Navigating to the Desktop folder on an old internal hard drive
April 22, 2014 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Put in my old internal hard-drive into my new set-up as a secondary drive. Can't figure out how to navigate to the Desktop folder through Windows Explorer.

So my old machine gave up the ghost about 2 months ago, and I finally got a new machine. I took out the HD on the old machine (it was fine, power source was blown). Installed it in the new machine, and it shows up just fine in Windows Explorer (not booting to it). Able to navigate through my Program Files, etc. folders and move things to the new HD.

For the life of me, I can't figure out how to navigate to my Desktop on the old HD. When I try going to Users->kuanes, it just sits there.

Where else can I navigate through Windows Explorer to my old Desktop where there are some important things I'd like to bring over to the new HD?

Old HD is connected to SATA within the machine.
posted by kuanes to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Should be c:windows:desktop. If you can't see it, change the settings to be able to view hidden and and system files.
posted by xingcat at 5:13 PM on April 22, 2014

looking at the properties of my desktop I see "C:\users\dabug\desktop"
posted by dabug at 5:17 PM on April 22, 2014

I dunno, but I would try taking ownership of that folder (the one named "kuanes"), per the procedure described here -- and then see what happens.
posted by alex1965 at 5:18 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another thing I might try is booting from a USB flash drive or a CD that contains Puppy Linux, and then seeing if you can access the files and folders under that "kuanes" folder.
posted by alex1965 at 5:24 PM on April 22, 2014

Alright, not exactly a "fix," but I was able to get to the Users folder, then search for a file I know existed, and then "Open File Location." Then I was able to navigate throughout my desktop. Still odd that it wouldn't open up my user profile.
posted by kuanes at 5:24 PM on April 22, 2014

Also, once I was able to navigate to a file on the "old" desktop, I was magically able to then click on my user profile. Strange things afoot.

Thanks for the suggestions.
posted by kuanes at 5:25 PM on April 22, 2014

If the old drive was set up for NTFS (drive file system), you could have some security headaches trying to access the files, so try accessing a few. If they work, wonderful. If not, then you may have to work on permissions on there. Even if you have the same username, there user of the old hard drive/windows install will not have the same low-level unique-identifiers as those on your new windows install.

In these cases, I don't like to fiddle with these things, so I usually just copy all the files away to a backup drive (preferably one with FAT32 or exFAT or some other filesystem that won't honor the NTFS permission structure), wipe the old drive, and then copy them back. There may be a better way to do this, but this way is simple.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:57 PM on April 22, 2014

Windows 7 and 8 store desktop files in C:\Users\[username]\Desktop by default. This can be changed by a knowledgeable user, but it's rare. Previous versions stored it under "Documents & Settings", or I think "User Accounts".

Some versions of Windows mark Desktop as System and/or Hidden. The option to make those files visible is likely under Control Panel > Folder Options > View. See if that helps you find the Desktop folder.
posted by JHarris at 3:13 AM on April 23, 2014

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