One of the changes in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 is that each user has a 'Home' directory that is actually accessible and meant to be always used. In XP and 2k, you had a hidden home directory that Microsoft didn't expect you to muck around in. Some of the features, like the Downloads directory, are only accessible through your Home directory, which is why it makes sense to put an icon for it right on your desktop.
To add this item, click the Start button, and then right click on your User name. Choose the Show on Desktop option:
Now your home directory icon will show up on your desktop.
The Alternate Method:
You can also right-click on the desktop, choose Personalize from the menu, and then Desktop Icons on the left-hand pane. Then tick the User's Files check box.
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