Profiles Directory

The system stores user profile information in a specific directory, which has different names in different versions of Windows: "Documents and Settings" in Windows XP and "Users" in Windows Vista and later. To obtain the path of the profiles directory, use the GetProfilesDirectory function.

The profiles directory contains the following subdirectories for user profiles.

DirectoryDescription
ProgramData (Windows Vista or later)/All UsersProgram information that applies to all users. The All Users directory still exists in Windows Vista or later, for backward compatibility.
DefaultProfile information that applies to the default user.
UserProfile information that applies to the specified user. Each user has their own profile subdirectory.

 

To obtain the location of the ProgramData/All Users directory, call the GetAllUsersProfileDirectory function. This directory contains the following subdirectories:

DirectoryDescription
DesktopShortcuts to display on the desktop.
Start MenuMenu items for the Start menu.

 

To obtain the location of the default user's directory, call the GetDefaultUserProfileDirectory function. To obtain the location of a particular user's directory, call the GetUserProfileDirectory function. Both the default user and specific user directories contain the following subdirectories. Directories in italics indicate directories that are hidden by default. You can view these directories by selecting the Show hidden files, folders, and drives option in the Folder Options control panel item.

DirectoryDescription
Application DataApplication-specific data.
CookiesWindows Internet Explorer cookies.
DesktopShortcuts to display on the desktop.
FavoritesLinks to favorite websites.
Local SettingsApplication settings and data that do not roam with the profile. Usually the settings or data in this directory are computer-specific, or they are too large to roam effectively. This directory contains the following subfolders:
  • Application Data
  • History
  • Temp
  • Temporary Internet Files
My DocumentsThe default location for documents that the user creates. Applications should save document files to this directory by default.
NetHoodShortcuts to Network Neighborhood items.
PrintHoodShortcuts to printer folder items.
RecentShortcuts to the most recently used documents.
SendToShortcuts to locations to which the user often sends files.
Start MenuMenu items for the Start menu.
TemplatesShortcuts to template items.

 

To obtain the location of subdirectories of these directories, use the SHGetFolderPath or SHGetKnownFolderPath functions.

 

 

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