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What is the best way to find a user's Documents folder on XP and Vista from a batch script? Is it safe to assume that it's %USERPROFILE%\Documents?

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8 Answers 8

A complete reference of environment variables can be found here, on the microsoft site, it can also be found in a registry key.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders
String value: Personal

In the event the My Documents folder is not in the standard location, pulling the information out the registry key is probably the most reliable way.

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Thanks! Here's the registry query command for this value: reg query "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders" /v "Personal" –  lajos May 21 '09 at 23:25

so my final version looks like this:

FOR /F "tokens=3 delims= " %%G IN ('REG QUERY "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders" /v "Personal"') DO (SET docsdir=%%G)

where the character between delims= and the following " is a single tab. Make sure your editor emits a tab and not spaces.

EDIT: On Windows 7 (and maybe all windows) you shouldn't specify delims= at all as it defaults to which is the whitespace used inbetween the tokens and not just a tab.

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Removing the delims= works for me on Windows 8 –  Andrew Arnott Oct 30 '14 at 16:48

not safe for xp, there it is my documents and it is localizable.

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That'll be the place that the system knows about (although it's My Documents in XP), however you'll have to judge for yourself whether or not that's a safe assumption for your environment. If you use My Documents redirection, though, that variable should be set to whatever you redirect to with the default set to c:\documents and settings[username] in XP or c:\users[username] in Vista.

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@squillman: I need to work on my typing speed! You smoked me on this answer! lol –  JFV May 21 '09 at 19:15
Proof that time spent in chat rooms during college was worth it... :) –  squillman May 21 '09 at 19:16

In Vista it's %UserProfile%\Documents, but in WinXP it's %UserProfile%\My Documents.

That's the only difference between the 2 different OS's. And don't forget that the Videos, Music, and Photos are under C:\Users[username] in Vista too.


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Windows XP names it 'My Documents' and Vista names it 'Documents'. You might put in a script to determine which OS you are running.

@echo off
    echo Windows XP
) ELSE (
    echo Vista
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It's only "My Documents" etc on english windows. If you're using another language the pathname is "translated" (except on Vista)

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:getuserdoc folder from registry

set idkey="HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders"

call:fetchvalue errorlevelvariable %idkey% Personal


errorlevel is set if fail


set /a %1=0

REG query %2 /v %3

if ERRORLEVEL 1 (set /a %1=1&goto :eof)

FOR /F "tokens=3* skip=2 delims= " %%A IN ('REG QUERY %2 /v %3') DO SET %3="%%A"


EDIT Use Button GETSource as this wenpage cant display answer characters are removed!

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This looks like you want it to be a script? Please read our markdown editing/formatting guide and fix up your formatting. You may also want to add some description of what your script does and when/why you should/shouldn't use it. –  voretaq7 Dec 16 '12 at 18:40

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