Display “My Documents”/”My Videos”/etc. without “My” prefix in Windows 7

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Problem :

Even though Windows 7 stores special folders in the home folder as Documents/Videos/etc, they are still displayed as My Documents/My Videos/etc in Windows Explorer. I preferred the way that Vista displayed them (i.e. without the “My” prefix).

Is there a way to configure this in Windows 7?

Solution :

Figured it out myself:
In every special folder, there is a desktop.ini file that specifies how it should display. There is a line in there that looks like:


That line tells windows to use the localized name from a string resource in shell32.dll. If you delete that line, logout and login again, the displayed name will be the same as the file name.

I suspect that manually renaming the folder does exactly that.

Easiest way, go to your home folder e.g. c:users<name> or in run type %userprofile% then right click on any of the my folders and just choose rename, then get rid of the my prefix.

Crude, but works well!

Shell folders such as “(My) Documents” are named at two levels, and UIs that rename “folders” are ambiguous as you don’t know which level is being renamed.

At the file system directory level, is the name you’d see via file system managers, the Dir command, and so on.

The Windows shell (Windows Explorer, “My Computer” etc.) browses the namespace, not the file system as such, so it displays the namespace level.

Shell folders are linked to target file system directories in both directions; there are registry settings that point from namespace folder to file system directory, and within the file system directory there is a Desktop.ini that points back to the namespace.

Specifically, Desktop.ini may define:
– an overriding “localized” folder name
– whether this name is to be transferred when folder is copied
– an ID that links to a set of special behaviours for that namespace item type

Sometimes the namsespace name is applied circumstantially, e.g. when logged into user account John, you may see “My Documents”, whereas from other user accounts, you may see “John’s Documents”. Such behaviour may be defined within the logic for that type of namespace item, as pointed to by the ID in the Desktop.ini

Problems arise in at least two cases…

1) Multiple namespace items map to a single directory

In this situation, there’s only one Desktop.ini to point back to these multiple referring namespace folders, and most likely “the last one wins”.

2) Windows 7 periodically re-asserts default namespace names

Let’s say you’ve carefully named the raw directory to taste, mapped the shell folder to this target, and set your desired namespace name within the Desktop.ini in the directory. You’ve viewed this from various UIs and all is as it should be.

Yet an a few days or weeks, the namespace names are back to “My…” again, and when you edit the Desktop.ini, you confirm the unwanted default name is being asserted there. You edit it back, but the same thing happens again, and again.

Problem (2) is the one I’m trying to solve, the search for which brought me to this thread.

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