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I dual-boot Windows XP and Windows 7 and unfortunately it looks like it will not be possible to merge the user profiles of the two operating systems. Therefore whenever I clean out the cruft from my drives (e.g., unused application data folders), I have to do it for both copies.

Today I was cleaning out the Documents and Settings folders of XP and 7. Windows XP’s copy is fine and contains the user profile directories as expected, but Windows 7’s copy is empty. I can cd into it and navigate to it in Explorer but there is nothing in it.

I thought it is supposed to point to Users, and thus “contain” the user profile directories, but I cannot find any confirmation to that effect.

What does the Documents and Settings junction point to and why is it empty?

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Although Documents and Settings is a junction point, it's not one designed to be read through. It's for compatibility. It does point at Users, and if you have, say, Users\Synetech, Documents and Settings\Synetech will get to the same spot. They really don't want you to use it though, and so the make it a hassle to do so, by making it appear empty (really, they took the read permission off of it).

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