My Documents?! I am framed!

Seasoned Windows users know that the Documents folder (formerly My Documents folder) is a folder where unscrupulous applications store large quantities of cryptic files and folders without regard for their users’ comfort, making it unsuitable for actual user documents. “Digital Clutter” is now a more becoming name.

Screenshot of a Documents folder in Windows 8.1.

Screenshot of a Documents folder in Windows 8.1.


Unfortunately, it is impossible to permanently delete these files and folders not only because they are necessary (see table below to find out why) but also because most of the times, programs responsible for their presence recreate them on their next execution. It is also impossible to hide these files from the sight, not only because the Hidden attribute has long lost its sanctity (due to malware constantly abusing it) but also because some programs may fail to find hidden files.

The only remaining solution is to abandon Documents folder and store our documents elsewhere. Thanks to Windows 7′s library feature, it is now both possible and convenient to make additional highly-accessible folders for storing documents.

The incriminating evidence!

The following is a list of cryptic items I found in those Documents folders that I came across on a dozen of different computers. But please do not send me anymore. I wanted to illustrate a point; I think I did.

Item Type Description Proper location
Adobe\Premiere Elements Folder Looks like an application data folder for Adobe Premiere Elements 9.0. Right now, I can only see logs here. Windows 7: AppData\Local
Windows XP: Local Settings\Application Data
Bioware\Dragon Age 2 Folder Contains settings and saved games of Dragon Age II from Bioware Windows 7: Saved Games
Windows XP: Application Data
Bluetooth Exchange Folder Folder Created by a Bluetooth device driver  to store files that are downloaded from another device. (In this case, this folder is created by WIDCOMM Bluetooth Software from Broadcom Corporation.) Windows 7: Downloads
Windows XP: My Documents\Downloads
CAPCOM Folder Created by Devil May Cry 4 (a video game from CAPCOM) to store saved games. Perhaps other CAPCOM games also store saved games in this folder. Windows 7: Saved Games
Windows XP: Application Data
Downloads Folder Created by many download managers. Even Windows 7 users may find it in their Documents folder. Windows 7: Downloads
EA GAMES Folder Created by Medal of Honor (2010 video game from EA Games) to store saved games. I know for a fact that not all EA Games’ video games store their saved games in this folder. Windows 7: Saved Games
Windows XP: Application Data
Freemake Folder Created by software from Freemake, including but not limited to Freemake Video Converter, to store application data Windows 7: AppData\Local
Windows XP: Local Settings\Application Data
Games for Windows – LIVE Demos Folder Possibly created by Games For Windows – LIVE runtime. Empty folder. Even if it has a purpose, user must be prompted. Do not create if not needed
Windows 7: Downloads
Windows XP: My Documents\Downloads
Media Go Folder Created by Sony Media Go 2.0 to function as a “data folder”. Looks like an application data folder to me. Windows 7: AppData\Local
Windows XP: Local Settings\Application Data
Microsoft
Microsoft\IdentityCRL
Microsoft\IdentityCRL\production
Folder Empty folders! I do not know what are they and what created them  but this lack of knowledge is enough reason that it should not be here. Do not create
My Games\Reckoning Folder Created by Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning, a video game. Surprisingly, it only contained settings and shader caches. It did not contain saved games. (Maybe something was really wrong with the computer that I saw this folder on but I do not think so). Windows 7: AppData\Local
Windows XP: Local Settings\Application Data
My Digital Editions Folder Created by Adobe Digital Editions, the most irritating e-book reader in the world. Stores application data in this folder. Windows 7: AppData\Local
Windows XP: Local Settings\Application Data
My Shapes Folder Created by Microsoft Visio to store user’s stencils. Perhaps deserves being here, though Microsoft Visio never explicitly asks. N/A
OneNote Notebooks Folder Created by Microsoft OneNote. It deserves being here, though Microsoft OneNote never explicitly asks. N/A
Scanned Documents Folder Created by Windows Fax and Scan component of Windows 7. You cannot change its location. (Well, you can technically move or copy it like any other folder but Windows Fax and Scan recreates it on the next run.) Wherever the user wishes! He might wish to place them in Pictures folder or any other Library or non-Library places.
Starcraft II Folder Created by Starcraft II:Wings of Liberty. Contains saved games. Windows 7: Saved Games
Windows XP: Local Settings\Application Data
The KMPlayer Folder Created by KMPlayer to store application data. Windows 7: AppData\Roaming
Windows XP: Application Data
Visual Studio 2005 Folder Normally created by Visual Studio 2005 without ever prompting the user. However, in case of the computer on which I saw this folder, the creator must have been either Microsoft Office or Microsoft SQL Server Express. Ask user but recommend here. Do not create if not necessary. Some subfolders belong to Application Data.
Visual Studio 2008 Folder Created by Visual Studio 2008 without ever prompting the user. Ask user but recommend here. Do not create if not necessary. Some subfolders belong to Application Data
WebCam Media Folder Created by ArcSoft webcam software. Purpose still unknown. Possibly stores application data. Windows 7: AppData\Roaming
Windows XP: Application Data
ZPS12ZPS13ZPS14 Folder Created by Zoner Photo Studio to store application data. Full of cryptic files. Windows 7: AppData\Local
Windows XP: Local Settings\Application Data
Default.rdp File Remote Desktop Connection default user settings. Odd as it might be, I first found this file on a copy of Windows XP Home Edition. What does Remote Desktop Connection do on Home Edition? Application Data
Desktop.ini File A file that changes Windows Explorer’s behavior (Too controversial to recommend!)
Dragon Age 2 1.03.log File Junk file generated by Dragon Age II Do not create
Install Dragon Age 2.log File Junk file generated by Dragon Age II Do not create
683110fc
_windowsliveid@.sav
File Alien file! The name may not be exactly this, but it is always a number plus the name of user’s Windows Live ID. But if it is alien and unknown to user, it should not be there. Name suggests that it is created by a Microsoft product. Do not create without letting user know

Photographed and taped in act!

You think programs only dump in your Documents folder? You are wrong! Other folders likes Pictures and Videos are also subjects of this unholy intrusion, though not as seriously. The following is a list of alien files and folders I found in Pictures folder.

Item Type Description Proper location
Adobe\Other Photos Folder Possibly created by Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements or Adobe Bridge. I cannot be sure. Folder is empty. Do not create. (Empty folders are not appreciated.)
NVIDIA Corporation\3D Vision Experience\3D Vision preview pack 1 Folder Contains sample 3D stereoscopic images installed by NVIDIA Forceware (video driver) to exhibit 3D capabilities. Location is good, but the unnecessary folder hierarchy as well the fact that software dump a lot of junk on my computer makes me feel bad about this. See Description column

A plea to developers

Dear developers: Just as you have stopped polluting the planet, — or have you? — please stop polluting our computers too! Applications data and saved games must go into appropriate locations.

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Posted on 20 April 2012, in Software Development, Software Review, Windows Administration and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Default.rdp is created by the Remote Desktop Connection client for Windows 95 or later. (Obviously the server has to be Windows Terminal Server or Windows 2000 Server in Remote Administration mode or a suitable edition of Windows XP or later). Its location proved useful to me just the once where it automatically migrated my settings between two servers that had the Documents folder redirected to the same location (roaming profiles were not in use).

  1. Pingback: Windows 8.1 Preview: Hits and misses | Confidential Files!

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