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In this question it is asked and answered why mysterious folders appear at the root of my D-drive periodically, named e849ad3686d570a415, 57431c392d6db70ad5bfcd1a6676a241, etc, containing folders like i386 and amd64: they're leftovers from Windows updates. It is also explained there that it is safe to delete those folders.

In fact, there are more similar/related questions:

None of these questions or their answers explain how to prevent it from happening, apart from the obvious conclusion to just disable the root cause (Windows update) entirely.

So my specific question then is: How can I stop this from happening, without resorting to rigorous solutions such as disabling Windows Update, moving over to Linux, etc., and without resorting to creating an after-the-fact solution (e.g. a scheduled task to delete these folders)? Is that possible?

What I've tried so far is looking for a way to find out what specific process generates these folders so I can narrow my search for a solution. I've found this question on ServerFault about a general way to find out such things, but it isn't very helpful. I've tried checking who the owner of those folders is, but MY-PC\Administrators doesn't tell me much either. I've tried dir e849ad3686d570a415 | format-list * in Powershell, but it tells me nothing of interest. I've Googled around but that mainly leads to aforementioned question.

Bottom line:
How can I stop these folders from appearing? Removing them by hand is getting pretty old and writing a script or task to do this periodically "feels dirty".

  • Thx for the tips (hadn't seen those yet), but they are not duplicates as the accepted answers indicate the actual question was either "are these folders harmful?", "wat are those folders?" or "can I delete those folders?". My question is different: I want to know how I can find out what is causing these folders to appear and how I can eliminate the cause. – Jeroen Feb 20 '14 at 16:58
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    As several of the other answers point out: It's Windows Update (or possible another updater) that hasn't cleaned up after itself. If you really want to audit the folder for what's adding these, turn on and setup Folder/File Auditing and wait until another appears, then use the audit logs to track it down. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Feb 20 '14 at 17:17
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    Thx, good to know! I couldn't quite distill that from those other answers. Second part of my question remains: how do I stop it from happening? – Jeroen Feb 21 '14 at 10:41
  • Turn off Windows Updates. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Feb 21 '14 at 14:09
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Some redistributable installers and/or updates from Microsoft extract their files to a subdirectory (or even root directory!) of the drive with the most free space or your system drive. You cannot do anything to stop this, because it’s the installers’ fault. The only “workaround” would be not to install or update anything.

  • Thanks DanielB for taking the time to answer. The bounty was automatically removed by the system when our mod @random found a question that is a duplicate. Though it saddens me to learn all we can do is put up with this, it does mean your answer is correct. I can't open a bounty anymore (to "reward existing answer" here) as my question's closed, so you'll have to make do with +1, an accept, and my gratitude. – Jeroen Jun 6 '14 at 6:25
  • No worries. :-) – Daniel B Jun 6 '14 at 6:43
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My answer to the post Windows Updates Folders (With Strange Names) in C drive hasn't changed :

These are left-overs from Windows Update.

(This post is actually a duplicate.)

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    I appreciate your help, but I must respectfully disagree. This is not a duplicate. The other question asks and gets answers to what the folders are, and if it's safe to remove them. I want to know how to prevent these folders from appearing. The other question and answer do not address that. – Jeroen Jun 5 '14 at 7:43
  • Although you down-voted me, this question is also answered here: Disable Windows Update and these folders will not appear again. However, Metro updates are unblockable. With all due respect, for disabling Windows Update - this cure is worse than the problem of having some funny-named folders that are easily deleted. – harrymc Jun 5 '14 at 8:26
  • The downvote is for the answer, as it's not useful to me and IMHO is not an actual answer to the question posed (my question is not a duplicate). It's certainly not personal, like I said: I appreciate your help! - The curse you talk about (disabling updates) is of course not an option (I -perhaps mistakenly- didn't mention it in the question, figuring that this would be a given). If your comment holds true, then @DanielB's answer would sadly be an actual answer to my question: "you cannot do anything to stop this". – Jeroen Jun 5 '14 at 8:53
  • If my comment holds true, then sadly your post is duplicate. – harrymc Jun 5 '14 at 8:55
  • Where in that supposed duplicate question is asked "how to prevent it from happening"? Nowhere. Where in the supposed duplicate is there an answer that explains "you cannot do anything to stop this"? Nowhere. ... But perhaps we should just agree to disagree ;-) – Jeroen Jun 5 '14 at 9:04

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