Desktop is a virtual folder, considered by Windows to be the parent (ie. the topmost item in the hierarchy) of all items in the virtual tree shown in the Folders pane. The practical use for Desktop is that it always contains all items shown on the user’s actual desktop (ie. the Windows screen when no application windows are visible).

Although Desktop is considered to be a virtual folder (for purposes of the computer’s virtual tree), it is really comprised of 2 real folders

  • C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Desktop, and

  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop

The (root) drive letter may vary with different installations of Windows.