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Old 30-06-18, 13:09
Stonehenge Stonehenge is offline
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Default File Explorer - very confused

I have just bought a reconditioned computer, with windows 10 pro, and I'm really confused with where my files are in File Explorer.

My previous computer hsd a bad crash so I transferred my folders and files over from my back up HDD via EaseToDo.
When I click on the File Explorer icon on my desktop, I have a Documents file under OneDrive (I have collapsed this so it's no longer viewable) and also under This PC. I assumed this was my main Documents file. (It also has downloads, music, pictures folders etc).
However, after doing some work and saving the files, I then couldn't find them. They weren't in either Documents folder. By searching the Start search bar, I eventually found them in a Documents folder under "user".
"User" also has another Documents folder in it (which had the old files in it, but not the new ones) plus Music, downloads etc.
I have OneDrive set up, but it's only copying the "My PC" files, not the "User" ones, and neither is the EAseToDo back up I've set up on my HDD.
I'm the only person who uses my computer.

I just want one place to find all my documents etc. that is easily navigable to, and that automatically backs up to my systems. I'm loathe to delete anything in case I lose the lot, as I don't know what I'm doing!
Many thanks for any help.
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  #2  
Old 30-06-18, 14:50
roy5051uk roy5051uk is offline
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Default Re: File Explorer - very confused

OneDrive has always confused me, whether it is syncing or not, so I decided long ago not to use it; it is no better in Win 10 than it was in Win 7.

My advice would be to uninstall it if you can (probably not in Win 10) and/or totally ignore it. Stick to EaseToDo if you have to.

Personally, I don't like backup programs that do total, incremental or new files, as these also confuse me if I have to recover anything from them.

I use SyncToy, a Microsoft program together with an external hard drive. This program enables you to "Echo" what is on your main drive very easily, and is very straightforward to use.

File Explorer is what used to be called Windows Explorer in all previous editions of Windows, and I can never understand why Microsoft changed the name (all change is not necessarily good, and if in ain't broke don't fix it comes to mind!).

First thing to do when you open File Explorer is to get rid of all the folders shown under Quick Access (it just confuses things), though I do leave Downloads there.

Then click on View followed by Navigation Pane and put ticks against Navigation Pane and Show Libraries in the drop-down Menu.

You should then see, in order down the left hand side of the screen:-

Quick Access
Downloads

One Drive

ThisPC
3D objects
Desktop
Documents
Downloads
Music
Pictures
Videos
Local Disk(C)

Libraries
Documents
Music
Pictures
Videos

Network

The Libraries are copies of files stored in the User File under the same names. This is exactly the same as in previous versions of Windows. You can read and write files from and to Libraries and whatever you add or delete will be replicated in the User files. And Vice Versa.

If you must use OneDrive, the theory is that anything you change or add/delete from the Libraries or User Files is replicated in the OneDrive file and synced to the cloud, but I have reservations over whether this actually works; I certainly had problems with it in Windows 7 so I have never used it in Windows 10 (once bitten twice shy). It may be that I just don't understand how it works, so it could just be me - I like to see how these things work, and if that causes me problems, I just don't use them.
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  #3  
Old 30-06-18, 15:54
pete.i pete.i is offline
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Default Re: File Explorer - very confused

Agree with the above. One drive is a Microsoft cloud storage facility and like all cloud storage is stupidly confusing, probably not big enough without paying and is on someone elses computers (servers). I back all my stuff up to my own external hard drives that are not permanently connected to my main computer. I never back up my whole drive as I do not know what is hidden there waiting to be awakened. I only back up my personal files and if I have a problem I would re-install everything the long way.
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  #4  
Old 30-06-18, 18:57
Stonehenge Stonehenge is offline
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Default Re: File Explorer - very confused

Thank you - it's good to know I'm not alone in my confusion!
I have now put Libraries in my File Explorer view, (and will check out SyncToy later, thank you) but I'm still in a muddle.
The "Documents" in Libraries is, as you say, a mirror image of the This PC one, and isn't the "user" one, which has my correct files in. I can only access that by the drop down menu (see Screenshot).
I could just delete the "user" one, and put it all in the Libraries one, but when I tried deleting an item from a Libraries file, it said "deleting an online file permanently removes it from your PC without sending it to the recycle bin", so it's clearly not saving it to my hard drive?
I'm loathe and a bit nervous of uninstalling OneDrive unless I really have to (even if it's possible, looks complicated) as I don't want to lose stuff.
"User" seems to be the only place where my documents are as they should be - some files are missing in the other versions of Documents.
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  #5  
Old 30-06-18, 21:26
roy5051uk roy5051uk is offline
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Default Re: File Explorer - very confused

I tend to ignore the Documents, Music, Pictures, etc that appear under ThisPC, I really don't know what they are doing there.

The folders under User (not the user you show), but under Local Disk(C)>Users>YourName>Documents etc should mirror the ones in the Libraries. If they don't, I don't know why. Perhaps you have saved some files in the ThisPC>Documents, when you should really have saved them in Disk(C)>Users>YourName>etc?

What I suggest you do is backup (i.e. COPY) all your Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos on to an external drive, then delete the content of those folders from C:>Users>YourName>etc and check whether all the data is gone from the Libraries and the Folders under ThisPC. I have just done this on my spare Win 10 PC and all three versions of the folders were empty.

Then, restore all your files to the folders listed under Local Disk (C)>Users>YourName> etc. The contents of all three Documents, Pictures, etc should show the same data. I have also done this on my spare PC and they are identical.

You could try it with, say, the Documents folder to start with, to prove my method, then do the others once you are satisfied it works.

In future, DO NOT load or save anything from the Documents etc folders shown under ThisPC; only use either the Library folder or the folder listed in C>Users>YourName. Don't ask me why, I just think it is safer to ignore the Documents etc folders shown under ThisPC. As I said above, I really do not know why they are there, as they should just be duplicates of the Library folders.

Try it and let me know how you get on.
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  #6  
Old 01-07-18, 16:39
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volts volts is offline
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Default Re: File Explorer - very confused

I concur with roy5051uk advice



I'd be inclined to right click each folder under This PC and click Properties to see where these are pointing too. They and the Libraries should mirror your User Folder so should point to C:\Users\user\Documents.


I Notice you said its a reconditioned laptop. I'm always wary of these and always do a wipe and reset myself to be completely sure nothing from previous users is left
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  #7  
Old 02-07-18, 15:20
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DavidNewton DavidNewton is offline
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Default Re: File Explorer - very confused

As has been said OneDrive provides storage space on Microsoft servers. In addition you should have a OneDrive folder on your PC and anything you drop or save into that folder (or one of it's subfolders) will be synchronised with the online Storage space. If you prefer to keep copies of your files on your computer as well as online then you can choose within OneDrive settings which folders will be copied into your local folder. If you use more than one computer then installing the OneDrive app on each one allows you to share the files across the computers (I am not sure, but doubt that simultaneous editing is possible, but I haven't tried it) The settings to look out for are the Auto-save settings where you can choose to keep your Desktop, Documents and Pictures either or OneDrive or on ThisPC. If you choose OneDrive, for Documents say, then the Documents folder on ThisPC becomes a mirror of OneDrive documents and hence is regarded as an online folder.

Libraries are mentioned in several posts. I should point out that these are not simply copies of the ThisPC folders. They are significantly more useful and I am astonished that Microsoft with Windows 10 is making it harder to use them. For example if you have several folders with documents that you want to access, like the OP, then right click a folder and choose the option - include in a library (with a list of choices) and then that folder will become part of a library and can be accessed via that library.

Microsoft provides little control over the list of folders under ThisPC and if you wish to make chages you are probably best using a utility such as ThisPC Tweaker or similar.

David
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  #8  
Old 02-07-18, 15:31
Cantrel Cantrel is offline
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Default Re: File Explorer - very confused

@ David - Perhaps you should pass on that suggestion to MS.

I don't use OneDrive - just the old fashioned Docs folder which is backed up to an USB Flash drive as well as system images.
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  #9  
Old 02-07-18, 15:49
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DavidNewton DavidNewton is offline
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Default Re: File Explorer - very confused

I am paranoid about backups ever since I made a mistake in the settings of an automatic sync program and lost all my home video files - I was not popular for some time after that. I also have local backups and even a mirrored pair of drives in a software RAID (Windows Storage space) to protect against drive failure but, unless you have two physical locations, you are vulnerable to a burglar taking all your equipment. So I do use OneDrive and also Office365 which gives me 1Tb of space. I wish I didn't have to pay but the alternative is worse.

David
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  #10  
Old 03-07-18, 17:33
Stonehenge Stonehenge is offline
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Default Re: File Explorer - very confused

Thanks to roy5051uk and volts, I am getting somewhere.


Having checked where the folders were pointing to, they were pointing to OneDrive, which explained much of the issue. I have done as roy5051uk suggested (with Documents folders only so far) and then made sure ThisPC was pointing to the correct place, and now all the Documents folders match and are complete, amd my EaseToDo HDD back up is picking up the correct Documents file, too.



Except....the OneDrive Documents file is still the old incorrect Documents file. I've tried deleting it from OneDrive, but after the computer restarted, it was back. I've tried going to OneDrive online, and downloading folders, but even when I navigate to C:\Users\user\Documents, its an old incorrect version! (This makes no sense to me, as that was the only version that was correct before). Whichever version of Documents I navigate to via OneDrive, it's an incorrect version. Like DavidNewton (thank you), after a bad crash and nearly losing everything, I'd like to keep OneDrive if I can as well as my HDD backup. I've tried to look at uninstalling OneDrive, in the hope that reinstalling would make it link to the correct folders, but it looks like it keeps it all saved online anyway, so even if I could do it, that wouldn't work?

Any more advice very gratefully received, and thanks so much for help do far.
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