Multiple Occurances of Same File

I am using an 'X86' application in Windows 7 OS.  The application is TurboCAD v17. 


When I save a drawing file to the default location, the same file is saved multiple times (and not in the expected file path). For example, when doing the training exercises, I name my drawing file the same as the session number and add a letter to the file name to distinguish it from the provided sample file (e.g., Session14F.tcw).

The default location is C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\IMSIDesign\TurboCAD Training\TurboCAD 2D Training Guide\Session14F.tcw.

This file--Session14F.tcw--now has 17 occurrances. For each new occurance, a folder called 'Application Data' is inserted in the above path between 'Local Settings' and the 'Virtual Store' folders.

When I checked this one day ago, there were 12 occcurances of the referenced file; now there are 17. It is as though each time I open the application another layer is created, with each layer adding another 'Application Data' folder to the path.

This appears to have happened with every file I have created or edited. Currently, there are 716 such files in my user directory.
I have only initiated (created) files for the 14 lessons in the 2D Training Guide and a handful of others.




Question Info

Last updated January 27, 2019 Views 484 Applies to:
Anytime an application tries to save a file to a naughty location (such as C:\Windows or C:\Program Files), Windows will force the actual save to end up at a place inside your user folder instead (C:\Users\Username\LocalSettings\VirtualStore\Program Files).  It tricks the program into thinking that the file really did go to the Program Files folder, but in reality it's somewhere inside your user folder.

This virtualization (tricking the program) is required so that badly-created apps that save to naughty locations will still work.  The alternative is that the program tries to save and then crashes when it can't access the Program Files folder.  If Windows didn't do this, the program would require administrator access every time it runs -- which is very insecure, plus would make the program impossible to use in corporate environments where users aren't allowed to be administrators.

Rest assured that the multple layers you are seeing are a result of folder redirection and virtualization (also known as junction points).  There's no need to clean these up or correct it, and you are well advised to avoid exploring those files.

For better results, save your TCW files to your Documents folder instead of Program Files or elsewhere, which will prevent any virtualization weirdness.

Shawn "Cmdr" Keene | Microsoft MVP - Windows Insider | | tweet me: @LtCmdrKeene
Microsoft MVPs are independent experts offering real-world answers. Learn more at

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