Numerous Layers of "Application Data" in Users\All Users may be causing bloat


FrankE

Member
Local time
3:31 AM
Posts
2
OS
Windows 11 23H2
Win Filesystem:
In C:\Users\All Users there is a folder called "Application Data" for some reason with a space in the filename, as has "All Users" directory (not the best of practices) . There's No "AppData" directory in "All Users"
When I open "Application data" directory there are a bunch of folders for various applications, as expected BUT another "Application Data" directory. What is in the top level Application Data is in the this next level down Application Data directory too and in the one below...
From thereonafter it's turtles all the way down. 🐢🐢🐢
I stopped counting at 20 layers of nested Application Data directories but continuing crashed Explorer.

I'm not sure if the directories contain files or if it's shortcuts (to a long scenic route), pointers, symbolic links or what have you. I'm no coder, BTW.
What could be causing this? A third party software application? If so how might I trace that?
Windows misconfiguration?

As getting to the bottom layer crashes Explorer I can't copy from there to the top layer and overwrite after comparing directories and files.
Can I just delete lower layers. I'm reluctant to as even though I think they all contain the same data I can't be sure if some application has written to the bottom layer (which I can't get to, let alone open as it crashes Explorer).

Is it something to do with the directory name having no space? Then Third party developer missed quotations?
The folder when I could check properties (I can't now) was 950 GB - excessive as I keep most of my data on other drives.

I reinstalled Win 11 on Saturday night, updated today and checked integrity with SFC and DISM. Before reinstalling there were 9 levels of nesting, now >20.
Any suggestions please?Application Data Application Data.jpg
 
Windows Build/Version
Windows 11 Pro, 23H2, 22631.3672, Windows Feature Experience Pack 1000.22700.1009.0

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Various
    CPU
    i4790K
    Motherboard
    Asus Z97 MkII
    Memory
    32GB (4x8) Corsair
    Graphics Card(s)
    GTX 770 on 8 lane port, (looking for a 16 lane port, correct footprint, with latch)
    Sound Card
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    2TB system, apps SSD (old type not nvme). Mobo has no Nvme.
    PSU
    Corsair 750W
    Case
    Obsidian
    Cooling
    Can't remember name but it runs cool.
    Keyboard
    Wireless Logitech, Using Advent wired as faultfinding IRQ probs.
    Mouse
    MX Master 3 via LogiBolt transceiver.
    Other Info
    It's nearly 10 y/o. It does me for e-mails, web, LibreOfficebut TPM 2, NVMe, DDR4 came out soon after I bought this. No doubt if I upgrade now PCIe 6, DDR6, TPM 3 will release soon after, with OS restrictions for 'legacy' hardware.
Make copies of your data and a clean install of Windows.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Microsoft Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    MSI MS-7D98
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-13490F
    Motherboard
    MSI B760 GAMING PLUS WIFI
    Memory
    2 x 16 Patriot Memory (PDP Systems) PSD516G560081
    Graphics Card(s)
    GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 4070 WINDFORCE OC 12G (GV-N4070WF3OC-12GD)
    Sound Card
    Bluetooth Аудио
    Monitor(s) Displays
    INNOCN 15K1F
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    WD_BLACK SN770 250GB
    KINGSTON SNV2S1000G (ELFK0S.6)
    PSU
    Thermaltake Toughpower GF3 1000W
    Case
    CG560 - DeepCool
    Cooling
    ID-COOLING SE-224-XTS / 2 x 140Mm Fan - rear and top; 3 x 120Mm - front
    Keyboard
    Corsair K70 RGB TKL
    Mouse
    Corsair KATAR PRO XT
    Internet Speed
    100 Mbps
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender Antivirus
    Other Info
    https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/66553205
Hi, Frank, welcome to the ElevenForums 🙏

I’m with abactuon on that one. Backup and start over. How does that even happen?
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 Build: 22631.3880
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Sin-built
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz (4th Gen?)
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus VI Formula
    Memory
    32.0 GB of I forget and the box is in storage.
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte nVidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super OC 6GB
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    4 x LG 23MP75 1 x 24" LG M38H 1 x 32" LF6300 TV Monitor 1 x Wacom Pro 22" Tablet
    Screen Resolution
    All over the place
    Hard Drives
    2 x WD something Something 8TB HDD's / 2 x WD something Something 4TB HDD's / 1 x EVO 1TB SSD / 2 x QVO 1TB SSD's / 1 x EVO 250 GB SSD / 2 x QVO 1TB (External Hub) / 1 x EVO 1TB (Portable Backup Case)
    PSU
    Silverstone 1500
    Case
    NZXT Phantom 820 Full-Tower Case
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 Elite Class Dual Tower CPU Cooler / 6 x EziDIY 120mm / 2 x Corsair 140mm somethings / 1 x 140mm Thermaltake something / 2 x 200mm Corsair.
    Keyboard
    Corsair K95 / Logitech diNovo Edge Wireless
    Mouse
    Logitech G402 / G502 / Mx Masters / MX Air Cordless
    Internet Speed
    100/40Mbps
    Browser
    All sorts
    Antivirus
    Kaspersky Premium
    Other Info
    I’m on a horse.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro 22621.2215
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    LENOVO Yoga 7i EVO OLED 14" Touchscreen i5 12 Core 16GB/512GB
    CPU
    Intel Core 12th Gen i5-1240P Processor (1.7 - 4.4GHz)
    Memory
    16GB LPDDR5 RAM
    Graphics card(s)
    Graphics processor is an Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    optimized with Dolby Atmos®
    Screen Resolution
    QHD 2880 x 1800 OLED
    Hard Drives
    M.2 512GB
    Other Info
    …still on a horse.
C:\Users\All Users is not a folder; it's a symbolic link to C:\ProgramData. If you look in ProgramData, you'll see the same contents.

Powershell:
    Directory: C:\Users

Mode                 LastWriteTime         Length Name
----                 -------------         ------ ----
l--hs            5/6/2022 10:41 PM                All Users -> C:\ProgramData

As is the Application Data "folder" inside All Users.

Powershell:
    Directory: C:\Users\All Users

Mode                 LastWriteTime         Length Name
----                 -------------         ------ ----
l--hs           5/30/2024  9:19 PM                Application Data -> C:\ProgramData

When I open "Application data" directory there are a bunch of folders for various applications, as expected BUT another "Application Data" directory. What is in the top level Application Data is in the this next level down Application Data directory too and in the one below...

[snip]

What could be causing this? A third party software application? If so how might I trace that?
Windows misconfiguration?

By default, the Application Data symbolic link has a deny ACE on it for Everyone, to prevent users from opening it and listing its contents. So the fact that you're even browsing it suggests you or some other app modified the permissions on at least this entry, which shouldn't have been done.

I reinstalled Win 11 on Saturday night, updated today and checked integrity with SFC and DISM. Before reinstalling there were 9 levels of nesting, now >20.

Did you install any third-party apps afterward? Or did you mess with the file system permissions?
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC12WSHi7
    CPU
    12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P, 2100 MHz
    Motherboard
    NUC12WSBi7
    Memory
    64 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    built-in Realtek HD audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U3219Q
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160 @ 60Hz
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 990 PRO 1TB
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Clears
  • Operating System
    Linux Mint 21.2 (Cinnamon)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC8i5BEH
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8259U CPU @ 2.30GHz
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Iris Plus 655
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard - Cherry MX Clear
Application Data is a Junction or Hard Link. It points to AppData. Did you play with any permissions on any of your system folders, like a deny permission or changed any part of the security settings?
Regardless, I’d start over. Or you could try some old software called ”Junction Box” but I have never used it.
It’s available on sourceforge .net.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 Build: 22631.3880
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Sin-built
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz (4th Gen?)
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus VI Formula
    Memory
    32.0 GB of I forget and the box is in storage.
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte nVidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super OC 6GB
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    4 x LG 23MP75 1 x 24" LG M38H 1 x 32" LF6300 TV Monitor 1 x Wacom Pro 22" Tablet
    Screen Resolution
    All over the place
    Hard Drives
    2 x WD something Something 8TB HDD's / 2 x WD something Something 4TB HDD's / 1 x EVO 1TB SSD / 2 x QVO 1TB SSD's / 1 x EVO 250 GB SSD / 2 x QVO 1TB (External Hub) / 1 x EVO 1TB (Portable Backup Case)
    PSU
    Silverstone 1500
    Case
    NZXT Phantom 820 Full-Tower Case
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 Elite Class Dual Tower CPU Cooler / 6 x EziDIY 120mm / 2 x Corsair 140mm somethings / 1 x 140mm Thermaltake something / 2 x 200mm Corsair.
    Keyboard
    Corsair K95 / Logitech diNovo Edge Wireless
    Mouse
    Logitech G402 / G502 / Mx Masters / MX Air Cordless
    Internet Speed
    100/40Mbps
    Browser
    All sorts
    Antivirus
    Kaspersky Premium
    Other Info
    I’m on a horse.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro 22621.2215
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    LENOVO Yoga 7i EVO OLED 14" Touchscreen i5 12 Core 16GB/512GB
    CPU
    Intel Core 12th Gen i5-1240P Processor (1.7 - 4.4GHz)
    Memory
    16GB LPDDR5 RAM
    Graphics card(s)
    Graphics processor is an Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    optimized with Dolby Atmos®
    Screen Resolution
    QHD 2880 x 1800 OLED
    Hard Drives
    M.2 512GB
    Other Info
    …still on a horse.
@FrankE

You shouldn't be able to open C:\Users\All Users\Application Data

Image1.png



If you took ownership of that folder, you may have broken something.

Some folders you can get away with taking ownership, some you can't.
Most of us that experiment with Windows, use backup software.
That way, when we break something, it's easy to fix.... just restore from a previous backup.



Here are some things that might help on your Windows 11 journey....



 
Last edited:

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win 11 Home ♦♦♦22631.3880 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Built by Ghot® [May 2020]
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
    Motherboard
    Asus Pro WS X570-ACE (BIOS 4702)
    Memory
    G.Skill (F4-3200C14D-16GTZKW)
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA RTX 2070 (08G-P4-2171-KR)
    Sound Card
    Realtek ALC1220P / ALC S1220A
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U3011 30"
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1600
    Hard Drives
    2x Samsung 860 EVO 500GB,
    WD 4TB Black FZBX - SATA III,
    WD 8TB Black FZBX - SATA III,
    DRW-24B1ST CD/DVD Burner
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling 750W Quad EPS12V
    Case
    Cooler Master ATCS 840 Tower
    Cooling
    CM Hyper 212 EVO (push/pull)
    Keyboard
    Ducky DK9008 Shine II Blue LED
    Mouse
    Logitech Optical M-100
    Internet Speed
    300/300
    Browser
    Firefox (latest)
    Antivirus
    Bitdefender Internet Security
    Other Info
    Speakers: Klipsch Pro Media 2.1
  • Operating System
    Windows XP Pro 32bit w/SP3
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Built by Ghot® (not in use)
    CPU
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (OC'd @ 3.2Ghz)
    Motherboard
    ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition
    Memory
    TWIN2X2048-6400C4DHX (2 x 1GB, DDR2 800)
    Graphics card(s)
    EVGA 256-P2-N758-TR GeForce 8600GT SSC
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic G90FB Black 19" Professional (CRT)
    Screen Resolution
    up to 2048 x 1536
    Hard Drives
    WD 36GB 10,000rpm Raptor SATA
    Seagate 80GB 7200rpm SATA
    Lite-On LTR-52246S CD/RW
    Lite-On LH-18A1P CD/DVD Burner
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad EPS12V
    Case
    Generic Beige case, 80mm fans
    Cooling
    ZALMAN 9500A 92mm CPU Cooler
    Mouse
    Logitech Optical M-BT96a
    Keyboard
    Logitech Classic Keybooard 200
    Internet Speed
    300/300
    Browser
    Firefox 3.x ??
    Antivirus
    Symantec (Norton)
    Other Info
    Still assembled, still runs. Haven't turned it on for 13 years?
Make copies of your data and a clean install of Windows.
I'm thinking that, or (somewhat optimistically) was thinking to reinstall all application software to overwrite permissions or live with it until new build time, install on a freshly-formatted disc, install applications and copy settings, configs and data over the network to new machine.
ACLs must be all over the shop.
There's the same nest of Application Data\Application Data\Application Data in C:\ProgramData I had to go in there to find and restore a database and settings. That was months ago.
I backed up the Users and ProgramData directories on Saturday night with Robocopy before installing Windows 11. I had to reinstall MP3Tag and restore settings from myusername%APPDATA%\Mp3tag
There aren't many software apllications on my pc, there's only my a/c and Administrator, no guest a/c as I don't want potential guests interfering with my settings..So I'm looking at software that installs for all users. Software that is listed in all users\Application Data and not in corresponding directories under my own username to find the offending software?
Maybe that piece of software that works for a bit, stops working and I have to reinstall using Python commands from instruction sheet because it was a Linux programme. I have my suspicions. My next port of call was to ask on their forum if anyone has had the same issue.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Various
    CPU
    i4790K
    Motherboard
    Asus Z97 MkII
    Memory
    32GB (4x8) Corsair
    Graphics Card(s)
    GTX 770 on 8 lane port, (looking for a 16 lane port, correct footprint, with latch)
    Sound Card
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    2TB system, apps SSD (old type not nvme). Mobo has no Nvme.
    PSU
    Corsair 750W
    Case
    Obsidian
    Cooling
    Can't remember name but it runs cool.
    Keyboard
    Wireless Logitech, Using Advent wired as faultfinding IRQ probs.
    Mouse
    MX Master 3 via LogiBolt transceiver.
    Other Info
    It's nearly 10 y/o. It does me for e-mails, web, LibreOfficebut TPM 2, NVMe, DDR4 came out soon after I bought this. No doubt if I upgrade now PCIe 6, DDR6, TPM 3 will release soon after, with OS restrictions for 'legacy' hardware.
The permissions on C:\Users\All Users won't be fixed by application reinstallation - this is set by Windows during install, and as such, will more than likely need a re-install.

By default, the Application Data symbolic link has a deny ACE on it for Everyone, to prevent users from opening it and listing its contents. So the fact that you're even browsing it suggests you or some other app modified the permissions on at least this entry, which shouldn't have been done.

One thing you could try is an in-place 'upgrade' to try to reset Windows without losing your currently installed apps and data.


At this point it's well worth a shot, since it would take a lot less time than a full clean install, including backing up app settings from numerous locations, reinstalling Windows, then reinstalling your apps and finally restoring your settings. Now, I do this often enough that I have a good routine down, plus I have multiple internal drives and split \Users from the system drive to a separate physical drive, so it's a lot easier for me. But even I've found that sometimes, an in-place upgrade to repair Windows is just a better way to go.

If you do decide to go this route, be sure to use a Windows Installation ISO that is at least the same build as you're running now, (newer is OK). If you need to get a specific version ISO, check out the UUPDUMP tutorial which takes you step by step on how to make one:


Also, unless you set Explorer to show all hidden files, including protected os files, you should not see \All Users in the first place.

I have mine set to show hidden files but Hide protected os files, as such:

Screenshot 2024-05-31 012150.png

If you explicitly uncheck that box, then you can see both \All Users and even \Default User, and that is even before you start looking at permissions to access those normally inaccessible folders like \Application Data.


Screenshot 2024-05-31 012138.png

If the in-place upgrade works, you might then be able to track down which application did this, assuming it was one of them....
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2 Current build
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HomeBrew
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
    Motherboard
    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE
    Memory
    4 * 32 GB - Corsair Vengeance 3600 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti XC3 ULTRA GAMING (12G-P5-3955-KR)
    Sound Card
    Realtek® ALC1220 Codec
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2x Eve Spectrum ES07D03 4K Gaming Monitor (Matte) | Eve Spectrum ES07DC9 4K Gaming Monitor (Glossy)
    Screen Resolution
    3x 3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    3x Samsung 980 Pro NVMe PCIe 4 M.2 2 TB SSD (MZ-V8P2T0B/AM) } 3x Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 1 TB SSD (USB)
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling’s Silencer Series 1050 Watt, 80 Plus Platinum
    Case
    Fractal Design Define 7 XL Dark ATX Full Tower Case
    Cooling
    Arctic Liquid Freezer III 420 RGB + Air 3x 140mm case fans (pull front) + 1x 120 mm (push back) and 1 x 120 mm (pull bottom)
    Keyboard
    SteelSeries Apex Pro Wired Gaming Keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3S | MX Master 3 for Business
    Internet Speed
    AT&T LightSpeed Gigabit Duplex Ftth
    Browser
    Nightly (default) + Firefox (stable), Chrome, Edge , Arc
    Antivirus
    Defender + MB 5 Beta
  • Operating System
    ChromeOS Flex Dev Channel (current)
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Latitude E5470
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-6300U CPU @ 2.40GHz, 2501 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
    Motherboard
    Dell
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 520
    Sound Card
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 520 + RealTek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell laptop display 15"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 * 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 128GB M.2 22300 drive
    INTEL Cherryville 520 Series SSDSC2CW180A 180 GB SATA III SSD
    PSU
    Dell
    Case
    Dell
    Cooling
    Dell
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3S (shared w. Sys 1) | Dell TouchPad
    Keyboard
    Dell
    Internet Speed
    AT&T LightSpeed Gigabit Duplex Ftth

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