C:\ProgramData\Application Data is not accessible

danherbon used Ask the Experts™
This is driving me nuts. On my Exchange server I'm having space issues. Using diruse I tracked down 41 gigs of space being taken up in the C:\ProgramData\Application Data folder. If I give myself permissions to read/execute on that folder, it just keeps opening up a chain of the same folder over and over again. EX: "C:\ProgramData\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data" upon double-clicking within explorer.

How do I gain access and pinpoint where this 41 gigs of space is being taken up. I keep reading about Junction Points but I'm still not able to figure out where the C:\ProgramData\Application Data is pointing to.

Thanks again for your hlep. I'm about to pull my hair out.

The folder keeps pointing back to itself
C:\ProgramData>dir /a:s
 Volume in drive C has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is D0C9-0A59

 Directory of C:\ProgramData

01/19/2008  10:23 AM    <JUNCTION>     Application Data [C:\ProgramData]
01/19/2008  10:23 AM    <JUNCTION>     Desktop [C:\Users\Public\Desktop]
01/19/2008  10:23 AM    <JUNCTION>     Documents [C:\Users\Public\Documents]
01/19/2008  10:23 AM    <JUNCTION>     Favorites [C:\Users\Public\Favorites]
12/29/2010  11:24 AM    <DIR>          Microsoft
01/18/2011  12:26 PM            30,610 ntuser.pol
01/19/2008  10:23 AM    <JUNCTION>     Start Menu [C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Wind
ows\Start Menu]
01/19/2008  10:23 AM    <JUNCTION>     Templates [C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windo
               1 File(s)         30,610 bytes
               7 Dir(s)  17,461,456,896 bytes free

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"C:\ProgramData\Application Data" points to "C:\ProgramData".  That is, it is simply a loopback junction that points back to the parent folder.   Thus the infinite loop if you attempt to traverse it.

Ignore Application Data and concentrate on the other non-Junction folders under ProgramData.


So I should go through the folders within the ProgramData folder to figure out where the space issue is?
Yes.  For this sort of problem I usually open an administrative (UAC-enabled) command console and run du -l 1.  The du (Disk Usage) console can be downloaded from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896651.  It runs very fast and knows to skip junction points.   The switch -l 1 reports disk usage of the immediate child folders.  Usually one folder will jump out and be obviously huge.  At that point type cd BadFolder and run du -l 1 again.  Repeat until you traverse down to the deepest offending folder.

Or open EXPLORER.EXE (again in UAC Administrative mode), drill down to Computer -> C: -> ProgrmaData, then right-click on each non-locked folder (no lock icon) and select Properties.  (The locked folders are junction points, which you should ignore.)  The size of the folder will be displayed.  Repeat for each folder until you find the offending folder.  Then click to open it and repeat.  This method is slower but does not require running any console commands.

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