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I have a Windows XP Professional SP 3. In my C drive, I have a lot of folders which I do not know why they exist. Sample these names -

  1. 1da9de11ed14f5da3b6ace4e25f5
  2. a0332ef3abcaf03e49

What are they? Why are they created? Can I delete them?

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The weird thing is that windows update does not use windows temp, instead it creates the folders on my storage drives... – Daniel May 16 '14 at 16:47
Windows is basically a hoarder. Brought to you by the guys who thought "let's put our system update files on whatever external hard drive the user may have connected". – basic6 Jul 2 '15 at 15:25
up vote 15 down vote accepted

These are most likely leftovers from the installation process and it is safe to remove them.

However, just in case, I would first create a temporary directory on the same disk and move them into it. If no bad effects happen for several days, then they can be safely deleted.

If you get the "Access is Denied" error message even if you are the administrator, you will need to take control of these folders. For that, see the following article:

How to take ownership of a file or a folder in Windows XP

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Wow. Absolutely fantastic. You just know what problems I run into! Thanks! – Kanini Apr 13 '10 at 2:07

I'm pretty sure they are files left over after an update. You don't need them anymore.

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you might also want to look at MSIZAP and how to recover space from orhpaned installs and hotfixes you are never going to remove : MSIZAP and orphaned cached windows installer data files. Can clean up these funny files and if your system is old enough a ton of disk space. on an older XP machine I got back 40GB one time.

the short of it is to get MSIZAP.exe from and run it with MSIZAP G! and its done.

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