Managing files for local user accounts

Administrators can use home folders and the Documents folder to collect user files in one location. The location of user files in one place simplifies the backup process and makes access control management easier.

A home folder can be a local folder or a folder that is located on a shared resource. It can be assigned to a single user or to many users. When a home folder is assigned to a user, it becomes the user's default folder for the Open and Save As dialog boxes, command-prompt sessions, and all programs that do not have a defined working folder.

The Documents folder is an alternative for home folders, but it does not replace them. When a user tries to save or open a file, most programs determine whether to use the home folder or the Documents folder in one of two ways:

  • Some programs look first in the home folder for files that match the type of file that is to be opened or saved, for example, *.doc or *.txt. If a file with a matching extension is found, the program opens the home folder and ignores the Documents folder. If a file with a matching extension is not found, the program opens the Documents folder.

  • In other programs, the home folder is ignored, regardless of whether the home folder contains any files.

For more information about how to assign home folders, see Assign a home folder to a local user account.