Shell Folders

Shell Folders

In Windows, each user account has associated personal folders, typically known as My Documents, My Music and so on. The Windows shell records each user's personal folders, in the following registry keys.

  HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\
     . . . User Shell Folders
     . . . Shell Folders

This key contains several registry values, each identifies a specific personal folder, and contains its absolute folder path. Most registry values in this key are named the same as the "friendly" name of the folder: Desktop, Favorites, My Music, and so on.

However, in some cases, the registry value differs:

  • Personal stands for the My Documents folder.
  • AppData stands for the primary Application Data folder.
  • Local AppData stands for the secondary Application Data folder, located below the Local Settings folder.

Please see the registry key noted above for a complete list of possible folder names.

For example, for the user joe, the registry value Personal (which identifies the My Documents folder), may specify:

  C:\Documents and Settings\joe\My Documents

Configuration settings in Sandboxie that specify folder paths generally accept references to registry values in the Shell Folders key. This is more useful than specifying explicit folder locations. For example:

  [DefaultBox]
  RecoverFolder=%Desktop%

Indicates that Quick Recovery should look for sandboxed items in the desktop folder of whichever user is making the request.

Open Source sandbox-based isolation software