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The Everywhere Folder in Vista Explained

Richard from Illinois asks:

Can you tell me the significance of the folder “everywhere” found under “owner – search” in the folder ladder diagram. I show 5000 items that consist of deleted e-mails,copies of still active files, and what appears to be programs. what is it for and can & should it be cleaned out?

The Everywhere folder in the Windows Vista Operating System is really a virtual/systems file folder. The Everywhere folder allows you to search your entire system and history if you need to. Virtual folders can be very handy because they allow you to keep track of your Internet searches, but that is another topic.

First things first. Don’t start deleting things willy-nilly out of your Everywhere folder. Very bad juju. Doing this will delete the actual files on your computer as well as the files in the Everywhere folder. You will probably look at the Everywhere folder and it will appear enormous. You may be thinking, “Oh no, this stupid folder is eating up all of my memory!” Don’t worry. Remember this is the Everywhere folder and if you look at it you will see that it also includes things like your operating system and all of your programs. Now it also includes things like old e-mails and copies of searches but these aren’t the bulky things in the folder. It’s very simple to hide the Everywhere folder if you just can’t bear to leave it alone. We will do that now. For the purposes of this set of instructions “click” means a regular left click with your mouse.

First, click the Start button and then click on your Owner’s icon, in this case Christopher.

This will open all of Christopher’s stuff. Notice that there are two files at the end with the names ntuser.dat.LOG1 & 2. Those are normally hidden files called log files. Notice also that the icons are not operational.

Next you will want to click on Searches on the left side under Favorite Links.

There in all its infamous glory is the Everywhere folder. Notice the Everywhere folder and the Indexed Location folders use light blue VS dark blue icons. This tells you that they are system or hidden folders.

OK. Now we are going to get rid of the Everywhere folder. See the green-blue bar at the top of the box? Click on Organize. A small box will pop up and you will want to scroll down and click on Folder and Search Options.

You will now see the Folder Options search box. Click on the View tab in the middle.

The Show hidden files and folders button will be checked. We are going to uncheck it. Simply click on the button above it that says: Do not show hidden files and folders. It should look like this.

You must then click Apply at the bottom to apply your new changes. Lets go back and look at Christopher’s Searches.

Notice the Everywhere folder and Index folders are “gone.” Of course, they aren’t really gone, you just can’t see them.

A helpful way of thinking about Windows, and Vista in particular, is to understand that it is set up like a city. There are many roads you can take to get from point A to point B. Once you get familiar with the various roads and shortcuts, they can really make your life a lot easier. You can think of the Everywhere folder as a ring road that leads you to everywhere, should you ever need to do that. Just like moving to a new city, these new things will take time to get used to. In general you won’t have any use for the Everywhere folder, so it is best to leave it alone and hide the folder as we have just done here.