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-   -   Bizarre folder; 29,382 files at 0 bytes? (https://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/general-computer-support/14215-bizarre-folder-29-382-files-at-0-bytes.html)

Anablephobia 01. Oct 2014 01:09 AM

Bizarre folder; 29,382 files at 0 bytes?
 
Good evening. Hope everyone is having a wonderful day. I have a question that perhaps someone could help with.

There's this folder that's been on my computer since April located at C:\. I've searched for it on search engines, which don't present a result for it. I've done full system scans with Spybot, Emsisoft Anti-Malware, Malwarebytes, Norton, Super Anti-Spyware, Avast!, Avira, Panda Cloud and Bitdefender, which have reported no problems on this system (except for various false positives). The individual folder itself has been scanned with Spybot, Malwarebytes, Norton and Super Anti-Spyware, again, the folder was declared safe. Have used Kaspersky's TDSSKiller with all options enabled and that just came back with false positives from an old CD burning software I haven't uninstalled yet that came with the computer. Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit is always running and has blocked 2 exploits, both of which happened when going to the Microsoft Update site in I.E., so nothing is being exploited.

So, it's safe to say the folder is, well, safe. But it's bizarre. The folder is named F4tUUuGzL1[)D(l}6+axDuqJ2)sajD)d and contains 29,382 files but it takes up no room at a total of 0 bytes. The files don't seem to be associated with anything and they all have the same icon. Here are two screen caps (all I have is imgur, hope that is fine):

https://i.imgur.com/5m1uikh.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/2IzuT80.jpg

After right clicking > View > Details to check out the dates when created and modified, every last file was created April 15th, 2014 between the times of 4:51 AM and 4:57 AM, so all on the same date and within 6 minutes of each other. It's just so odd.

Does anyone know what this folder could be or what it's from? Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.

Very sorry for the wall of words. I figured it'd be best to be detailed. If it means anything, my comp is Windows XP SP3 (yeah, I know, time to move on but procrastination is strong). Any other info, just ask and I'll post a screen cap of Speccy.

Thank you very much for your time and again, apologies for the wall of text.

P.S. Thank you so much for reviewing and bringing Geek Uninstaller, Clean Mem and Auslogics Disk Defrag to my attention. I don't know what I'd do without them, especially Clean Mem since this comp only has 1GB of RAM. Clean Mem has been a big help.

Remah 01. Oct 2014 02:24 AM

Zero byte files are not necessarily empty even if Windows Explorer thinks they are.

One of the main reasons is that they may require a specific driver or application to view them correctly:
  • they are probably encrypted or hashed in some way, ie. what you see requires a key to convert it to the correct file name
  • they can be metadata, in other words, descriptions stored in the file names which can be used for other purposes. In this case this appears unlikely but it remains a possibility.

I don't recognize the filenames. You might be able to work out the software that did this by:
  • remembering what happened at that date and time.
  • search for other files modified or created on that same date
  • check the installed programs list to see if there is a program which could have done this. You can also check the installed date to see if it matches or is near.
  • checking the Windows logs if they go back to that date and time to see what was happening then.
  • find if their was a program that has since been uninstalled by running a registry cleaner check that will list all the possible changes without actual cleaning the registry. This should show you any left-over entries from programs (including drivers) that have been uninstalled.

Burn-IT 01. Oct 2014 12:25 PM

I think you will find that they are MS install files for .net
I had loads of them and I deleted mine with no bad effects - but check first as I may be wrong.

Anablephobia 02. Oct 2014 05:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Remah (Post 103458)
Zero byte files are not necessarily empty even if Windows Explorer thinks they are.

One of the main reasons is that they may require a specific driver or application to view them correctly:
  • they are probably encrypted or hashed in some way, ie. what you see requires a key to convert it to the correct file name
  • they can be metadata, in other words, descriptions stored in the file names which can be used for other purposes. In this case this appears unlikely but it remains a possibility.

I don't recognize the filenames. You might be able to work out the software that did this by:
  • remembering what happened at that date and time.
  • search for other files modified or created on that same date
  • check the installed programs list to see if there is a program which could have done this. You can also check the installed date to see if it matches or is near.
  • checking the Windows logs if they go back to that date and time to see what was happening then.
  • find if their was a program that has since been uninstalled by running a registry cleaner check that will list all the possible changes without actual cleaning the registry. This should show you any left-over entries from programs (including drivers) that have been uninstalled.

Thank you very much for your quick response, Remah. Out of your suggestions, the only one that provided info, it seems, was the Windows Logs. On the date them files were created and around the same time, something was going on with Norton Anti-Virus. Norton did something at 3:26 AM and then again at 5:12 AM. The files can't be from Norton, though. Can they? Each file name seems to be the same length and after copy & paste one of the file names into a character counter it came out to 220 characters. One long stream of letters, numbers and symbols. An example of one of the file names: ]'516b {U0NesbFN2]wDXUDXMYGNu}DFPwIKcDCN`N]~m(CHXETdh-8No(Bde__p)'rN7jRaEQshKdy9hl98mHo~(FTj'2h6aAiV(e{C W~L)5q8,vyHaFE2'vgzbAcN8yY(dv(RxQ-7vJ2+w4cNF(~_NLgdDg6hkz=1!VaQDvd[SM2Kp(4teA5R5 [rKrZ!M85AWy4kPl`Z60W(IITJBCU,1MZN

Honestly, looking at all the files after right click > View > Details, it looks like code. Like military or alien code you'd see in movies.

I was wondering if I cut and pasted the folder and files onto an external harddrive, maybe the program that's using them will present an error prompt? The only thing wrong with that is if they are .net install files like Burn-IT said, it might cause serious issues.

Do you happen to know of any site where I could upload one of these files to find out exactly what it is? Some anti-virus companies allow you to upload potentially harmful files.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Burn-IT (Post 103502)
I think you will find that they are MS install files for .net
I had loads of them and I deleted mine with no bad effects - but check first as I may be wrong.

Thank you for your response. If they were MS files, wouldn't they be in the Windows folder? Do you know how I would be able to check to see if they're MS files? They couldn't have been from a Windows Update since this comp's OS is XP and support ended on April 8th and the files are from April 15th. Since support has ended, the only updates have been the Spyware Removal Tool.

Remah 02. Oct 2014 06:22 AM

Generally, only the Windows operating system installs to the Windows folder. Most Microsoft applications install to the program files folder just like any other application.

Personally, I would aim to delete them if I can't find out what they are.

If you want to make sure that you're not dependent on them,as you've already suggested yourself, moving the folder into another folder is a good idea. You can wait a month to see if anything notices they're gone.

If it won't move then that means an application or Windows is preventing it and you can find out which.

Burn-IT 02. Oct 2014 02:22 PM

I looked into mine when I got them and confirmed that mine were .net temporary install files.
I was a Microsoft MVP at the time and confirmed that MS were aware that .net(MS) did not necessarily follow the conventional rules. Any new program that is installed that uses .net will likely create files in this folder since the executable .net is effectively re-linked with the .net executables that have been configured for your hardware.
I delete mine after they have been there a few weeks and have no problems.

Anablephobia 07. Oct 2014 01:03 AM

Thank you very much, Remah and Burn-IT, for your quick responses. Unfortunately, Thursday, the CPU of the comp with the folder in question overheated and died. It shutdown on its own during a virus scan and upon trying to turn it back on it made beeping noises that sounded like a British ambulance siren (4 or 6 beeps in total, can't recall if 4 or 6) and immediately shutdown. I tried multiple times to boot it back up to no avail.

Thank you again for your time, Remah and Burn-IT. Hope you have a pleasant week.

Anupam 07. Oct 2014 09:42 AM

Doesn't necessarily mean the CPU has died. Beeps can mean different things, like RAM gone bad, or CPU heating up because of its fan being clogged up, etc. It would be better if you got your system checked by a technician, or take it to a repair shop.

MidnightCowboy 07. Oct 2014 01:37 PM

As Anupam says, there could be tons of reasons for this. Some are cheap and easy to fix, others not.

There might be some hints as to your own issue here, but unless you are tech savy, a repair shop estimate is the way to go.

http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/4...ambulance.html


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