Standard Folder Names

When you need to specify a folder, you should always remember that the structure of the user's file system may be quite different from yours. The standard folder names are also translated with localized versions of Windows. Therefore, you should always start a folder name with one of the standard folder names below. For example: install your documentation files into %APPFOLDER%\Docs and not into C:\Program Files\MyApp\Docs.

The following folders are the ones you will use to install most, if not all, files that are part of the package you are delivering. You can specify the defaults for them on the Project page. These folders can be modified by the user by clicking on the Advanced Installation button in the installation program.

Current user: %APPDATAROOT%\CompanyName\AppName
NameDescription and default values
%APPFOLDER% Folder where your application will be installed
All users: %PROGRAMFILES%\CompanyName\AppName
Current user: %LOCALAPPDATAROOT%\CompanyName\AppName
%APPCOMMONFOLDER% Folder where you should install any reusable libraries shared between multiple applications
All users: %COMMONFILES%\CompanyName
Current user: %LOCALAPPDATAROOT%\CompanyName
%APPMENU% Folder where your application's shortcuts should be placed, so it can be accessed from the Start menu
All users and current user: %PROGRAMSMENU%\AppName
%USERDATA% Folder for sample files and data files that will be modified by the user while using your application
All users: %COMMONAPPDATAROOT%\CompanyName\AppName

The folders below are system folders. You can use them on the Project page for the default values of user-configurable folders. You can also use them on the Files page to force files to be installed into these system folders.

The actual paths shown in the list below are the usual paths for these folders on various versions of Windows. These paths are listed here for your reference only. DeployMaster will always detect and use the actual paths on the user's computer, which may differ from the ones below.

The appropriateness of using a folder for installations for all users and for user-specific installations is indicated as follows:

If your installer creates subfolders under folders that need admin rights and you need those subfolders to be writable by non-admin users after installation, tick "grant all users write access to this folder" on the Files page for those subfolders.


NameDescription and usual actual folderUsers and rights
%PROGRAMFILES% Applications folder
Usually C:\Program Files\
C:\Program Files (x86)\ for 32-bit software on 64-bit Windows
All users
Current user with admin rights
%COMMONFILES% Applications shared libraries folder
Usually C:\Program Files\Common Files
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\ for 32-bit software on 64-bit Windows
All users
Current user with admin rights
%MYDOCUMENTS% The My Documents folder for the user installing the application
C:\My Documents on 98/ME
C:\Documents and Settings\User\My Documents on NT/2000/XP
C:\Users\User\Documents on Vista/7/8/10
Current user
%COMMONDOCUMENTS% The folder for documents shared among users
C:\My Documents on 98/ME
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents on NT/2000/XP
C:\Users\Public\Public Documents on Vista/7/8/10
All users
%APPDATAROOT% Folder for storing application-specific and user-specific data such as preferences and state information that should be synchronized with the user's roaming profile on the Windows network
C:\Windows\Application Data on 98/ME
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Application Data on NT/2000/XP
C:\Users\User\AppData\Roaming on Vista/7/8/10
Current user
%LOCALAPPDATAROOT% Folder for storing application-specific and user-specific data such as preferences and state information that should be stored on the local PC only; can also be used as the applications folder for user-specific installations.
C:\Windows\Application Data on 98/ME
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Local Settings\Application Data on NT/2000/XP
C:\Users\User\AppData\Local on Vista/7/8/10
Current user
%COMMONAPPDATAROOT% Folder for storing application-specific data shared among users
C:\Windows\Application Data on 98/ME
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data on NT/2000/XP
C:\ProgramData on Vista/7/8/10
All users
%STARTMENU% The folder accessible through the Start button on the Taskbar
C:\Windows\Start Menu\ on 98/ME
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu on NT/2000/XP for all users
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Start Menu on NT/2000/XP for the current user
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu on Vista/7/8/10 for all users
C:\Users\User\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\ on Vista/7/8/10 for the current user
Adapts to all or current users
%PROGRAMSMENU% The folder accessible through Start->Programs
C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs on 98/ME
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs on NT/2000/XP for all users
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Start Menu\Programs on NT/2000/XP for the current user
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs on Vista/7/8/10 for all users
C:\Users\User\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs on Vista/7/8/10 for the current user
Adapts to all or current users
%DESKTOP% The desktop folder
C:\Windows\Desktop on 98/ME
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop on NT/2000/XP for all users
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Desktop on NT/2000/XP for the current user
C:\Users\Public\Desktop on Vista/7/8/10 for all users
C:\Users\User\Desktop on Vista/7/8/10 for the current user
Adapts to all or current users
%STARTUP% Folder containing the shortcuts that are executed when the user logs in on his Windows system
C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp on 98/ME
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp on NT/2000/XP for all users
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp on NT/2000/XP for the current user
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup on Vista/7/8/10 for all users
C:\Users\User\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup on Vista/7/8/10 for the current user
Adapts to all or current users
%SENDTO% Folder containing Windows Explorer's Send To context menu shortcuts
C:\Windows\SendTo on 98/ME
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\SendTo on NT/2000/XP
C:\Users\User\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo on Vista/7/8/10
All users on 98/ME/NT/2000/XP
Current user on Vista/7/8/10
%WINDOWS% The Windows folder
Usually C:\Windows or C:\WINNT
All users
Current user with admin rights
%FONTS% The folder where fonts are installed
You should only add .ttf and .otf files with TrueType and OpenType fonts or .fon files with bitmapped fonts to this folder.
Usually C:\Windows\Fonts or C:\WINNT\Fonts
All users
Current user with admin rights
%SYSTEM% The Windows system folder
Usually C:\Windows\System or C:\WINNT\System32
Redirected to C:\Windows\SYSWOW64 for 32-bit software on 64-bit Windows
All users
Current user with admin rights
%SYSTEMDRIVE% The drive where the Windows folder resides
Usually C:\
All users
Current user with admin rights

If you place any files in the %WINDOWS% and %SYSTEM% folders, DeployMaster will automatically consider all those files to be shared files. The installation program will update the reference count for those files in the registry. The uninstaller will also update the reference count and only uninstall the files if the reference count becomes zero, indicating that the file is no longer in use. You should not put any files into the Windows and System folders, unless absolutely needed.

Also, you should only place shortcuts in the Start Menu, Programs Menu, Desktop, Send To and Startup folders, even if nothing prevents you technically from putting files there. In a networked environment, the contents of these folders may be stored on a server. If they contain large files, the user's login may be significantly slowed down if the network is busy, while the user's profile including those files is being downloaded from the server.

Installing fonts requires extra steps if the font should be available to all applications. DeployMaster automatically does this for files that you place into the %FONTS% folder. DeployMaster will not register fonts that you place into other folders.