Help, what happened to my favorites folder?
The Windows operating
system includes a Favorites folder for each user. It is used to store each
user's Desktop shortcuts, downloads, shortcuts to recent locations,
contacts, Internet Explorer favorites, and other personal settings.
If you have Windows Vista or Windows 7, the Favorites folder is located at C:\users\[user]\Favorites by default. If you have an earlier version of Windows, the default location for the Favorites folder is: C\Documents and Settings\[user]\Favorites.
Before taking any action, let's first make sure that you're looking in the proper location. For example, in Windows 7, the left pane of Windows Explorer is broken into several categories: Favorites, Libraries, Homegroup, Computer, and Network. Each of these categories can be expanded to reveal its contents. While the topmost category is labeled Favorites, if you expand it, you may only see a partial list such as Desktop, Downloads, and Recent Places. This particular folder of favorites is for local favorites on your computer, not the list of favorite websites you've marked in Internet Explorer. Ignore this folder and expand the Computer category. Click on your hard disk drive and navigate to Users > User Name > Favorites. If your Favorites folder is there, you will see all of its folders listed in the main pane.
If your Favorites folder is missing, where did it go? What happened? The Windows Favorites folder can disappear for any number of reasons including:
• You're signed on as a different user
• Accidental transfer to a different location
• Accidental deletion
• Removal by malware
• File corruption
• A registry error affecting the shell folders entry
Troubleshooting a missing Favorites folder involves some intuition. Start by making sure that you are signed on as yourself and not as another user. Once you confirm that you're logged in properly, think about other conditions that may have affected the computer. For instance, if you have small children that use your computer, it's not unusual for files and folders to randomly disappear and reappear in different locations. A few unintentional drags, drops, and mouse-clicks can wreak havoc on your system.
If this is the case, use Windows Search to find "favorites." In Windows Vista and Windows 7, simply click Start and enter "favorites" into the Search bar. Your missing Favorites folder should appear under Programs. Click its icon and you'll be taken to its new location in Windows Explorer. From there, you can drag and drop it to its original location.
If you suspect the Favorites folder was accidentally deleted, look inside the Recycle Bin and restore it if found. Malware such as viruses, spyware, and Trojans can make folders disappear as well. If your computer is sluggish or exhibiting other symptoms, run a complete antivirus/antispyware scan with the latest updates for your computer security program.
File corruption and registry errors can occur from unexpected shutdowns, power surges, malware, and other causes. If you have System Protection enabled on your computer, use System Restore to roll back your computer to an earlier state, preferably just before the Favorites folder disappeared.