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Windows 7: Stop Application Data folder replicating?

02 May 2011   #11

windows 7 home premium 64 bit

Whooboy! JunctionBox rocks! Fixed the many levels of duplicate folders in a flash.




My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 May 2011   #12

Windows Home Premium 64bit

Glad we were able to help you out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2011   #13

Windows 7 Professional x64

To whom it may concern:

If you understand Junctions, Hard Links, and Symbolic Links, please disregard.

If you do not understand these, I would highly recommend leaving them alone. You also need to understand the Security permissions for them and the reason Microsoft used them.

(Windows 7 x86 or 64-bit)

Junctions, Hard Links, and Symbolic Links are pointers to other objects, and these objects include Junctions, Hard Links, and Symbolic Links. In Windows Explorer (file manager), there is no indication if a folder is actually a folder or a Junction. A Junction can point to an actual folder, and that folder can include a Junction that points to another folder. (I think a Junction can point to another Junction, but I may be wrong.) Deleting a Junction will only delete the pointer, but copying a Junction will paste a copy of the actual folder. Hard Links and Symbolic Links work differently. One or both will delete the actual folder when it is deleted. If you want more information, Google Hard Links and/or Symbolic Links.

Junctions, Hard Links, and Symbolic Links are quite useful, but you need to understand how they work. I believe that the Windows "Libraries" use these, or something similar. For example, you could create your own Library as a folder on your Desktop. These are functionally equivalent to the actual folders, and an application will not know that it is not using the actual folder. Some applications store data in their "C:\Program Files\" directory, but using a Junction you could change where it stores its data.

One problem that can arise is creating a folder st the actual location. A Junction for "C:\Program Files\Some Game\Saved Games\" could point to "D:\All Games\Some Game\Saves\". If for some reason an actual folder was created in the original folder, it can cause problems. If an actual folder is created in the "C:\Program Files\Some Game\Saved Games\" directory, strange things can happen. You could have a Junction for "C:\Program Files\Some Game\Saved Games\" and a folder "C:\Program Files\Some Game\Saved Games\New Folder". If I am not mistaken, these will be presented as the same location. This is similar to the Windows Start Menu.

With Windows 7, Microsoft decided to cleanup some of the older locations for certain folders. Among these is "My Documents". Some Applications have hard-coded the path based upon older Windows versions. Using Junctions allows these Applications to think they are writing and reading from the original location. Some Applications will "walk the tree" to determine the location, and they can inadvertently create a folder in the original location. In order to keep this from occurring, Microsoft set certain Security permissions on these Junctions ("List folder" and "Traverse folder"). The "Trusted Installer" is the Owner, and taking Ownership from this user is difficult but not impossible. This was done to keep Users from "breaking" the file structure. Windows Explorer is an Application, and therefore, it cannot "List folder" to display the contents.

The multiple folders arise because a Junction may point to folder that has a Junction(s) that eventually points back to the original folder. Also, an actual folder may have been created in the location the first Junction is re-mapping. The result is that they regress on themselves. This is similar to two mirrors pointing at each other or a TV camera showing a TV set with the picture from the camera.

To my knowledge, Microsoft has not documented this in one place. In order to learn this, I had to do a lot of Googling and reading. Some of these things are in the Developer documentation and other things are "Tribal Knowledge". I was trying to move my "Users" folder from the "C:\Users\" to "D:\UserFiles\", and I was determined to do it. Contrary to the usual answer, it IS possible, but it is NOT easy. I did it, and it worked. I reverted back because I missed something somewhere, and folders were being created in the re-mapped locations.

(I also replaced the HAL which is impossible according to Microsoft. It is doable but not pleasant.)

I did not go into this detail in my original reply because you really should plan to reinstall or restore a disk image. I do not know if System Restore will replace the original file structure (Junctions and permissions), but restoring from a backup will not. Somewhere down the road, you are going to have stranger things happening, and you will reinstall Windows. At this point, you should image your disk because you may not have gotten all your data, and this will allow you to find it.

Finally, you should do some research before using a utility like JunctionBox. There are a lot of ramifications to making these changes. The "Take Ownership" utility is another one to be used with caution. The above is not a definitive explanation. That would take more time than I am willing to expend.

This is not a flame - just an observation. If you cannot find a System utility like JunctionBox by Googling it, you really should not be using it.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

05 May 2011   #14

windows 7 home premium 64 bit

OK, that made my brain hurt...

Re-installing Windows is not always the easiest option.

Would a repair installation fix junctions? By repair, I mean the process whereby all your programs and information persist.

A clean installation is VERY painful for established systems. Lots of time is spent recovering data and program information from the old installation. And then, I usually miss something in the process...

Slowly, ever so slowly, I'm getting a better understanding of junctions, but this seems like a rat hole I'm not sure I want to go down. Suffice it to say I learned a lesson about permissions/ownership which I won't forget. Now, if it was only a bit more clear to the semi-skilled individual what causes the major pain when Microsoft decides to change the underlying file structure, life would be better.

I listed the Junctions on my old XP box and find that, though there are a few in obscure windows system folders, XP didn't make a lot of use them for redirection. Hence, the lack of problem with permissions in XP...

Try to find clear instructions on how to migrate to Outlook in Windows 7 from Outlook Express in XP. Note that Outlook Express went away in Windows 7... It isn't pretty.

An analysis of what Junctionbox actually does under the covers would be helpful. So far, I'm still pleased with it, but I accepted the results with a bit of blind faith.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 May 2011   #15

windows 7 home premium 64 bit


Further looking into Junctionbox, here is a link to the author's web site:

IWR Computer Consultancy - Technical Support and advice on IT issues for Small Businesses.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2011   #16

win7 home premium
some observations, a few questions

I have not used junctionbox yet, worried lol After I back up, just click "restore" and everything will be fixed?

I have not been able to get Thunderbird to work on this laptop, brand new right out of the box. I can not get it to see a different profile from another machine I copied to this laptop. I changed the permissions to get at the ini file. I have been creating restore points along the way as I set up this laptop the way I want it to work. Thats when I noticed I have multiple Application folders.

Surfing the net I found another situation somebody else was having a problem with winamp making duplicate music files.

I have never liked the documents folder, even in XP. because if a hard drive crashes it can be difficult to extract files from the hard drive. A lot easier if all the data resided in the root directory, easier to find. I have always told people to use c: for data and create folders and back up to an external drive.

I recreated the winamp problem by installing and just letting the program install everything in its default locations. I uninstalled and installed to c:\winamp, problem gone. Have not tried installing Thunderbird again.

A wild assumption here, if all programs were installed to c:\ would it not get rid of a lot of these problems? I realize a lot of people do not actually use windows explorer like I do. I learned DOS and a simple file structure. Do not understand why it has to be changed, not logical.

I am going to try installing everything to the root directory and see if it is better when any files need to be manipulated.

~Windows 7 is Vista in disguise~
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2011   #17

Windows 7


I downloaded JunctionBox and before I could even install it Norton NIS quarantined the executable calling out something called "Suspicious.Cloud.2" Anybody else see anything in the zip file that flagged their AV?s Sounds like this is working for folks, but I sure don't want to have to chase a bunch of ghosts around a win 7 machine (again).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2011   #18

win7 home premium

I dont use Norton so I dont know how that affects this program. It ran ok for me. I use Avg, spybot, malwarebytes, hijackthis and everything is good on my computers.
Personally I would never use norton or mcafee, IMHO they are not worth the trouble. AVG, saddly is becoming like them.
I dont know where you downloaded the program from. I used the link in this thread and it ran ok for me
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2011   #19

Windows 7

Hello stonnnneeee, thanks for the reply.

I did cross check it with MalwareBytes and that didn't show anything. I checked on Norton's forum and it turns out the Suspicious.Cloud thing is some kind of detection algorithm Norton runs that determines something to be the type of file that may...... I'm going to resurrect it and run it based on the recommendations I've seen here.

Thanks again
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2011   #20

Win 7 64 Pro

Thanks for sharing this fix. Worked first time, I did not backup as I could not see the point as a reinstall takes but a few minutes. I used the 'DefaultJunctions.ntj' to reset everything and it worked a treat.

Thanks for saving me a lot of time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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