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But report: %PortableApps.comDocuments% points to incorrect directory

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But report: %PortableApps.comDocuments% points to incorrect directory

According to the documentation at, %PortableApps.comXXXX% environment variables should point to %PAL:PortableAppsBaseDir%/Documents.

The Documents directory, normally X:\Documents. There is no guarrantee that this directory will exist.

The base of the directory hierachy, where PAL:PortableAppsDir and PortableApps.comDocuments are usually at.

However, since at least 2015 (see my comment, The %PortableApps.comDocuments% variable points elsewhere, namely, "%PAL:DriveLetter%\Documents". This fact was noted on the following thread ( The first comment, by Gord Caswell, says:

The PortableApps.comDocuments variable, by design, is hard-coded to reside in the same directory as your PortableApps directory

I agree that's what should happen, but that is not what's happening. I cannot follow the thread much further than that, as it gets into NSIS code, with which I am unfamiliar. But it is clear from the behavior that the *expected* value does not match the actual.

I suspect few people care about this because the PortableApps - Documents directory is so rarely used, which is a shame, really.

John T. Haller
John T. Haller's picture
Last seen: 10 hours 48 min ago
Joined: 2005-11-28 22:21

The Documents variable is dictated by the platform, not PAL. PAL's documentation hasn't been updated. If I recall, at present, it defaults to X:\Documents if that directory exists otherwise it uses the one alongside the PortableApps directory.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Gord Caswell
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Last seen: 5 hours 26 min ago
Joined: 2008-07-24 18:46
PortableApps.comDocuments, then X

Currently, PAL uses the Documents variable if set by the platform.
If that variable is not set, it defaults to X:\Documents.

In an upcoming release of PAL the logic is a bit more complex:

  1. Use the Documents variable as above
  2. If not found, use the parent directory of the PortableApps directory, plus \Documents
  3. If not found, use X:\Documents
  4. If not found, use X:\
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