General Move or Restore Default Location of Desktop Folder in Windows 11


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Desktop_folder_banner.png

The Desktop folder (shell:Desktop) is a component of the user profile that is used as a unified location for storing personal data. By default, the Desktop folder is a shell folder in the user's profile (%UserProfile%) that is used as a default storage location items on your desktop.

The desktop (Win+D) is your home screen and working space in Windows that contains the taskbar and any icons (ex: shortcuts, files, folders, etc...) you add to and arrange on the desktop.

If you like, you can move the Desktop folder and its content to a location you want it at instead.

If the current Desktop folder path is incorrect or is no longer available, you can use the Restore Default option to restore the default path.

This tutorial will show you how to move or restore the default location of the Desktop folder for your account in Windows 11.


Contents

  • Option One: Move Location of Desktop Folder in Properties
  • Option Two: Restore Default Location of Desktop Folder in Properties
  • Option Three: Restore Default Location of Desktop Folder using BAT file




Option One

Move Location of Desktop Folder in Properties


1 If you turned on back up Desktop folder to OneDrive, then you will need to temporarily turn off back up Desktop folder to OneDrive until after you moved the Desktop folder.

2 Open File Explorer (Win+E).

3 Navigate to the location (ex: "D") you want to move your Desktop folder to, and create a new folder named Desktop at this location. (see screenshot below)

Move_Desktop_folder-1.png

4 Right click on the Desktop folder in the navigation pane of File Explorer, and click/tap on Properties. (see screenshot below)

If you don't see the Desktop folder in the navigation pane, then type shell:Desktop into the address bar of File Explorer, and press Enter to open the Desktop folder no matter where it may be located.

You can then right click or press and hold on an empty area in the opened Desktop folder, and click/tap on Properties.


Move_Desktop_folder-2.png

5 Click/tap on the Location tab, and click/tap on the Move button. (see screenshot below)

Move_Desktop_folder-3.png

6 Navigate to and select the new Desktop folder from step 3, and click/tap on Select Folder. (see screenshot below)

Move_Desktop_folder-4.png

7 Click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

Move_Desktop_folder-5.png

8 Click/tap on Yes to move all the files from the old location to the new location. (see screenshot below)

Move_Desktop_folder-6.png




Option Two

Restore Default Location of Desktop Folder in Properties


1 If you turned on back up Desktop folder to OneDrive, then you will need to temporarily turn off back up Desktop folder to OneDrive until after you restored the default location of the Desktop folder.

2 Open File Explorer (Win+E).

3 Right click on the Desktop folder in the navigation pane of File Explorer, and click/tap on Properties. (see screenshot below)

If you don't see the Desktop folder in the navigation pane, then type shell:Desktop into the address bar of File Explorer, and press Enter to open the Desktop folder no matter where it may be located.

You can then right click or press and hold on an empty area in the opened Desktop folder, and click/tap on Properties.


Move_Desktop_folder-2.png

4 Click/tap on the Location tab, and click/tap on the Restore Default button. (see screenshot below)

Restore_Desktop_folder-2.png

5 Click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

Restore_Desktop_folder-3.png

6 If prompted to create a Desktop folder at the default location, click/tap on Yes. (see screenshot below)

Restore_Desktop_folder-4.png

7 Click/tap on Yes to move all the files from the old location to the default location. (see screenshot below)

Restore_Desktop_folder-5.png




Option Three

Restore Default Location of Desktop Folder using BAT file


This option can be very useful if Option Two is not available.

This option will not move the contents of the Desktop folder from the old location to the default location. You will need to manually move the contents after restoring the default location if wanted.


1 If you turned on back up Desktop folder to OneDrive, then you will need to temporarily turn off back up Desktop folder to OneDrive until after you restored the default location of the Desktop folder.

2 Click/tap on the download button below to download the Restore_default_location_of_Desktop_folder.bat file.


(Contents of BAT file for reference)
Code:
@echo off

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

timeout /t 2 /nobreak >nul

if not exist "%UserProfile%\Desktop" mkdir "%UserProfile%\Desktop"

reg add "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders" /v "Desktop" /t REG_SZ /d "C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Desktop" /f

reg add "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders" /v "Desktop" /t REG_EXPAND_SZ /d %%USERPROFILE%%"\Desktop" /f

attrib +r -s -h "%USERPROFILE%\Desktop" /S /D

timeout /t 1 /nobreak >nul

start explorer.exe

3 Save the BAT file to your desktop.

4 Unblock and run the BAT file.

5 You will now see a command prompt open and close to kill the explorer process, run the commands to restore the default location and attributes of the Desktop folder, and restart the explorer process.

6 You can now delete the BAT file if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

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  • Restore_default_location_of_Desktop_folder.bat
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