Help! Files banshied to the shadow realm?

So I was trying to move the microsoft folders to another drive. Pictures/Videos/Documents/etc

It was successful for the Videos folder but the Pictures and Documents folder gave an error. So I thought I was clever and entered Regedit and manually modified the folder paths under Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Restarted my computer and now the files are all gone. Even though it appears my harddrive space is the same?

I quickly restored the folders to defaut but nothing. I noticed all the files were backed up to a folder called OneDrive - Personal which I don’t really used. So I manually moved the files back, but to the other drive, but now it seems I am taking up double the harddrive space. The drive where the files use to be still shows the same harddrive space usage as if the files are still there. (It is about 20 GBs worth)

Anyone know what the deal is here?

No expert, but I suspect editing the register didn’t do anything but change where the computer thinks that folder is. Could it be those files are now “detached” as it were from the file system?

Try a system restore?

Do you have “Hidden files and folders” and “System files” visible (in the view settings in windows explorer)?

Yeah, I have hidden files turned on.

The regedit didn’t actually move the files to the location I specified, but it did remove them from the default location.


I don’t think editing the registry would move any files. It is just a reference to where the folder is in the system structure. So the files are where they have always been, but the folder you see now is the one you “linked” in the registry but won’t have anything because the path in the registry is wrong. The files have a different one attached to them. Not an expert, but as others said, a system restore from before that action may be the only way to get your files back.

Try running WinDirStat, an outstanding program if you have not yet been introduced to it - it will categorize and display all files/folders (nothing can hide from it) on your drive, and then poking around within it’s results?

Something else worth trying: right click on Documents and in the Location tab, see what it’s current set to, see if that leads to your files. Try the “Restore Default” button?

I love WinDirStat but I seem to recall Game Pass installs, like Sea of Thieves, being invisible to it. The space might have been factored into ‘Unknown’ but it wasn’t visible or findable in the visualisation.

I think that data is encrypted and only readable by the app or something like that. It will show up as a single file with a huge size, iirc. Everything also shows every file if you’re looking for it

Yup, this is what I was trying to say

I seem to recall Game Pass games hiding from Everything Search as well! Crazy. Anyway, I’ll stop clogging this topic up…

Thanks for the all the help lads. I’ll take a look again tomorrow. Try to suss out the hidden files. It’s a peculiar case, caused by my own tinkering.

If anyone wants to go more heavier duty than WinDirStat, WizTree runs faster with multi-TB drives.

Yes. the obfuscated file system of UWP games and apps from GamePass need to be booted into using WinPE/RE to delete.

It’s taken me all day to notice that the topic has the files “banshied”.

Mind the leather work.

The doubled space is most likely because you have them stored in the place you manually put them, plus they’re still cached locally by Onedrive.

The error that was thrown during your first attempt might have left file tables in an inconsistent state. Have you tried chkdsk?