Why Are There Multiple Layers of "Application Data" Folders?

Why does Windows 7 Professional x64 create folder structures like this:

C:\Users\<user name>\Local Settings\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\...

and so on for multiple levels? For example, one of the user accounts on my computer has six (6) layers of Application Data folders. And each Application Data folder has identical sub-folders, including an Application Data sub-folder that leads to the next level of Application Data, etc. etc.

Is this normal for Windows 7, and if so, what does it mean? Alternatively, is this the sign of a problem?

Thanks for your insight.


I finally found my answer.

The Application Data 'folder' keeps replicating itself as a sub-folder when you alter permissions for the Application Data folder, usually by giving yourself full permissions for the c:\users\<user name> folder. That's exactly what I did.

The Application Data folder is actually a junction, which points back to its parent folder.

C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\Application Data\

points to

C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\

The nesting results when the permissions for the Application Data 'folder' (junction) are changed. Application Data should have the following permissions:

    Deny - Everyone - List folder / read data - <not inherited> - This folder only

This is (wisely) done to prevent recursion when a non-Windows 7 aware application scans the Application Data 'folder', and it's also the reason for the "Access is denied" message you get on certain folders in c:\users\<user name>. This leads some people, like me, to take full control of the <user name> folder. I should know better.

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Question Info

Last updated February 25, 2021 Views 7,369 Applies to: