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Windows 7: Dozens of Application Data folders nested/embedded

24 Mar 2018   #1
JohnDohe

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 
Dozens of Application Data folders nested/embedded

While trying to delete a troublesome app (AI Suite III (3) ) I found within my User profile was Application data folder
that held yet another Application data folder and another Application data folder and another Application data folder. . .

Each folder was actually a shortcut. I got 23 layers deep until I simply could not open the final Application data folder.

This last folder was not a shortcut, but Win7 would not, or could not, open it even though I'd taken ownership, gotten
all the permissions, auditing, etc.

I suspect that maybe the file name is simply too long.

I further suspect that this is done intentionally by someone knowing windows filename length limitations, which leads
me to suspect foul play at play.

C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Local\Adobe\Application Data\Adobe\Application Data\Adobe\ . . . repeats like
23 times until I finally get to an Application Data folder that isn't a shortcut to another one.

All the subfolder shortcuts are subfolders of Adobe:

Dozens of Application Data folders nested/embedded-application-data-buried-multiple-folders-1.png


Dozens of Application Data folders nested/embedded-application-data-buried-multiple-folders-2.png


The final, non-shortcutted, Application Data subfolder I cannot open nor can I take ownership.

When I try to take ownership (using a TakeOwnership utility) I get a popup, Explorer.exe, telling
me the filename is too long:

Dozens of Application Data folders nested/embedded-application-data-buried-multiple-folders-cant-own-filename-too-long.png

Any idea whats going on?

Is this normal Adobe behavior?

Should I be worried?

Is there a fix?

Thanks!




My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Mar 2018   #2
iko22

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone
 
 

The Path name will eventually become too long. In Windows 7 the file path max is 260 characters including the characters "C:\users".

It is a possiblity that the "application data" shortcuts you refer to are actually NTFS junction points. I dont think it is part o f Adobe. Clues are "Broadcom", "Microsoft", "Driver Toolkit" folders which stand out as other than Adobe.

It could be thay are hard to delete. I had a lot of long filenames once upon a time, and I got round it by renaming each one in turn. Then I was able to move/delete them.

With recursively nested junction points, it is not going to be the same story, as junction points only point to the original, are only aliases of the original.

A fix has been suggested here in post #1 and post #6
Stop Application Data folder replicating? Solved - Windows 7 Help Forums
Another suggestion is to use Powershell.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2018   #3
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

What you're seeing is a Junction Point, a special type of "folder" that simply references another folder somewhere else. It's nothing like a shortcut actually.
In that case, the "Application Data" junction references to the "AppData\Local" folder under your profile, which happens to be the very same folder that contains it. Therefore you open again the same folder, which obviously containst "Application Data" again, and you open it again and you get it again, and so on, it's literally an infinite loop.

The purpose of that specific junction is backwards compatibility. It's shipped in the default Windows install since Vista and newer, because that version changed the name of many well-known folders since the previous version (XP/2003), and badly designed programs will cause problems. The junction (among others) helps simulating the older file system structure for those broken programs, so they don't realize the change.

By default, those built-in junctions have the very same permissions as the real folder, except for one: you cannot traverse them, so by default you get a nice "access denied" when trying to open in Explorer. That's also done precisely so you don't get the infinite recursion you're talking about. But if you change the permissions you can get it as you've seen yourself. There is no real need to do anything to the permissions though, it's normal and expected to get those messages.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JohnDohe View Post
I further suspect that this is done intentionally by someone knowing windows filename length limitations, which leads
me to suspect foul play at play.
Well, yes, that's intentional by someone knowing the Windows limitations, it was done by the Windows development team completely on purpose
But as said above, it was for a good reason, no hacker is behind that.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JohnDohe View Post
All the subfolder shortcuts are subfolders of Adobe:
Look at your own screenshots again
In the first one, in the tree view, Adobe is just above Application Data, not indented away. It's a little detail, and difficult to see (one of the many things Windows 7 Explorer's is broken), but they're at the same level.
At the file list pane, the folder contents shows both Adobe and Application Data, together, not one inside another.
And at the address bar, the breadcrumbs show "AppData => Local => Application Data => Application Data => Application Data", no Adobe is in sight.
They're not subfolders of Adobe, they're siblings.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JohnDohe View Post
When I try to take ownership (using a TakeOwnership utility) I get a popup, Explorer.exe, telling me the filename is too long:
There is no need to take ownership of the junction. You're probably the owner of your entire profile anyway, and giving yourself full control defeats the protective measure of not giving the "traverse folder" permission precisely to avoid this exact situation.
There is no damage done in doing so, though.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JohnDohe View Post
Is this normal Adobe behavior?
Adobe hasn't anything to do with this. Adobe just happens to be there by pure casualty, likely because you have some Adobe software installed.
But the entire behavior is normal and expected, designed that way by Microsoft since Windows Vista.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JohnDohe View Post
Should I be worried?
Not at all, it's entirely normal. Maybe it looks annoying but it's completely normal.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JohnDohe View Post
Is there a fix?
There is nothing wrong to begin with, so there is no need to fix anything.
If having the Application Data junction bothers you, just delete it. Windows Explorer is perfectly capable of that. The only possible (and very unlikely) negative effect is that some really broken program might fail because the missing junction. I have yet to see a program failing because of that though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Oct 2018   #4
zdoe

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

old post, but i ran into this...

my command line
CACLS * /e /t /c /g Administrators:F System:F Everyone:F

fails, because it tries to access the files at the end of the infinite loop, and the file path name gets too long. what gives?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Dozens of Application Data folders nested/embedded




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