"Infinite" Application Data folders and subfolders

In Windows 7 (Ultimate 64-bit), Explorer and under C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\ there is a shortcut to Application Data in the left pane of Explorer. Every time I expand  that shortcut I get another "Application Data" shortcut. (I would love to provide a screen print - it's almost funny.) In my screen print shot down to the lowest level the path is: "C:\Users\Den\AppData\Local\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data"- well, you get the message. The folders that are at the same level appear to continue to follow the same level as Application Data, for example: "C:\Users\Den\AppData\Local\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Apps" These occurences of Application Data "disappear" on closing and re-opening of Explorer. So, what is happening here?

(BTW, I apologize for not remembering the responder, but thank you so much for the "select the file, shift-right click, "Copy As Path" - absolutely invaluable for UNC paths and including the path in email to co-workers. I've tried Ponte's toys, and these are not dependable.)

Many thanks!

Paul R.

 

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Last updated October 18, 2019 Views 17,700 Applies to:
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In Windows 7 (Ultimate 64-bit), Explorer and under C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\ there is a shortcut to Application Data in the left pane of Explorer. Every time I expand  that shortcut I get another "Application Data" shortcut. (I would love to provide a screen print - it's almost funny.) In my screen print shot down to the lowest level the path is:

 "C:\Users\Den\AppData\Local\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data"- well, you get the message. The folders that are at the same level appear to continue to follow the same level as Application Data, for example:

"C:\Users\Den\AppData\Local\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Apps" These occurences of Application Data "disappear" on closing and re-opening of Explorer. So, what is happening here?

Many thanks!

Paul R.

Hi Paul

The main problem is that the Application Data 'folder' is not a folder, it is called a Junction.

Some of the system folder names were changed in Windows 7 and to assure compatibility with older programs that are hard coded to look for these former names, Windows 7 uses Junctions with the older name to redirect these older programs to the new location.

The C:\Users\Den\AppData\Local\Application Data junction redirects to: C:\Users\Den\AppData\Local.

These Junctions have the permissions set to Everyone = Access Denied. They cannot be used as a folder to store any files.

This problem occurs when a user changes these permissions in an effort to force access to that junction. Changing the permissions allows any action to 'recursively walk through' the junction and this creates a recursion (Also called an infinite loop) the result of which is what you are describing.

Your best recovery option is to use System Restore to go back to a point before the permissions were changed. If this is not possible, see the following post to see how another member fixed the problem.

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7files/thread/4ec2c92c-a691-432b-b86a-c76d2b9a3faa/#ef7a1f00-542c-4858-b4ac-1e8a75a30cc8

There are many other Junctions in Windows 7 and these can be recognized by the Shortcut Arrow that is present on the folder icon. See the following post for the instructions on how to create a text file that shows all of the Junctions on Windows 7 and the target folder that they point to.

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7files/thread/20f32f0c-4cb9-4125-923d-6a57e4d27232/#59862ebd-e54d-4316-bf9a-fd89761ceff8

Let us know if you have more questions.

Regards,


Ronnie Vernon MVP – Windows Expert - Consumer
MVP 1999 - Present
Windows Insider MVP

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