Accessing Documents and Settings folder in Windows 7

If you try to access Documents and Settings folder in Windows 7, you will get the following message box thrown at you.

[Window Title]
Location is not available

C:\Documents and Settings is not accessible.

Access is denied.


First, Documents and Settings folder is not visible when you look in system drive. In my previous post How to set folder view options, i discussed how you can change the options to make system files and folders visible. Now you have the folder visible but its not accessible even when you are logged in as administrator. Now Documents and Settings is actually a link to another folder Users in your system drive. Yes, this is the folder where all the users related data is stored. Under this folder you will find folders for all users who have ever logged into the system and some of default system users as well. You can access individual users folders. This is where you will find folders like My Documents, My pictures, Favorites etc. You will notice a lot of these folders have a blue curved up-arrow icon with it. Yes, this indicates that these folders are shortcut or links to actual physical location of the folders. And you will not be able to access these folder from these links. If you have change the folder options to view hidden files and folders, you will be able to see actual folders like My Documents, Local Settings etc. You can access these folders to get to physical location of data. One other important folder that you need to know about it Local Settings. This is also a link to actual location in user folder. There is no hidden Local Settings folder. You will find another hidden folder AppData. Click on this folder and you will find following sub-folders.

  • Local
  • LocalLow
  • Roaming

This is where you will find the folders that you are used to seeing under Local Settings and Application Data folders. In general you if you are looking for folders that used to be in Documents and Settings folder, look in the following folder (assuming you have installed operating system in C drive).

C:\Users\{user name}

This little piece of information about folder structure in Windows 7 should help you get started in exploring more folders that you may otherwise think have been removed since Windows XP. If you have any questions, please feel free to fire question(s) my way. I will be glad to answer as much as i can.




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