How to find your important files

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Today I’ll show you the absolute quickest way to get to all of your important files on your Windows computer.

important files


You might already know that you can click on the little “file folder” icon at the bottom of the screen to open Windows File Explorer. It looks like this:

File explorer


That opens a window (File Explorer) that shows some of your personal folders such as Documents, Pictures, etc. But it doesn’t show ALL of your personal files and folders. So how do you see all of them?

It’s easy to do this:

  1. Hold down the Windows key (lower left area of the keyboard) and tap the letter “r”
  2. In the search box, type “.” (just a period, without the quotes)
  3. Hit Enter

What you see next is your user profile folder. This displays ALL of the files and folders in your Windows user profile.

A couple of things to note:

  • That window will only show the contents for the user profile you are signed into at the moment. If there is more than one user profile in this computer, you would need to go to the other user profile(s) to see the contents of that profile.
  • Some programs store data in weird places. One example is Quickbooks. More than once, I have seen the Quickbooks company files stored in the user profile called “Public” – completely outside the user profile being used. This is not only confusing, it could also be dangerous – since that folder might not be included in a backup process. You really should check and see where Quickbooks is storing your data.


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Tom Whitehouse
June 8th, 2020

This didn’t work for me (Win10). It merely returns web results defining the term “full stop”.

Scott Johnson
June 8th, 2020

It sounds like you clicked the magnifying glass to do a search. When you do that, it does indeed bring back search results for “full stop”. You need to do Windows key + R, then type the period and hit Enter.

Glyn hunt
June 9th, 2020

Sorry but not sure if it worked. Used the key “r” . and got window with folders only??

Scott Johnson
June 9th, 2020

That’s what is supposed to happen. Your user profile window opens, and inside that are your personal folders – Documents, Pictures, etc.

Norma Rudametkin
June 10th, 2020

Slick trick! I always enjoy your #technoamazingknowledge!~


Thomas Whitehouse
June 12th, 2020

Finally got around to trying it again.

You are right. I uses the Windows key + R. If all else fails, try following the instructions!

Thanks Scott