I would try before everything else, rescue the data from those folders. If you can access the files and folders inside from the search bar, then just write *.* and you should see everything. Then just copy the data in another location (another HDD or Pen Drive). Then if you try things...
I`m using the libraries
For security reasons I have the "My docs", "Music", "Downloads" and etc. folders in another partition just as you said before. In this case you can change the location as in the answer above, or Configure the Windows 7 libraries and use them.
The libraries are easy way...
Windows 7 Manager
You can try using Windows 7 Manager. This is a customization, cleaning and repairing software.
You can also create another User Account with administrator privileges, log in and check if the same happens.
If there is no answer, just try reinstalling the OS.
It`s for better performance ;)
This is because you might need better connection and if you disable all not needed things you can have better performance. however, as you can see, there is no reason to worry, if you want to see it "beautiful", just enable it.
Can`t format while using it!!!
It is not logical to format a hard drive that is currently in use.
Ways to do it:
from another OS which is installed on another partition
Hiren`s boot cd, System Rescue CD, or something similar
Inserting the Windows 7 (or any OS) CD and rebooting.
In this case...
Try it with another user account
Well, I just opened Windows Explorer and tried it. It works perfectly. I`m using Windows 7 Ultimate, x86 version and it works. Try if it works properly with another User Account. This can help you determine the problem and if works in another account, just...
I`ve never seen this
I`ve never seen something similar.
However, if that happened just once it`s OK, but if happens every day I would run some registry-checking software or something similar to determine if the problem can be solved easily or you have to do something else. If you can`t...
Check everything again
I`m using home group and sometimes there are little bugs. However, just try something different, for example add the folder to some library that you are sharing and check if it works. Check everything again.
For more info about setting up home group check this page...
Good job, thank you for the info, it is really helpful!!!
You can use the "Search" also as "Run". In this case if you just write "psr" the search result will be "psr.exe", just click it and that`s it. Many users make changes to the Start Menu and later can`t find things... be careful ;)