Registry Settings for Folder Redirection in Windows

This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.


In Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, you can implement System Policies to change the location of the your Startup Folder, Desktop, Start Menu, or Network Neighborhood folders from the default location. In Windows 2000, you can use the Group Policy Editor. The custom folders option in Policy Editor has been replaced with Folder Redirection in Windows 2000.

More Information

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

In Windows 2000, you can change the location of the following items:
  • Application Data.
  • Desktop.
  • My Documents folder.
  • My Pictures folder.
  • Start menu.
The following list provides the locations of the following options currently available with Folder redirection:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
Name: AppDataType: REG_EXPAND_SZData: %USERPROFILE%\Application DataName: DesktopType: REG_EXPAND_SZData: %USERPROFILE%\DesktopName: PersonalType: REG_EXPAND_SZData: %USERPROFILE%\My DocumentsName: My PicturesType: REG_EXPAND_SZData: %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\My PicturesName: Start MenuType: REG_EXPAND_SZData: %USERPROFILE%\Start Menu 
The following example demonstrates how to change the location of the Desktop folder by using Folder Redirection:
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Users and Computers.
  2. Right-click Domain, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Group Policies tab, click Default Domain Policy, and then click Edit.
  4. When Group Policies starts, click User Configuration, click Windows Settings, and then click Folder Redirection.
  5. Right-click Desktop Folder, and then click Properties.
  6. You can now configure the location of the Desktop folder. In the Settings box, click Advanced - Specify the location for various user groups, and then click Add.
  7. Click the Browse button next to the Security Group Membership box, and then click a group from the domain list.
  8. Click Target Location Folder, and then use a UNC path to the location where you want the Desktop folder to be located.
  9. Click the Settings tab. By default, both of the following settings are enabled:
    • When enabled, the Grant the user exclusive rights to Desktop check box sets permissions on the folder for the User and System to full permissions. If you click to clear the check box, no change is made to the permissions on the folder.
    • When enabled, the Move the contents of Desktop to the new location check box moves the contents to the new location. If you click to clear the check box, then the contents remain where they are.
  10. In the Policy Removal box, click either Leave the folder in the new location when the policy is removed, or Redirect the folder back to the local userprofile location when the policy is removed. By default, the first option is selected.
  11. Click Apply, click OK, and then quit Group Policy Editor
  12. Log off the administrator account, and then log on again.
After the user logs on again, the Desktop folder should be redirected to the new location. You can check both the location specified as the target location and the registry setting listed earlier in this article.

For additional information about related topics, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
227302 Using SECEDIT to Force a Group Policy Refresh Immediately
232692 Folder Redirection Feature in Windows