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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited) Apps
If you're an Office user, you've probably got a Microsoft User Data folder in your user's Documents folder. Personally, I dislike this, and had used this older hint to make it invisible.

Yesterday, while catching up on numerous RSS feeds, I stumbled across this entry on the blog of Panic's Steven Frank, which offers an alternative solution. In a nutshell, to get the Microsoft User Data folder out of your Documents folder, just move it to your user's Library/Preferences folder. Do this while Office isn't running, and the next time you launch an Office app, the folder will stay right where you put it.

When I checked the original hint, this method is noted in the comments, but way down at the bottom, so I figured it was worth sharing again in a more obvious fashion.
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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited) | 20 comments | Create New Account
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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: saywake on Feb 28, '06 07:49:32AM
Well, I'm curious enough to ask ... why wouldn't you want the Microsoft User data stored in the Documents folder? Since this is where (among other things) the entourage mail database is kept, wouldn't you want it backed up just the same as other documents?

Yes, I know that you can also backup prefs, etc., but this really is user data in the purest sense, i think.

Just interested in your perspective on this.

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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: mwncimelyn on Feb 28, '06 07:53:48AM

In my opinion, my Documents folder is for Documents that I specificly put there. The Microsoft User Data is data for an application (just like my Mail.app mailboxes) that should be stored in Application Support or other such place in my Library folder.

I think Apple has published guidelines for developers about where support files should be placed, guidelines that Microsoft seem to ignore.



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: pub3abn on Feb 28, '06 08:29:03AM

The ~/Library/Application Support folder would be the most logical place. So many programs have hijacked the Documents folder that it has become almost useless to me. All of the data folders added by applications (on my system) would be better off in the Application Support folder. The good news is that many developers are storing such data in the right place. On my system, the ratio of programs that store application-centric data in the Application Support folder versus the Documents folder is 68:9 — very good, but not quite satisfactory. Besides Microsoft, another notable offender is Adobe (although it straddles the fence, with data files in both places).



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: pub3abn on Feb 28, '06 08:30:43AM

The phrase "ratio of programs that store" should have been "ratio of folders that contain" ... just to be precise.



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MSN Messenger
Authored by: jdv on Feb 28, '06 07:55:31AM

Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to work with MSN Messenger...



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: mwncimelyn on Feb 28, '06 07:57:07AM

Thank you so much for this hint. This has long been an annoyance of mine as I have found ways of moving most of the applications folders that hi-jack my Documents folder, but not Microsoft's.



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: hsinha on Feb 28, '06 09:08:06AM

It does not work for me ;-(
As soon as I open Word, a new Microsoft User Data folder is created in Documents folder. Am I missing something?



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: hsinha on Feb 28, '06 09:10:09AM

BTW, I moved my original MS User Data folder in ~/Library/Application Support before launching Word.



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: hypert on Feb 28, '06 09:41:11AM
It's probably because the hint said to move it to the Preferences folder, not the Application Support folder. The latter folder was only mentioned as that's where this stuff probably should go.

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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: hsinha on Feb 28, '06 09:54:29AM

Yup you are right. Thanks.



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: kirkmc on Feb 28, '06 08:16:12AM

I agree with the comment about the Entourage database - it _should_ be in ~/Documents, since that's what you probably back up. However, if you don't use Entourage, there's no reason to leave that folder where it is, as long as you remember that your Normal.dot file is there, and this holds a lot of your customizations. As long as you back up your entire home folder, you'll be safe.

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Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: pub3abn on Feb 28, '06 08:34:47AM

If you are not backing up files in ~/Library, and more especially in ~/Library/Application Support, you very likely risk losing lots of important data. I backup my whole Users folder, just for simplicity's sake. Putting the file is "Application Support" is more consistent with Apple's own practice, and is more consistent with what most developers are doing.



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: Hart on Feb 28, '06 09:15:55AM

Another vote to keep all applicaton-created folders out of Documents. No application (including Entourage and Mail) should keep user data in any hidden place. And Apple has set up specific places for applications to put folders they create. Any user who backs up only Documents is in big trouble anyway.

This hint also appears to work for Sound Studio's presets folder, but not for AppleWorks User Data.



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I'm surprised no one mentioned the AppleWorks User Data folder…
Authored by: jiclark on Feb 28, '06 11:27:04AM

…and it seems to be just another example of how embarrassed Apple should be about AW in general! Why do they not follow their own guidelines for AW?? Incredible really.

If anyone has a clue as to a way to move *that* folder out of documents, I'd be very happy. I'd love to just delete everything AW-related altogether, but I still have to support people that are using it, so I'm stuck with it myself.

<sigh>



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AppleWorks ?
Authored by: mag on Feb 28, '06 01:13:30PM

The funny thing is, another offender is AppleWorks, with an "AppleWorks User Data" right into the Documents folder. It seems to me that Microsoft is only following old customs...



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AppleWorks ?
Authored by: jiclark on Feb 28, '06 01:58:02PM

see my reply to comment above?



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~/Documents and Backup
Authored by: terceiro on Feb 28, '06 01:17:05PM

You people who only back up your ~/Documents directory scare the socks off of me. Kudos for backing up at all, but you're working with the computer equivalent of basic liability auto insurance. Once something hits you, you're hosed.

It takes all of two minutes to make a list of stuff to backup: occasional prefs, photos, documents, databases (like entourage or mail.app). Using a convenient program like iBackup or (my preference) Synk, you can set up the whole process up almost as fast as you can make your list.

Those who backup only one directory without considering wider options typically get what they deserve.



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: Tonex on Mar 01, '06 06:49:50AM

On a similar theme - does anyone know how to get rid of the *very* annoying eBooks folder that Acrobat 6 Professional insists on creating in my Documents folder every time I launch it?

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Remember - in a million years we'll all be dust, and none of this will matter...



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: drewxhawaii on Dec 23, '10 12:52:42AM

Thank you for this.

My "Documents" folder is backed up with Dropbox and "Microsoft User Data" contains nearly 2GB of data that doesn't (in my case) need to be backed up.

Moved it to ~/Library/Preferences/ and all is well



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Move the Microsoft User Data folder (revisited)
Authored by: agentx on Dec 23, '10 06:48:41AM

Hi there you can store the MUD folder anywhere but if you are using the symlink method you may still find it will sync with Dropbox if you have symlinked your whole Documents folder into Dropbox (not best practice IMHO).



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