The rationale behind this:
- Documents contains files that can be manipulated by the user - Rename, Edit, Delete, Send etc.
- ApplicationData (now ProgramData) are files manipulated by software.
You don't open an MSOE file from windows explorer, you should not rename it, to forward an email you do not send the file it is stored in, if you don't need the emails anymore you shouldn't delete that file.
Now, I have marginally better things to do than to defend the clunkyness and "moving target"-ness of who-stores-what-where on Windows. The storage model attempts to solve
- a slowly evolving model for multiple users on one machine
- roaming profiles
- files to big for roaming profiles
So for each file, you'd have to decide: is it user-specific or shared? Is it "owned" by the user, or the software? If it's user specific, does it roam? That's six locations already (shared doesn't roam)
It is exacerbated by various issues:
- an awkward balance between protecting and enabling the end user
- users are not administrators - not because security, but skill
- a "users are administrators" tradition in Windows Development
- Backward compatibility for "screw that documentation, I find the path myself" developers
- Backward compatibility with fundamental shifts in working and use models
- Apparent loss of central control of such issues