Tutorial Thursday

One thing that I never understood about Windows was why there are preset locations for the system folders like “My Music” and “My Pictures”. Operating Systems are about giving users choices (well, sometimes) and this is something that should be easily adjustable. Microsoft must have realized that and they now offer an extremely easy solution for users to move the location wherever they want in Vista.

First of all, many of you may be wondering why I would ever want to move the location in the first place? On my desktop PC I have two hard drives: one for my operating system and another for my main files. The hard drive that stores my main files is very important because it keeps backups of the other computers (and our website) along with my pictures and music. I don’t want to waste space on my operating system hard drive when I already have the music and pictures located on the other hard drive…so basically I just want to link the “My Music” and “My Pictures” folders to the other hard drive.

For Windows XP you can dive into the Registry but I think it is much easier to use the TweakUI utility that Microsoft provides:

  1. Download TweakUI from Microsoft
  2. After you install it, go to your Start Menu and execute the application. Browse to the the My Computer->Special Folders option.
  3. Select the drop-down menu and choose which folder you would like to change.
  4. Click the Change Location button and select Yes to agree to the warning prompt that you will receive.
  5. Choose the new location for your folder. Click OK to accept the new folder location and continue changing any other folders that you would like. You should also browse through the TweakUI program because it offers a lot of great things that you can change.

Microsoft actually got smart and made it possible to change this feature in Windows Vista without the need for additional software or Registry hacks. Look at how easy it is now:

  1. Open up Windows Explorer and browse to the folder that you would like to change. In this example I am doing the Downloads folder.
  2. Right-click on the folder and select the Properties option.
    Vista Properties
  3. Go to the Location tab and change the location to wherever you would like.
    Vista Change Folder Location
  4. Repeat this with all of the folders that you would like to change.

In both Windows XP and Windows Vista it is pretty easy but I am happy that Microsoft finally decided to integrate this option into the Vista user interface. I have noticed a lot of these subtle features as I have been using Windows Vista and I will continue to share them with you over the next few weeks. By the time the consumer version is released you will be all prepared and knowledgeable about these time-saving features.