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Windows 7: New and Mysterious File Folders Appearing on my Win 7 Computer

24 May 2015   #1
Maxxwire

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 
New and Mysterious File Folders Appearing on my Win 7 Computer



A file folder of this type first showed up on the root of my computer's C drive about 3 months ago. Most recently one also appeared on the computer's attached SSD drive and that was when I began to become suspicious of the nature and origin of these empty folders with special permissions that return after they have been deleted.

Do any of you know or possibly speculate upon the source and purpose of these folders being created on my Win 7 computer over the last few months?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 May 2015   #2
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 May 2015   #3
Maxxwire

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

Thank you for your timely and reassuring reply! I am still wondering why these folders are recreated each time after they have been removed? Are there additional installations occurring each time they reappear with a new name?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 May 2015   #4
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

In your System Spec area for this forum, there is a field for Antivirus. You might want to fill that field in so that other members can know that answer without having to ask you :-)

So, what antivirus app are you using? The reason that I ask is: Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) can create one of these folders with each signature file update. It depends on how you ask MSE to update.* MSE also leaves these folders behind at times.

*edit: If you download the relatively large (~150MB) manual update file, it makes a temp folder.

The folders should be randomly named so as to not interfere with other folders that already exists. If you leave them alone, you will probably just get more of them. Whatever app is creating them, probably does not reuse old folders. It probably creates a new one each time one is needed.

One way to maybe figure out what process made the folder is to:
Right click on the folder and select Rename from the context menu.
Copy the folder's random name into the Windows clipboard.

Open Microsoft's Management Console and load the Computer Management snap-in.
(e.g. Start > right click on Computer and select Manage from the context menu)

Open the left pane to the area shown below...
New and Mysterious File Folders Appearing on my Win 7 Computer-folder.png
...then select any entry in the right pane (after it loads).
Use Ctrl-F and paste to find an entry with that folder name.


That said, these are just temp folders. They might not be related to installations (but they probably are). There could be some app creating/using them and not removing them. If we can find the offending app, we might be able to encourage it (via settings) to use a specific temp folder instead of the root of various drives.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 May 2015   #5
Maxxwire

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

Thank you for your detailed instructions on how to find out where these temp files are coming from. The next time one of them pops up I will use your suggestions to see if I can find out which app is creating them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2015   #6
Maxxwire

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 



Another new file appeared today and so I followed the directions concerning how to determine the source of these folders which keep returning, but the find feature could not locate the file by it's name. Have I somehow made a mistake in the procedure?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2015   #7
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

As you found out, not all installers will write that random path to the Windows Event logs. Look at the time that the folder with the random name was created. See if the folder creation time corresponds with events in the logs named Application, Setup or System.

It might not be an app installer that is creating these folders. It might be some minor update process. What antivirus product are you using?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2015   #8
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi you might just show what you have installed,
Click Start and type in the search box,
msconfig
Click on the suggestion on top or hit the Enter key,
Go to the Startup section and take some screen shots for a complete list,
Go to the Services section and on the bottom left Check the box to Hide All Microsoft services,
Repeat the screen shots,
Cheers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2015   #9
Maxxwire

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by UsernameIssues View Post
It might not be an app installer that is creating these folders. It might be some minor update process. What antivirus product are you using?
I am currently using Malwarebytes 2.1.6.1022 along with MSE. It had occurred to me that the folder in question may have been created by MSE when I manually updated it directly through windows update which was very close to the time that the mysterious folder was created. Today there was another MSE update included along with 3 other updates having to do with upgrading to Win 10. I deleted the existing folder to find out if another would be created my the MSE update, but no new folder appeared. I've had this Win 7 computer for almost 5 years and whatever is creating and recreating this folder it just started it a little over 3 months ago. The mystery continues...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2015   #10
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

The folder in your original post has 32 random characters. MSE creates temp folders with 32 random characters too - but only when certain parts of MSE require updates (scanning engines vs. definitions). You did not see another temp folder because MSE did not need to make one today.

The folder should go away after the update(s) completes. Perhaps something has changed recently that is causing some of them to be left behind. Maybe the change was on Microsoft's side or maybe Malwarebytes has changed and is preventing the rapid creation & deletion of certain folders. Maybe those that use MSE & MBAM could let us know if they see these folders too. Even the automatic updates can create these folders. I've seen computers with 3 or 4 of these folders. I just delete them.


> I deleted the existing folder to find out if another would be created my the MSE update, but no new folder appeared.
While it does not hurt to delete them, they do not get reused. A new one (with a different name) will be created the next time one is needed.


If you want to see one of these folders, use Internet Explorer to download and run one or two of MSE's manual update files. Visit this webpage:
https://www.microsoft.com/security/p...tions/adl.aspx
Scroll to the bottom section named "Network Inspection System updates".
See the image in step two.
Take note of all of the version info on that "About" screen.

Scroll back up to the section named "Manually download the latest updates".
Click on the applicable link to download the manual update file. (~150MB)
Select Run. Do not select Save.....
That makes the file download to and run from IE's Temporary Internet Files (TIF) folder. Running from there should cause the installer to create one of these temp folders. The installer might create a temp folder no matter where it is run from. I'm just guessing that running from the TIF folder gives you the best shot at seeing a random folder being created. That said, if no updates are required, the temp folder might be create and deleted too fast for you to see via Windows Explorer. You might need to run Process Monitor to capture the sub-second even.

The manual update file does not make any screens for you to see or interact with. It is kind of hard to know when it has finished. If updates are applied, it may animate MSE's icon in the system tray (notification area). [I do not use MSE and I cannot test MSE inside a virtual machine right now. So all of this is from memory.] After you run that manual update file, check the "About" screen again to see if any of the numbers have changed.

Also, you might want to download/run the manual update file for the Network Inspection System. I'm not sure if the NIS updates are a part of the larger file that you just downloaded above. You tell us :-)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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