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Windows special folders short names (%something%)

I always forget some of those ones, so let’s have a recap of short names for Windows folders, and the full path they point to (in Windows 7, although 8 or 10 shouldn’t be much different, or probably exactly the same). Note that all those short names are NOT case-sensitive. Also, apparently the official name of those %ShortNames% is “Windows Environment Commands”.

  • %HomeDrive% => C:\ (NB: all the full paths I give here assume Windows is installed on C:\)
  • %AllUsersProfile% => C:\ProgramData
  • %AppData% => C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming
  • %HomeDrive% => C:\Users\[username] (NB: accessing this folder by using the short name will actually NOT show you the full path)
  • %Temp% => C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Temp (NB: can be different if you moved the temporary folder, obviously – but who does that?)
  • %SystemRoot% => C:\Windows

%AppData% is supposed to be the folder where most programs put their user data. For instance, that’s where you can hope to find your saved games (also some are located in “%userprofile%\Documents\My Games), or your browser settings. However, it seems that as many or more programs use the C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local folder instead. Some, rarer, use the C:\Users\[username]\AppData\LocalLow folder. All in all, just go to C:\Users\[username]\AppData and then try the various subfolders there.
Some programs store stuff both in Local and Roaming, notably Firefox and its forks: Roaming contains the settings, Local contains the disk cache.

See also: a list of run commands / common program names

If you know more of those pretty convenient shortcuts, please post them in the comments and I’ll add them!

Posted in Windows.


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