Don't delete your Illustrator folder...
You didn't mention which version of Illustrator you're using, but here's the solution: delete the AI Prefs file, not the entire Illustrator folder.
Anytime you make changes to the interface (closing palettes, etc.) Illustrator saves the changes to the preferences file (AI Prefs). Sometimes, that file can become corrupt. If that's the case, you can search for it and delete it. ("AI Prefs" for windows or "Adobe Illustrator CS preferences" for Mac OS X)
Some versions of AI allow you to reset the prefs by holding down CTRL+ALT+SHIFT (Shift + Command + Option + Control on the Mac) as Illustrator is starting up.
If you have Illustrator CS2, you can reset the palettes to their default location by using the menu command WINDOW>WORKSPACE>DEFAULT.
If your preferences aren't corrupt, you may have simply closed the swatches palette. Re-open it by going to WINDOW>SWATCHES and it'll re-appear in the last location where it was opened.
Was this reply helpful? (0) (0)