Friday, February 5, 2010

Microsoft's Really, Really Hidden Folders

Did you know there are folders on your hard drive that Windows does not reveal even when you have all the settings set to reveal everything?  It's this kind of tom-foolery that infuriates me and keeps me in a job.

Did you know that when you tell IE to clear its cache it does not cleanup all the files?  Similarly, did you know that when you delete messages in Outlook Express and empty the deleted items that it does not delete those messages either?  Okay, not that anyone is using OE any more, but still ...
If we've identified a number of folders that M$ works hard to hide then are there others that we haven't found?

Don't believe me?  Try it for yourself ...

Look in your IE Internet Options to determine the location of your Temporary Internet Files.  Open that folder in Explorer.

Do you see a "content.IE5" folder?  Me neither.

Double check your settings.  I'm set to view everything ...

Go back to explorer and add "\content.IE5" to your address bar.  Sure enough.  There's your cached data.

Alrighty then.  Lets delete our cached data in IE.

Finally, lets go look in one of those folders.  It's not a monolith, but it is full of files.  Nice.

I found this to be true as far back as Win98 and, unfortunately, I captured all these screens on my Windows 7 machine this morning.


  1. I understand hiding system files to keep people from screwing up their own computer (understand, but not necessarily agree with, that is); but hiding your IE cache? Why? How does that help me, the consumer?

  2. There's protecting user's from themselves and then there's deliberately concealing data -- there can be no positive use for this else they'd show it when you "show hidden files" or "show protected operating system files".