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What The HELL?? - Windows 7 explorer

Last response: in Windows 7
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February 23, 2011 2:12:01 AM

OK, I'm not an IT pro or anything, though I consider myself far from a noob. In any case, this thing is driving me MAD and I would be grateful to anyone who can suggest a solution.

Take a close look at the linked screenshot. As you can see, there is a "BLANK NAME" folder in my C: root folder. As you can also see, its contents are identical to the actual contents of the C: root folder. Trick is, this "blank name" folder is NOT a copy, but a fake. An artifact, somehow created by Windows. Clicking on any of the folders it contains brings up the error message "blabla refers to a location that is unavailable". None of these folders can be deleted (windows cannot find the location specified).

This happened when I tried installing The Witcher Enhanced Edition. It was supposed to install to C:\TheWitcher (C: is an SSD). Immediately after the installation finished (with an error relating to the incompatibility of the Tages copy protection system), the blank folder appeared. Like I said, it cannot be browsed or deleted. Uninstalling the game also unfruitful.

I really don't want to reinstall Windows because of this crap, but it is killing me. Can't look at it. I mean, what is it? Is it friendly? Or a digital chameleon assassin alien from Mars? WTF??

The system was installed recently and is fairly well-maintained. Windows 7 HP x64. Software runs fine, no hardware problems.

I'm an atheist, but will convert to a religion named after the person who manages to solve this.



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February 23, 2011 2:30:23 AM

Update: I now see the folder name is not completely blank, it is actually a single space. Tried renaming it to see if it could be manipulated, but Windows didn't allow that saying the folder is open in another program. This happened even when booted into safe mode with all non-essential processes stopped.
February 23, 2011 2:48:12 AM

You should try Unlocker.
+1 for atheism
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a b $ Windows 7
February 23, 2011 3:04:50 AM

Have you tried running a virus scan? I've never heard of this so I can't really help. But whenever files/folders magically show up I tend to think virus.
February 23, 2011 3:11:17 AM

wribbs said:
You should try Unlocker.
+1 for atheism


Unlocker installs fine, then does nothing. Doesn't show up in right-click menu, even when started manually and with the agent running. Relog and restart do not help. :( 
February 23, 2011 3:11:53 AM

4745454b said:
Have you tried running a virus scan? I've never heard of this so I can't really help. But whenever files/folders magically show up I tend to think virus.


No viruses/malware found. I'm almost sad about that.
a b $ Windows 7
February 23, 2011 3:21:54 AM

What did you use to scan? Try normal AV scanners like AVG or Avira. Try online scanners like house call. Try scumware scanners like Adware (from lavasoft). Or just grab hijackthis and hop on their forums and they can sort it out for you. Not saying it is a virus but I've had some that can get around a scanner already on your system. Or if its a scumware your AV scanner might not even spot it.
February 23, 2011 3:42:59 AM

4745454b said:
What did you use to scan? Try normal AV scanners like AVG or Avira. Try online scanners like house call. Try scumware scanners like Adware (from lavasoft). Or just grab hijackthis and hop on their forums and they can sort it out for you. Not saying it is a virus but I've had some that can get around a scanner already on your system. Or if its a scumware your AV scanner might not even spot it.


Done both AVG and Adware. Pretty sure this isn't a virus though, doesn't feel like it to me; I generally keep an eye on what's going on with the system. Last time I saw something similar was in Vista, where it displayed every system shortcut (like my docs, video, music etc) doubled.

This thing is gonna have me pulling my hair out.
a b $ Windows 7
February 23, 2011 5:55:09 AM

Good luck, virus is all I could think of.
February 23, 2011 5:24:18 PM

I believe the issue is that the folder was created with either a blank or invalid character. Do this, go and open a command prompt, Start -> type in CMD in search. You should get a Dos Prompt. Go to the root directory, C:\, and type in "Dir /x". You should now see that weird folder name, in some form with XYZ~1. If you see that, type in "rmdir XYZ~1" to delete it. See if that works for you.
February 23, 2011 6:26:03 PM

Just get a Linux boot disk and delete the file that way.
a b $ Windows 7
February 23, 2011 7:28:12 PM

+1 for virus / rootkit

You should check for rootkit:

I have a few clients that had a nasty virus that did that....

can't install any programs: ends with error message

most of the time you will have to reinstall windows.

Did you try to do a system restore ?
February 23, 2011 10:55:29 PM

dextermat said:
+1 for virus / rootkit

You should check for rootkit:

I have a few clients that had a nasty virus that did that....

can't install any programs: ends with error message

most of the time you will have to reinstall windows.

Did you try to do a system restore ?


Installed two or three programs to check, they had no issues. I still don't think it's anything as serious, but will investigate. Thanks.

LFaWolf said:
I believe the issue is that the folder was created with either a blank or invalid character. Do this, go and open a command prompt, Start -> type in CMD in search. You should get a Dos Prompt. Go to the root directory, C:\, and type in "Dir /x". You should now see that weird folder name, in some form with XYZ~1. If you see that, type in "rmdir XYZ~1" to delete it. See if that works for you.


This worked like a charm. I am now a LfaWolfist pastor. Mass @ 9 pm every Sunday. We drink beer and play darts. Consider yourself invited. Awesome.
Wanted to mark that as the best answer, but can't see the option. If this is because I posted this as a discussion, sorry for the screw up. If not, then how do I mark it?
a b $ Windows 7
February 24, 2011 3:03:08 AM

So the question is, can you install and run programs now or not? I'd try unlocker before trying witcher again. If it happened after installing witcher see if this is a known problem and if there is a fix.
February 24, 2011 3:34:51 AM

4745454b said:
So the question is, can you install and run programs now or not? I'd try unlocker before trying witcher again. If it happened after installing witcher see if this is a known problem and if there is a fix.


Never lost the ability to install and run stuff. Whole problem was this wacky folder. I'm gonna blame that on the installer freaking out when it halted on the copy protection being incompatible with Win 7, while screwing around with folder structure. In translation: I don't know WTF happened. Anyway, so far AVG, Adware, Spyware S&D and CCleaner show no malware or registry anomlies that I could pin this on.

Reinstalled Witcher after deleting the weird folder, took care to disable and delete the Tages driver as soon as it was installed, before allowing the installer to continue. No problems so far, game runs fine after patching to newest version, which removes the requirement for authentication. Bit of luck there.

Thank you all for suggestions :) 
a b $ Windows 7
February 24, 2011 4:14:20 AM

Quote:
Immediately after the installation finished (with an error...Uninstalling the game also unfruitful...Unlocker installs fine, then does nothing. Doesn't show up in right-click menu, even when started manually and with the agent running.


Sorry, i thought you had two issues. One with the dup blank folder, and the other which might be related was that programs didn't seem to be installing or running properly. If all is well, then great.
!