Question Part of "My Documents" are on External (not C:) drive?

Jul 1, 2019
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While I'm sure I did this on purpose somehow at some point, and probably to save space on my C: drive... this is my issue:

MY ISSUE:
I just realized or re-discovered that a portion of "My Documents" are being stored on an external hard drive, and at the moment, I don't think this is a good idea!

MY QUESTION:
How can I determine what is causing this, how it happened, etc. and most importantly, how to change this back to "normal" and really have my documents stored on my C: drive? (...and then just back that up somewhere, regularly).
(..and I realize that at least at the moment, I probably don't even have room on my C:\ drive to physically store all of the stuff that's pointing to my S: drive)


I see that I currently only have 16.9GB free on my 1.8TB C: drive at the moment, so I likely did this at some point as at least a temporary way to save space on my C: drive. But I don't remember. And now I don't think it was a good idea.

It looks like at least "My Videos" and "My Pictures" are being stored on my "S:" external hard drive. But it is set up to sync, somehow, or to at least LOOK like the files are located on the C: drive.


DETAILS:
I discovered this by doing a duplicate file cleanup on my External S: hard drive.

The duplicate file cleanup results showed a video file duplicated on that drive in these locations:
S:\Documents\My Videos\Data Import Utility\20150407\20150407202134.mts
S:\#VID\IN-CANON XA20 VIDCAM\Data Import Utility-VIDEOS\20150407\20150407202134.mts

I then did an "Everything" search across all of my drives for this file and got the following results:
C:\Users\Steve\Videos\Data Import Utility\20150407\20150407202134.mts
S:\#VID\IN-CANON XA20 VIDCAM\Data Import Utility-VIDEOS\20150407\20150407202134.mts
V:\#VID\IN-CANON XA20 VIDCAM\Data Import Utility-VIDEOS\20150407\20150407202134.mts

I thought that was mysterious, as the "Everything" search didn't give me both S: drive paths given by the duplicate file finder.

I then experimentally deleted the file from this location:
S:\Documents\My Videos\Data Import Utility\20150407\20150407202134.mts

When I did so, the file on the C: drive disappeared from the "Everything" search from this location:
C:\Users\Steve\Videos\Data Import Utility\20150407\20150407202134.mts


From the above, and a bit more experimenting, I've determined that at least the "My Videos" and "My Pictures" folders from my basic Windows "My Documents" (or "Documents") are being placed on my S: drive but the computer still sees them as connected to my standard documents folder(s) on my C: drive.

I haven't tried this yet, but from the above, it seems like if I disconnect my external S: drive, I won't have access to "My Pictures" and "My Videos" windows documents folders! Yikes.

This is confusing to me, so if you're confused by my description, please ask and I'll try to explain better.
 
Jul 1, 2019
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ADDITIONAL NOTE/CLARIFICATION:
Although these system default "My Documents" files (at least "My Music", "My Pictures" and "My Videos") are stored on my external S: Drive, Windows is seeing/identifying them as stored on the C: drive. So when I do my everything search, the file ONLY shows on the C: drive path. But it is physically located on S:. If go to the S: path and delete a file, it disappears from C:.

(The reason there were other copies of my example search file located on the S: and V: drives was only because those were extra copies of the example file.)
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Locate ALL your files associated with this.
Copy the Files (not the top level 'Documents' folder), to some other drive.
Then, in File Explorer, right click on the 'Documents folder, select Properties
Go to the Location tab, and select Restore Default


This might bring it back to the actual C drive.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Likely a matter of the default configuration settings within the OS and applicable software

If you do not change the configuration settings (e.g., destination drives and folders) then the applicable software will be making such decisions.

Likewise for any backup utilities being used.

And having duplicate files on an external drive is a good idea. You want backup copies off-system and even more backup copies off-site.

Something many people ignore...

(Family member's house was recently broken into. Lost laptop, lost the "firebox" with backups.....)

Take some time to look over your system and applications. Determine what is doing backups/syncing, when the backups are being made, and where the backups are stored.

And do indeed verify that those backups are readable/recoverable.

Remember the saying about "not having your eggs all in one basket".

If you (or anyone else reading this) takes just a moment to truly consider the results of completely losing your computer right NOW and permanently then you should get a sense of why backups are important.

Another family passed a few months over a year ago. Most financial information was on a cell phone. Fortunately some passwords were discovered on scraps of paper. Otherwise the end nightmare would have been even worse.

External drive - yes. Other backup locations yes.
 
Jul 1, 2019
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Thank you very much for the advice given so far. I will try to follow the advice from both replies. The advice feeds in to what I think may be happening... I may have some software or at least know that I somehow configured it to be this way at some point.

The strangeness to me is that to my computer seems to look like/think that the documents are on the C: drive. The only way I discovered that they were actually "mapped" (or whatever you want to call it) to the S: drive, was by chance by using a duplicate file finder tool. Although the files are physically on the S: drive, my computer "sees" them as on the C: drive. My "everything search" proves this, as I can search for a file that's on the S: drive, but it shows as on C:, although I can actually go find it on the S: drive. And when I delete it from the S: drive, it disappears from C:. Pretty sure I did this at some point when C: was running out of space.

The advice given so far also feeds into the fear that triggered when I discovered this, is that I currently have only ONE COPY of most of this data, and it seems to be on an external drive that I carry around with me a bit!
 

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