Problem: In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, files in the 'My Documents' folder cannot be viewed or accessed from ArcMap or ArcCatalog


Data stored in the 'My Documents' folder in Windows 7 and Windows Vista cannot be viewed or accessed from the ArcMap 'Add Data' dialog box or from ArcCatalog.

For example, when browsing to 'My Documents' in Windows Explorer, data is visible:
[O-Image] Data visible in Windows Explorer on Vista or 7
However, when browsing to the same location in ArcCatalog, the same folder appears empty:
[O-Image] My Documents on Windows Vista and 7 looks empty in ArcCatalog


The My Documents folder on Windows 7 and Vista does not actually contain the data, but rather, a redirect to C:\Users\<user>\Documents, where the data is actually stored.

Solution or Workaround

When using ArcCatalog or the ArcMap 'Add Data' dialog box, access 'My Documents' data by browsing to C:\Users\<users>\Documents instead of the 'My Documents' folder:
[O-Image] Data is actually stored in Documents