Talk:Finding the profile folder on Windows

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The point of this article

I'm not sure I see the point of this article as it is currently. If it's meant to be a hand-holding way to get Windows users to their profile folder, there are too many options and technical terms. If not, I don't see how it differs from the current profile folder application-specific articles with the exception of the screenshots.--Np 14:38, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

We can link to this article when we want to give Windows users details on finding the profile folder or searching for hidden files and folders when an application-specific article doesn't exist (Sunbird) or isn't appropriate, for example, the bookmarks article. Adding screenshots was an afterthought. Alice 21:09, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
If this is for applications that don't have their own application-specific articles, why are there sections on Firefox, Thunderbird, and SeaMonkey? People reading Bookmarks are going to be on Firefox, maybe SeaMonkey. I think we can assume that anyone who's not on one of those two will be able to deal with whatever generic information we put in Profile folder.--Np 21:23, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Np. Tanstaafl 21:42, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
I wanted to be able to link directly to the information, as I did in the bookmarks article. Alice 22:14, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't really see the need to link specifically to a Windows-only article from there. If you still see the need, couldn't you just link to the Windows sections of the SeaMonkey and Firefox profile folder articles separately? Alternately, you could write an article that only covers "being able to see the profile folder on Windows" and link to that, and we could even link to that from the app-specific profile folder articles--Np 23:29, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
couldn't you just link to the Windows sections of the SeaMonkey and Firefox profile folder articles separately? You mean two separate links ? Why, when I can link to a single article, which also includes screenshots for those that need extra help? Alternately, you could write an article that only covers "being able to see the profile folder on Windows" I don't understand what you mean. Do you want me to remove the tables? I could cut them down and only give examples for Windows XP and Vista for SeaMonkey or Thinderbird, for example. How does that sound? I can't get to it today since I'm getting offline for the night, 00:18, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
You'd want to link to the two articles so we wouldn't have to duplicate the information in both application-specific articles and OS-specific articles. We've decided on making these articles application-specific, with the possibility of having "super-easy" articles that are both application-specific and OS-specific for the common setups. This is neither. Placing two links would simply mean that users would have to branch right then and there rather than wherever it is in this article you'll have to tell them the difference between the "Mozilla/Profiles" folder and the "Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles" folder. My preference would be to simply link to Profile folder and let them branch in that article. Whatever "extra help" you want to provide to users can be considered for the application-specific articles.--Np 03:19, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
You did a nice job of adding screen shots but it still doesn't qualify as a super-easy article IMHO. I suggest we kill this article and reuse your screen shots in the application specific articles. I've added them to the one for Thunderbird. Tanstaafl 09:31, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Another option is to keep this article and remove the duplicated information from the app-specific articles. Do we really need three application-specific articles with detailed instructions for Windows users on how to use %APPDATA% and unhide or search hidden files and folders? IIf we eliminated much of that detail we could keep the application articles as basically reference for profile folder location and content. If you both want to kill this article, that's OK too. I could always create a "General concepts" article for Windows users, maybe add more detail about finding the profile folder in combined articles or possibly add a bit more detail to the profile folder article to help users of other applications such as Sunbird or Nvu. Alice 21:41, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
We don't have detailed instructions on how to use APPDATA and how to find hidden folders. We have the minimum amount of instructions needed to do each of those things. I'd be fine with removing the "Other methods of finding the profile" section of the Firefox article and linking to a general "Finding hidden folders" article instead.--Np 18:32, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
I meant "detailed instructions" in the sense that we are explaining how to use %APPDATA%, how to show hidden files and folders via Folder Options and how to enable the Windows Search feature for hidden files and folders in WinXP/Vista, with all these methods duplicated in three app-specific articles. I've created a File search heading in the Firefox article and linked it to this article. I've also cut down on the tables in this article, limiting it to Win2000 and later, and I added more examples for Nvu and Sunbird. Alice 19:29, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
"How to use APPDATA" is three short steps and one app-specific step. I'd prefer to give users the fours steps up front instead of saying "read this article for the first three steps, then come back here for the fourth" or "read this article and branch again by which application you're using. It's slight duplication, but it makes things much easier for users.--Np 16:00, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
OK, I can see how it makes sense to leave the %APPDATA% instructions in the app-specific articles. Related to that, I asked Daifne to review this article from a Vista user's point of view and she says it looks fine, technically speaking. Alice 10:25, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Oh, by the way, if you notice in this article, I suggested enabling the Run box for Windows Vista or using "windows key +R" to open it, to enter %APPDATA% (was thinking of doing that also in the SeaMonkey article but haven't, as yet). The screenshot you used under Vista in the Thunderbird article (for Start -> Start Search to enter %APPDATA%) is the Windows XP search tool. which is totally wrong. If you want a screenshot of the Start -> Start Search box, it's the second screenshot here. It's referenced in this article. I wish someone in the KB could upload a screenshot for Vista. I've been working from this reference for Vista Search (also referenced). Alice 22:10, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll update the Thunderbird article to mimic a lot of your recent changes, but I think I might ignore the "Windows XP and Vista Search" section. One reason is that many XP users don't have a start -> search command, but the main reason is I think its not clear its worthwhile to document multiple ways to do the same thing for something done so infrequently. Tanstaafl 22:59, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
You're welcome. You say that ... many XP users don't have a start -> search command .... ? A quick search came up with this and this so, if Search is missing from the XP Start menu, it's likely a Start Menu customization that needs to be reset or, in rare cases, a policy that has been set to remove Search from the Start Menu and disable some Windows Explorer search elements (ref). I guess I could add that the user can use "Windows key + F" but I don't like to complicate matters if Seach is on the Start menu by default. Alice 23:42, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
I believe we should document how to do something using generic functionality that isn't effected by common customizations and applies to as many operating systems as possible unless there is a good reason to document native idioms or multiple ways of doing it, while your comment about it needs to be reset implies that type of customization should be treated as a user error. Tanstaafl 10:16, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Using %APPDATA% on Vista

I PM'ed Daifne since I know she has Vista and I asked her what happens when you type %APPDATA% in the Run or Start Search box. According to it opens the AppData\Roaming folder, not the AppData folder. Daifne answered,

Typing %APPDATA% into the Start Search box brings Roaming up on the menu. It doesn't open it, but it's there for you to click on. In the Run box, it opens the AppData\Roaming folder.

......... So, I've fixed this article and the SeaMonkey article. Alice 00:40, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Vista Start Search screenshot

I found some Windows Vista screenshots at and uploaded Image:VistaStartMenu.png to show what the Vista "Start Search" box looks like: Image:VistaStartMenu.png

I'm no longer including 'Start Search" as a method for opening %Appdata% on Vista since it isn't the best method, based on Daifne's feedback. Users can still find that method mentioned in the reference link I added to this article, plus it's also the method given in the Firefox and Thunderbird profile folder articles. I did add the above image to the Profile folder - Thunderbird article (in place of WinXP Search.png) under the "Vista" heading, and I also corrected the instructions. The Firefox article also needs fixing but I'll leave that up to np. There's also a screenshot of what the "Start Search" results look like here so it looks like the "Start Search" results doesn't open a Windows Explorer window at all but instead lists the search results ("Roaming" folder) like Daifne said. Alice 02:13, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Read-only files

This section seems more appropriate for a "profile folder" article or a issue article than a "finding the profile folder on windows" article. i.e. its off topic. I suggest it be removed. I modified the files section in to mention none of the files should be read-only. Tanstaafl 10:16, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree witb tanstaafl. I'm removing the "Read-only files" section. I'll also modify the files section in the Profile folder - SeaMonkey article to mention that none of the files should be read-only or locked ("locked" is the term on MacOS). Alice 11:08, 26 June 2007 (UTC)