folder Redirection appropriately.
  • You have a legacy application installed that is hard-coded to write to a local Documents folder and creates this folder if one is not found. If this is the case, ask your vendor if they have an updated version of the application that properly codes knownfolders using environment variables or using appropriate APIs.

Use the above information to try and troubleshoot your problem.

If you have feedback concerning this tip, I'd love to hear from you.

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see www.mtit.com .

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