Vista’s New Recursive Folder Structure

Filed under Vista

How’s this for a peculiar error message:


This one is from FileBackPC (a normally awesome little backup app). I can configured a rule for my server (which runs FileBack) to reach out to each of my workstations and grab a backup of certain folders, including the entire user profile.

There’s the rub. Apparently, Vista creates a hardlink from the “Application Data” folder back to its parent. This results in a recursive folder structure that is guaranteed to give fits to any app that recursively traverses the dir structure.

Vista itself appears to “know” what’s up though. You get this if you try to navigate into the Application Data folder via Explorer:


This same technique works great with XP. In the FileBack, I just had to reconfigure the rule to not traverse into that folder. Other apps might not be so obliging.

Sigh. Yet another one of “those little issues.”


  1. Ralf says:

    Wow! With resursive file systems you can have INFINITE storage!

    I’m gonna go dust off one of my old 4GB drives and download a copy of the internet. You know, for backup.

    Think I should turn on file compression?

  2. Darin says:

    Flashback to 1993…"4 +gigabytes+!? What could you possibly use to fill 4 gigabytes?"

    Wasn’t there a virus running around at one point that purported to be the "ultimate compress algorythm" but all it did was change the file size of whatever file you ran it on to 5% of the original? That’d give you almost infinite storage<g>

  3. Ralf says:

    Back in 1984, a friend asked me to guesstimate how much storage it would take to compete with Compuserve, the big commercial system that was killed by the internet a few years later.

    I thought for a second, doubled my estimate to be conservative, and told him, "500 megabytes. 600 at the outside."

    The odd thing is, I’m not sure how off I was…

  4. Darin says:

    Numbers like that seem so quaint now<g>. I’ve got more than a TB in my workstation alone.

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