Sub-Folders of "Temporary Internet Files" are super-hidden

Posted on 2007-07-23
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hi Experts, This is a strange one.

I noticed that the SUB-folders of my:
C:\Documents and Settings\<MyName>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
folder seemed to have vanished.  For instance, the "Content.IE5" folder (and obviously its sub-folders) as well as other sub-folders of the TIF folder that I know should be there.

The Temporary Internet Files folder still caches files normally, and they delete normally via Control Panel > Internet Options method.

I am fully aware of the Folder Options > View settings, and I always have that set to show all files, so that is not the issue here.

I believe that the Temporary Internet Files folder has lost its attributes somehow and is hiding content in a similar way to how the C:\Windows\Downloaded Program Files folder hides contents.

From a command window, I am able to see the folders as detailed below:
..\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\ (sub-folders below):
         0F77EKH5 <--------- normal internet cached files
         2PBS5KNQ <--------- normal internet cached files
         JNPRJPKW <--------- normal internet cached files
         M7I3252F <--------- normal internet cached files
..\Temporary Internet Files\Content.MSO
..\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word
..\Temporary Internet Files\FrontPageTempDir
..\Temporary Internet Files\IA2RU1JV <--- sub-folders contain "offline files"
..\Temporary Internet Files\OIS <-------------- empty

I can change directory from the command prompt into all of these folders and sub-folders, and list their contents.

I can EDIT or TYPE the following Desktop.ini files, which all have the Hidden and System attributes set:
\Temporary Internet Files\desktop.ini
\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\desktop.ini
\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\0F77EKH5\desktop.ini
\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\2PBS5KNQ\desktop.ini
\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\M7I3252F\desktop.ini

When Typed or Edited, they all contain the following, which appears standard to me:


That is the CLSID for "Temporary Internet Files" as indicated in the following registry settings from my system (simplified *.reg file):

@ = Temporary Internet Files

@ = (hex value equiv to) %SystemRoot%\System32\shdocvw.dll,-20780

@ = (hex value equiv to) %SystemRoot%\System32\shdocvw.dll

"Attributes"= dword:20000004 (0x20000004)

The Index.dat file is listed on a DIR command under the Content.IE5 folder, and having copied it out to a neutral folder and viewed it in notepad, it contains the expected header info: "Client UrlCache MMF Ver 5.2", so I don't think it's malformed or corrupt.  I haven't tried deleting it yet.

So, although I cannot see ANY sub-folders under my Temporary Internet Files folder, the content is still there.

How do I restore it so that I can see the sub-folders and their content?

Could someone perhaps verify that the "Attributes" value in my registry is correct:

"Attributes"= dword:20000004 (0x20000004)

Do you think that re-registering C:\Windows\System32\shdocvw.dll with regsvr32 will restore whatever attributes are missing or messed up?

Should I delete \Content.IE5\Index.dat and/or all of the desktop.ini files to see if that fixes it?

Maybe someone knows of a "fix" file that I can download which restores all default settings for the Temporary Internet Files folder?

I am NOT keen to format and reinstall Windows at this stage as I have too much data tied up on it that I am shuffling between drives.

Thanks in advance

Question by:BillDL
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    The attributes value seems to be okay.
    Re-registering C:\Windows\System32\shdocvw.dll won't hurt - but probably will not resolve this fully.
    Deleting the DAT files is not going to make a difference to the attributes of the parent folders.
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    Have you tried resetting the atributes with attrib +H /S /D <file path>?
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Hi Bill,

    Are you using Linux or a linux shell on that machine by per chance?
    Reason I'm asking is this is part of the ONLY google hit I get from searching for Attributes"= dword:20000004

    Yup no closing quote.

    DLL" "ThreadingModel"="Apartment" [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\CLSID\{7BD29E00-76C1-11CF-9DD0-00A0C9034933}\ShellFolder] "Attributes"=dword:20000004

    It seems to point to a linux/python version of IE and would explain what you are seeing.

    LVL 16

    Accepted Solution

    Even MS Outlook uses this space to store temp files in the OLK directory ...

    I think this is how it is meant to be..

    from Another link...

    View Hidden Temporary Internet Folders

    When opening an attachment to an email (like a Word or Excel document, a copy of the file (document) is stored in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\OLKxx. Files are stored at \Temporary Internet Files or at \OLKxx. The temp files in \Temporary Internet Files get deleted when you use IE, Tools, Internet Options to delete Temporary Internet Files.

    If you want to view the files in these hidden folders, you first need to find the folder name for your hidden Temporary Internet Files. Go to Outlook and open a message that has a Word or Excel attachment. Then when viewing the Word or Excel document, click on File/ Save As. The Save in: box displays a folder name like OLKxx. Write down the folder name (example: OLK79) and then cancel the window.

    Next you need to change a setting in Windows Explorer:
    Open Windows Explorer
    Select Tools/ Folder Options/ View tab
    Then in the Advanced Settings scrollable section, select the radio button 'Show hidden files and folders'.
    Click OK.

    Then go to C:\Documents and Settings\yourname\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files and then on the Address bar you need to type a '\' at the end of the address and type in your folder name 'OLKxx' and then click Go (or press Enter). The files in your OLKxx folder will now be displayed.

    You can delete these files if appropriate.
    LVL 38

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the info guys.
    I will be looking at it in more depth later.

    Terry. To address your observation about the possibility of there having been Linux present in some way on this system, the answer is no.  To my knowledge there haven't been any programs installed that use anything written in python.
    LVL 66

    Assisted Solution

    In Explorer, if you add the "Content.ie5" folder to "C:\Documents and Settings\<MyName>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files", do they show up?

    Check out the reg values on the following link...

    This is common not to be able to normally browse these folders, but you should be able to manually append the content.ie5 and see the subfolders...
    LVL 38

    Author Comment

    Hi John:

    Results from command prompt, because the Right-Click > New > Folder option is not available in the Temporary Internet Files folder in Explorer:

    C:\Documents and Settings\MyName\Local Settings>cd temporary internet files

    C:\Documents and Settings\MyName\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files>md
    A subdirectory or file Content.IE5 already exists.

    The folders all exist.  I can list them at the command prompt and access them, but I cannot see them in Windows Explorer.  Up until very recently, I have always been able to see the contents of the Content.IE5 folder and sub-folders.

    I can confirm that the "ShowSuperHidden" value in the registry key given in your linked page is set to 1 ie. enabled.  My Folder view preferences are unchanged and set as they always are, ie. to show everything.

    You mentioned earlier about trying to reset attributes.  I'll get back to you about this after I get some listings of the attributes.

    I am going to attempt to delete the "Content.IE5" folder after removing its attributes.
    LVL 66

    Expert Comment

    I know by default, Windows Does not show it for the currently logged in user, you have to manually enter it in the address bar. I saw recently somewhere there was another  *cough cough* hack method to get them to show. I believe one of them had to do with removing the contents of the desktop.ini in the TIF folder... I will see what I can dig back up in my links....
    LVL 38

    Author Comment

    John, I feel rather foolish here, and I will explain why.

    Your suggestion to open the folder by running the windows explorer command got me thinking about why I have always been able to see not only the Content.IE5 folder of my user profile, but also the sub-folders and their contents, but other people consistently report never having been able to see them.

    The reason I feel stupid about this is that I have always been in the habit of creating Windows Explorer shortcuts that open folders that I commonly access for various reasons.

    For instance, when I plug in my digital camera, I use a shortcut to open the memory card in Windows Explorer.  I also have shortcuts to various other folders for quick cleanups.

    The main reason I have such a shortcut to my Temporary Internet Files folder is so I can quickly copy out *.swf (shockwave flash) files dropped there by pages I have viewed.  It's also for sheer nosiness if I want to check out any *.js files and such like.

    Another shortcut I have to open Windows Explorer has the target set as my TEMP folder.  I like to see what installer programs have unpacked there as I run them, but before I proceed.

    So, in the end what I have had, and used for a long time without realising its significance, is a shortcut along with the others in a folder on my start menu containing this command:

    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n, /e,%homepath%\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5

    It appears that attempting to open the Content.IE5 folder via its master Temporary Internet Files folder has the effect of hiding everything other than the standard cached internet files in the root of the TIF folder which all have the Archive attribute set.

    The Desktop.ini files are, as you say, a most  significant factor responsible for this behaviour.  The <ahem!> hack method of modifying the Desktop.ini files by leaving the section header and deleting the other lines is discussed on this page:
    (you'll see in your address bar why I didn't paste the proper URL :-)

    and235100. You had a good idea about trying to reset attributes, but it just isn't allowed.  The Index.dat and Desktop.ini files resist having their attributes modified, and this hinders attempts to do what you suggested.

    Now, the most embarrassing part of this is that I totally missed the important part of the comment made early on by speshalyst.  I didn't pay enough attention to the bit at the end of the MS linked page, and also the paragraphs that mentioned the Windows Explorer Address Bar in the other linked page.  My feeble excuse for not fully appreciating what the suggestion was is that it all centred on Microsoft Office files, and I never show the Address Bar in Explorer.

    So, in the end the comments made by speshalyst and johnb6767 (in that order) contain the answer to this.  You CAN'T see your own "Content.IE5" folder, its sub-folders, and all their contents, unless you run its path through the command to open Windows Explorer on that path, and this includes entering it via the Explorer Address Bar.

    Thank you everyone for your contributions.  I will slink away and splash some cold water on my red face now :-)

    LVL 66

    Expert Comment

    LOL @ "(you'll see in your address bar why I didn't paste the proper URL :-)"

    I actually looked at that site earlier today for another thing....Love the URL...But if we were all Linux Techs, work would be a lot harder to come by....

    Glad you got the answer...

    And Thanks!!
    LVL 38

    Author Comment

    You're welcome.  Check out the hotmail address in my profile.  It's the nearest I could get that echoed my sentiments at the time, but wasn't blocked by them :-)
    LVL 66

    Expert Comment

    I like that....

    Always a pleasure seeing you around....

    Have a good night!
    LVL 38

    Author Comment

    Same to yourself, except that it's 06:07 here GMT and I should be in bed as it's a few hours since I finished work.

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