Can't launch the Arduino IDE on my Windows 7 laptop

To experiment with an Uno R3 board, I’ve installed the Arduino IDE v1.8.4 software package on my Windows 7 32bit laptop. The application installs fine but it won’t launch; instead the splash-screen appears briefly and then silently disappears. So I ran the debug code in a command window, with this result:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino>arduino_debug.exe
Looking for library ‘user32’
Adding paths from jna.library.path: null
Trying user32.dll
Found library ‘user32’ at user32.dll
DPI detection failed, fallback to 96 dpi
Looking for library ‘shell32’
Adding paths from jna.library.path: null
Trying shell32.dll
Found library ‘shell32’ at shell32.dll
Looking for library ‘Ole32’
Adding paths from jna.library.path: null
Trying Ole32.dll
Found library ‘Ole32’ at Ole32.dll
Looking for library ‘kernel32’
Adding paths from jna.library.path: null
Trying kernel32.dll
Found library ‘kernel32’ at kernel32.dll
com.sun.jna.platform.win32.Win32Exception: The network path was not found.
at com.sun.jna.platform.win32.Shell32Util.getFolderPath(Shell32Util.java:48)
at com.sun.jna.platform.win32.Shell32Util.getFolderPath(Shell32Util.java:61)
at cc.arduino.os.windows.Win32KnownFolders.getDocumentsFolder(Win32KnownFolders.java:71)
at processing.app.windows.Platform.recoverDefaultSketchbookFolder(Platform.java:76)
at processing.app.windows.Platform.init(Platform.java:55)
at processing.app.Base.(Base.java:197)
at processing.app.Base.main(Base.java:140)

C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino>

Apparently, the app can’t find the path to some necessary Java files. Can anyone suggest a fix? Thanks!

Answering my own question!

After googling around the forum, I discovered that other Windows users of Arduino IDE have experienced error symptoms similar to mine, with the cause often being a missing or erroneous "Personal" registry key at

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

So I used regedit to examine this key and discovered that it indeed pointed to a network storage location that I can no longer access (my laptop is a former college machine that was set-up by school IT staff). I'm no Windows guru, but it was dead simple to edit the "Personal" key to point instead to my local "My Documents" folder, after which the Arduino IDE opens and runs perfectly.

(Hoping this may be of help to others.)