Why does a Windows 7 library's default save location depend on how it is accessed?
November 2, 2010 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Why does a Windows 7 library's default save location depend on how it is accessed?

I'm setting up sharing on a small home network; I have a desktop running as a server and a laptop for surfing, both running Windows 7 Ultimate x64 edition. The missus and I each have accounts on both machines with the same usernames on each. I created a HomeGroup, and turned on sharing for all libraries for all users. The libraries are all in their default states.

My annoyance is that, when "joe" is logged into "foohost", then his local Documents library contains

   C:\Users\joe\Documents (default save location)

which is fine; but if "joe" on "foohost" tries to access the Documents library of "jane" on "foohost", or any user on "barhost", that library will have the "Public" folder set as the default save location, and the controls to change the default save location are grayed out:

   C:\Users\Public\Documents (default save location)

This stinks for when "jane" on the laptop wants to copy something down to her library on the server; it'll go into the Public folder rather than her personal one. I've hunted high and low and come up dry; nobody's even discussing this as far as I can tell.
posted by Rat Spatula to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
You need to add Joe and Jane to have Read and *write* (full control" permissions to each other's libraries.

I'm pretty sure that by default that sharing is read-only, so Jane can't delete or add documents into Joe's personal folder without some tweaking.
posted by tiamat at 5:04 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks. I actually did try that; I logged into Joe's account on the server, right clicked on his My Documents folder and selected "Share with → Homegroup (Read/Write)". The result was that the laptop now displayed both Joe's "Documents" library and "My Documents" folder; but the default-save order on the "Documents" library was unchanged.

(Following this, I tried un-sharing the "Documents" library on the server (so that users on the laptop wouldn't get confused by seeing both things), but of course that hides the shared "My Documents" folder as well. And now I can't figure out how to get the "My Documents" folder back to its original state; I can only Share or Not Share, so now it always appears separately on the laptop whenever I have the Documents library shared. I guess I could just get rid of the Libraries entirely... bah...)
posted by Rat Spatula at 6:43 AM on November 3, 2010

Response by poster: Well, I still don't know what the right way to do this is; but after deleting my libraries and performing Restore default libraries*, I got a wild hair and created a new custom library called LOLBUTTS, with the same folders and default save location as the Documents library. Lo and behold, it behaves the way I want (the default save location doesn't change depending on how it's accessed).

So, I tracked down the library descriptions. They're stored in


as XML-based files with a .library-ms extension. I pulled up LOLBUTTS and Documents side-by-side in a diff program, and found that the block in Documents that described the Public Documents folder has a special element:


Next step will be to restore everyone's libraries to default, and then manually remove that line from all the library description files.

(* - Restoring default libraries fixes up the bugaboo I described in the previous comment, where both the Documents library and My Documents folder appear to be shared)
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:12 PM on November 4, 2010

Response by poster: I guess I marked this as 'resolved', but that was an accident.

My big idea of removing the <isDefaultNonOwnerSaveLocation> element did not work well; it did indeed change the apparent default save location for non-owners, but when non-owners would try to save there (i.e. when laptop\jane tried to save to the Documents library of server\jane, they'd get a permission error.

It finally dawned on my slow brain that the trouble is that neither system knows that laptop\joe and server\joe are the same user; it's not like I have a real domain set up.

For now, I've just Restored default libraries and right-clicked on all of them and done Share with → Homegroup (Read/Write). So, Joe and Jane can write to each others' folders, but that's okay for us; Joe and Jane trust each other, it's just a matter of keeping separate desktop wallpaper.

While studying, I did finally come across this this business about linking online IDs, where you give Windows a mapping from a local user ID to an online ID from a "supported provider" (naturally the only such is Windows Live). It seems like it might work for what I want, although I bet something ill happens when my Internet connection goes down.
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:36 AM on December 6, 2010

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