Documents and Settings folder in Windows 7 OS

Hi,
 
 I was scanning the hard drive on this particular Windows 7 PC using ESET Security software and noticed that it was scanning this folder "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Symantec\Symantec End..." folder. When I open C drive on "My Computer", I did not see "C:\Documents and Settings" folder. So I went to Folder Options and unchecked "Hide protected Operating System files" and open the security/Advanced tab on that folder to give this user permission to FULL Control. Now I can see the contents of "C:\Documents and Settings" folder. But it has the same folders found in "C:\Users" and even the size of the files and folders match that of "C:\Users".

Is the existence of the "C:\Documents and Settings"  folder by design?
Why do "C:\Documents and Settings"  and "C:\Users" have same folders and size?
I thought "C:\Documents and Settings" existed in XP OS and Windows 7 replaced it with "C:\Users".
Also can I remove Symantec Endpoint Protection folder in "C:\Documents and Settings" ? I uninstalled  Symantec Endpoint Protection  program years ago and I do not see it in Add/Remove Program, but it is in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Symantec.

Thanks.Documents and Settings FolderSymantec End Point
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sgleeAsked:
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65tdRetiredCommented:
The "Documents and Settings" folder is a symbolic links pointing to these new folders (C:\Users\%username%) for compatibility reasons.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> Is the existence of the "C:\Documents and Settings" folder by design?

Yes.

> Why do "C:\Documents and Settings" and "C:\Users" have same folders and size?

Because they are one and the same. In W7 (and it actually started in Vista), Documents and Settings is a junction point that redirects to the Users folder. You can think of Documents and Settings as a shortcut or link to Users, although there are actually differences among hard links, junctions, and symbolic links, as discussed at these Microsoft articles:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa365006(v=vs.85).aspx
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa363878(v=vs.85).aspx

> I thought "C:\Documents and Settings" existed in XP OS and Windows 7 replaced it with "C:\Users".

Correct. But for backward compatibility, W7 (and Vista, W8/8.1, W10) allow accessing Users as Documents and Settings.

Regards, Joe
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