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Accessing "Application Data" in Windows 7.

    Question

  • Guys I've installed Windows 7 operating system on my PC and I need to access "Application Data" folder to back up some files. I can't access this folder and it gives some error message like this: 

    C:\Users\Ani\application data is not accessible.

    Access is denied.

    please help.

    Thank you in advance.

    Tuesday, March 03, 2009 12:24 PM

Answers

  • Anirudh51 said:

    Guys I've installed Windows 7 operating system on my PC and I need to access "Application Data" folder to back up some files. I can't access this folder and it gives some error message like this: 

    C:\Users\Ani\application data is not accessible.

    Access is denied.

    please help.

    Thank you in advance.


    Hi anirudh51

    Application Data is not an actual folder, it is a Junction which is only there for backward compatibility. A Junction is a shortcut that redirects files and programs to a different location.

    This particular Junction points to the  C:Users\username\AppData\Roaming folder.

    There is a good explanation of Junction Points at the following website.

    Windows Junctions


    Hope this helps.


    Thank You for testing Windows 7 Beta

    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Tuesday, March 03, 2009 3:22 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Are you able to browse to the folder to see it?
    If not you need to go to the control panel and select folder options>view>show hidden files, folders and drives and select the box.
    hopefully your problem is as easy as that.
    Tuesday, March 03, 2009 3:14 PM
  • Anirudh51 said:

    Guys I've installed Windows 7 operating system on my PC and I need to access "Application Data" folder to back up some files. I can't access this folder and it gives some error message like this: 

    C:\Users\Ani\application data is not accessible.

    Access is denied.

    please help.

    Thank you in advance.


    Hi anirudh51

    Application Data is not an actual folder, it is a Junction which is only there for backward compatibility. A Junction is a shortcut that redirects files and programs to a different location.

    This particular Junction points to the  C:Users\username\AppData\Roaming folder.

    There is a good explanation of Junction Points at the following website.

    Windows Junctions


    Hope this helps.


    Thank You for testing Windows 7 Beta

    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Tuesday, March 03, 2009 3:22 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Ronnie,

    I had another reason to go into the Application Data folder (override a configuration file) and this explained the workings and allowed me to achieve what I set out to do.

    Regards
    Ian

    Asrock K8NF6P, AMD64 3200+, 1.5GB RAM, Palit Geforce 8400GS 256MB, 500GB Maxtor SataII, Asus 1814BLT optical
    Wednesday, March 04, 2009 1:53 AM
  • Application Data is an environment variable that is programmatically set.  If you open a command prompt and type set, you will then see all of the environment variables that are available to you.

     

    Application Data is represented by the environment variable %appdata%.  In Windows 2K/XP/2003 it pointed to c:\documents and settings\%username%\application data.  In Vista and Windows 7, it now points to c:\users\%username%\appdata\roaming.

     

    If you ever need to refer to the Application Data directory, just type %appdata% in the Run dialog box, the Start menu search box, or at the command prompt.  Also, if you are looking to use it in a batch file or a script, you definitely want to make use of the environment variable.

    • Proposed as answer by Robbie13 Sunday, November 21, 2010 3:28 AM
    Wednesday, March 04, 2009 5:12 AM
  • Open the Control Panel.  Open Appearence and Personalization.  Open Folder Options.  Select the General tab.  Select Show All Folders.  Accept and close.
    • Proposed as answer by lmpw Friday, January 29, 2010 6:15 PM
    Sunday, November 08, 2009 6:42 AM
  • Open the Control Panel.  Open Appearence and Personalization.  Open Folder Options.  Select the General tab.  Select Show All Folders.  Accept and close.

    Easier way is just to open any folder, hold down ALT and just select Tools > Folder Options
    • Proposed as answer by RufusThorne Monday, February 22, 2010 4:21 PM
    Monday, February 22, 2010 4:20 PM
  • I tried to access the appdata folder myself. Just right click on the directory address and select 'edit address' and it let you type in the desired directory.
    • Proposed as answer by Loodakid Wednesday, November 24, 2010 5:34 PM
    Saturday, March 27, 2010 5:00 PM
  • thx m8...that realy helped me.cause i couldnt access some folders i wanted on windows 7 .naw i can thx a lot
    Thursday, April 08, 2010 7:37 AM
  • thanks a lot rufus! that one actually worked, all the other things people said to do didnt work for me at all. Thanks again!
    Tuesday, July 06, 2010 5:50 PM
  • Thanks for the nice simple reply...

    However, what do we use if we need to refer to the Local folder and not the Roaming folder?

    Under WinXP, I used %userprofile%\application data\ to store my data specifically because that folder did not sync with the users' roaming profile data.

    Is there a common enviroment variable that I can use in XP/Vista/Win7 that will result in a local folder that is not synced with a users' roaming profile folders?

    Thanks.

    Bill Fields

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 1:45 PM
  • Thanks for the nice simple reply...

    However, what do we use if we need to refer to the Local folder and not the Roaming folder?

    Under WinXP, I used %userprofile%\application data\ to store my data specifically because that folder did not sync with the users' roaming profile data.

    Is there a common enviroment variable that I can use in XP/Vista/Win7 that will result in a local folder that is not synced with a users' roaming profile folders?

    Thanks.

    Bill Fields

    In Win7 (you have to check the other two) there is another environment variable for the Local Application Data path as well. 

    LOCALAPPDATA=C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local

    Tuesday, September 07, 2010 8:21 PM
  • I had to go to:

     

    Control Panel/ Appearance & Personalization/Folder Options

    In the General Tab I checked: "Show all foders",

    in the View Tab I checked: "Show hidden folders"

     

    After that the folder "Application Data" would show in Explorer under  C:\Users\%%name%%

    Friday, October 22, 2010 4:52 PM
  • This is my problem, exactly.  The answer has to be something global on my Win7 configuration.

    I have done everything above. I am <username> , administrator, on Windows 7 pro configured for home use as installed.  I can see all hidden and system folders.

    All the paths mentioned above are blocked at Application Data and below, Cookies, etc.

    Documents and Settings displays those shortcuts, and they are blocked with:  "Location is not Available"  and for example "C:\Users\Steve Donahue\Application Data is not accessible"  Access is Denied.

     

    Again "Steve Donahue" is an administrator.

    Cookies is just a symptom:  C:\Users\Steve Donahue\Application Data\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies

    Is likewise blocked at Application Data.  Yet I can search on C: and find that path.

    I think that as long as navigating to C:\Documents and Settings shows D&S is a shortcut, I'm stuck. 

    This is the last problem before I love Windows 7.  Help appreciated.

     

    S/

     

    Monday, November 15, 2010 3:14 AM
  • Hi Don

     

    Many of the default folders that were present in Windows XP have had name changes starting with Windows Vista.

     

    The folders with the shortcut icon are either Symbolic Links or Junctions (AKA: Soft Links or Reparse Points). They are there for  compatibility  with older programs that are hard coded to look for those old folder names when the older program is installed. Here is what they look like.


     

    These folders have special properties that will redirect the old installer program to the new location in Windows 7. This allows the older program to install and work in Windows 7, seamlessly.

     

    A good example is the C:\Documents and Settings  folder. This folder was used in previous versions (XP) to hold all of the users files. When an older program that was written for XP is installed, the Symbolic Link called Documents and Settings will redirect that installer to the new location in Windows 7, which is the C:\Users folder.

    Because they are very important, they all have the properties, Everyone = Access Denied.

     

    There are many of these Junctions in Windows 7.

     

    Windows has supported the use of Junctions for a long time, but they were not used extensively until Windows Vista. 

     

    It is recommended that the user does not change any of the properties of these folders, since doing so can cause some installed programs to stop working or other behavior that can result in more serious problems.

     

    Here is a link with more information.

     

    Application Compatibility: Junction Points

     

     

    Regards,


    Ronnie Vernon MVP – Windows Desktop Experience
    Monday, November 15, 2010 6:27 AM
    Moderator
  • Ronnie,

     

    Thank you.  I understand the rationale, and do appreciate that Windows 7 does such a good job with my XP programs.  I know you have gone over this before, but this reply makes sense to me. ;-)  It's a shame that this has to be done by clipping the Administrator's wings, but I honestly wouldn't have a better idea to insure backward compatibility.

    donE


    donEsteban
    Monday, November 15, 2010 9:25 PM
  • OK, so we don't want to make any changes to the folder properties. But if an application installs using the XP file structure and creates an important data store that you want to backup or sync, the backup software wants to use the standard Windows Explorer view and therefore can't find the folder! Any suggestions. Many thanks.
    Thursday, November 18, 2010 9:44 PM
  • OK, so we don't want to make any changes to the folder properties. But if an application installs using the XP file structure and creates an important data store that you want to backup or sync, the backup software wants to use the standard Windows Explorer view and therefore can't find the folder! Any suggestions. Many thanks.

    Hi

    You're not understanding the way these Junctions work. When an older program is installed that is hard coded to use the old windows folder names, the junctions are designed to automatically redirect the install program to the new folder location. Once this process is complete, that location is recorded as the location for the programs data store.

    If a Junctions permissions are changed, this can be problematic because the older installation program may be able to actually access (walk through) the Junction and this can result in unexpected behavior, such as a recursion (infinite loop).

    Backup programs designed to work on Windows 7 understand Junctions.

    Regards,


    Ronnie Vernon MVP – Windows Desktop Experience
    Friday, November 19, 2010 6:16 AM
    Moderator
  • PURFECT, was able to do what I needed to. thanks! good to know for future reference...
    Sunday, November 21, 2010 3:28 AM
  • And for me, simply a serious user, being able to go through start>run> %appdata% takes me to the old and familiar, where I will look, and not touch, unless I want to run some known risks.
    donEsteban
    • Proposed as answer by donEsteban Sunday, November 21, 2010 3:52 AM
    Sunday, November 21, 2010 3:48 AM
  • Hi,
    
    
    
    I just want to ask if the issue I'm facing right now is related to this.
    
    
    
    My Case:
    
    In my program, when I click on a button function, let's say a backup operation, an open dialog will popup pointing to the application path. Ex: C:\Chloe\Backup which is in the local drive.
    
    
    
    This works when I'm in a WinXP OS, but when using a Win7 OS what happens is the popup will open pointing to a different path. Ex: C:\Users\chloe\Documents
    
    
    I've been reading about the roaming profile and folder redirection but can't seem to understand it well. Hoping for your help guys!
    
    Thanks!
    Monday, December 06, 2010 9:18 AM
  • Thanks! this worked for me, good stuff.
    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 3:53 PM
  • Some of those junctions (shortcuts) simply point to their current directory, for example:

    C:\>cd \Users\js\AppData\Local

    C:\Users\js\AppData\Local>dir /ah
     Volume in drive C is Windows
     Volume Serial Number is 008F-65F2

     Directory of C:\Users\js\AppData\Local

    02/23/2010  03:58 PM    <JUNCTION>     Application Data [C:\Users\js\AppData\Local]

     

    So if a program was allowed to keep following subdirectories and treated that junction like a subdirectory, it would get in an infinite loop.

    Sometimes I get bitten in the butt by this.  For example, I can't run altiris rapidinstall as administrator without getting into a loop (plus it's only 32 bit).  Also, I can't delete a folder in vbscript with one of these junctions in them, but 'rmdir /s /q' seems to work, for some reason.

     

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 6:05 PM
  • Hello,

    For whatever reason, my file is missing but through search, I found it in this directory: C:\Users\(user name)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent Items.  I don't know how it ended in that foIder.  I typed %appdata% in the Start menu search box and saw the missing file in the results.

    Can you please explain how my file ended in that directory and how can I restore it?  I tried to double click to open the file but to no avail, this message appears:  "The drive or network connection that the shortcut xxxxxxxxx refers to is unailable......."  I am sure I did not save the file to some other disks but to my laptop only.

    Appreciate your help!

     

    Sunday, January 09, 2011 10:28 PM
  • The recent items folder will only contain a shortcut to the original location of a file you have opened.

    If the file has been deleted/moved the shortcut will no longer work and give the error message you have described.
    Monday, January 10, 2011 2:52 AM
  • Hello everyone.

     

    I've got a problem that looks like this one but is not exactly the same;..

    I installed windows 7 recently ( due to my SSD that needs TRIM which is not present under XP, otherwise I would have kept XP ... ) anyway.

     

    I m trying FROM windws 7 to access, on the otehr HDD, my "documenst and settings" folders from windows XP, but i cant go inside "application data" ... acess denied, and I dont have permissions to change anything in the "security tab" :/

     

    Didnt find how to give me more rights than "administrator" in the control panel.

    Thought administrator would be able to go ANYWHERE on ANY HDD.


    this is one more little annoying thing in windows 7 :/

    Too bad I couldnt keep xp.

    Can someone help me to allow access to every folder on my old XP installation ?

    Thanks a lot :)

     

    Ituso

    Monday, January 31, 2011 12:19 AM
  • Oddly enough, I just ran into the same problem today trying to get custom Adobe Acrobat portfolio files (.nav) to work. I found this thread very interesting to read; however, I took a different approach before discovering this thread. I used a virtual DOS box (cmd) tp find the Applications Directory I needed and then used a command line "copy" to copy the files.

    Just thought I'd mention that...

     

    Saturday, March 26, 2011 7:04 PM
  • C:\Users\Ani\AppData\
    Tuesday, April 05, 2011 3:05 PM
  • Try opening a random folder and pasting this in to top:   C:\Users\name\AppData\     but obviously change the 'name' to your user name. It worked for me anyways.
    Tuesday, April 05, 2011 3:07 PM
  • Open the Control Panel.  Open Appearence and Personalization.  Open Folder Options.  Select the General tab.  Select Show All Folders.  Accept and close.

    Easier way is just to open any folder, hold down ALT and just select Tools > Folder Options
    Very useful thank you! I am running a version of Windows 7 which is in Japanese (still learning the language) and this was definitely the easy way to do things!
    Monday, May 23, 2011 10:50 PM
  • Ronnie-

     

    This seems to make the most sense onthis thread, in particular to my question, but in the end, all the code and "back end" stuff is foreign to me.  My bottom line question is related though.  I need to access my pst files to move outlook from one box to another.  I've done it before with no problem, but the path indicated in outlook takes me through the app data folder.  This is where I cant continue, and am stumped.  Can you explain how to get there safely?

     

    Thank you!

    Wednesday, June 01, 2011 2:36 PM
  • Ronnie-

     

    This seems to make the most sense onthis thread, in particular to my question, but in the end, all the code and "back end" stuff is foreign to me.  My bottom line question is related though.  I need to access my pst files to move outlook from one box to another.  I've done it before with no problem, but the path indicated in outlook takes me through the app data folder.  This is where I cant continue, and am stumped.  Can you explain how to get there safely?

     

     

    Thank you!


    Hi dswood12

    I would recommend posting this question on the MSOffice Answers forum. Go to the following forums.

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/officeversion_other-outlook?tab=no&page=1

    At the top of the page, select the Ask a question item, enter the question title and click the Ask Button.

    In the Compose window, be sure to select the proper options for the versions you are using at the bottom of the window.

    The experts there will be able to help.

    Regards

     

     


    Ronnie Vernon MVP – Windows Desktop Experience
    Wednesday, June 01, 2011 4:54 PM
    Moderator
  • so, i jst want figure out if win7 has its own appdata as u said. so why applicantion data folder is still there? why doesnt the win7 cancel that folder forever?
    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 11:26 AM
  • "Jimmy1125" wrote in message news:b90b1e18-3dbf-49da-8557-4ac78005e5c3...
    so, i jst want figure out if win7 has its own appdata as u said. so why applicantion data folder is still there? why doesnt the win7 cancel that folder forever?

    It's a 'virtual folder' more properly called a Junction  - try opening it and see what happens :)
    It's only there for compatibility with earlier programs which directly reference the folder, instead of using an environment variable.

    --


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 1:29 PM

  •  

    Hello everyone.

     

    I've got a problem that looks like this one but is not exactly the same;..

    I installed windows 7 recently ( due to my SSD that needs TRIM which is not present under XP, otherwise I would have kept XP ... ) anyway.

     

    I m trying FROM windws 7 to access, on the otehr HDD, my "documenst and settings" folders from windows XP, but i cant go inside "application data" ... acess denied, and I dont have permissions to change anything in the "security tab" :/

     

    Didnt find how to give me more rights than "administrator" in the control panel.

    Thought administrator would be able to go ANYWHERE on ANY HDD.


    this is one more little annoying thing in windows 7 :/

    Too bad I couldnt keep xp.

    Can someone help me to allow access to every folder on my old XP installation ?

    Thanks a lot :)

     

    Ituso

    Operating Systems from the same family can often read permissions for similar OSs.  It depends on which direction you are going a lot of times.

    If you are booting into Windows 95 (old) probably won't know what to do with Windows 7 permissions.

    If you are booting into, say some non-Windows OS, that OS might just completely ignore whatever permissions are on the file and pretend like there aren't any permissions on it, letting you copy, delete, or do whatever you want with the file.

    I don't know off the top of my head which versions of windows ignore which other versions of windows permissions, but I am sure some of them do.  You could try acquiring a Win95 boot disk and copying the file when booted to a DOS prompt under that OS.   If it works, you should be able to copy it into whatever new location you want and then restart after taking the boot disk out without any lasting changes to the computer.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 12:00 AM
  • ello!!

    How do I create and delete these junctions and also how do I get rid of them?

    cheers,


    -Web-ster!!

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 4:31 PM
  • Your answer was easily the best. Thank you!!!!
    Thursday, August 30, 2012 6:53 PM
  • You did not SOLVE original question. i wish i had vote down option.
    Friday, November 23, 2012 12:09 AM
  • Thank-You so much!! Victory at last! That was all I had to do. Ive been trying to move the weatherbug gadget to my new laptop from  the old one as I cant dl it from the web anymore but it was not showing up in my computer. All I had to do was check that one little thing...show all folders and stuff. Thx for ending a 2 hour nightmare Lol!


    Arron Mothersole

    Saturday, April 06, 2013 6:47 PM
  • hello Anirudh51

    i also experienced the same problem some time back and this was how i solved it

    type %appdata% in the 'search programs and files' space or the run space or dialogue box

    then it will take you to roaming..click on it and it will direct you to the folders where you can choose amonst local, locallow or roaming

    This should sort you out

    • Proposed as answer by THOMAS MBARU Monday, May 20, 2013 10:02 PM
    Monday, May 20, 2013 10:02 PM
  • yes, this is the answer I want, no explanation less important  and answer is, MVP .. 
    Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:48 PM
  • This nonsense is still around in win8

    Wouldn't it make FAR FAR more sense for these junction points to just jump to where it is now pointing? It IS a SHORTCUT ICON after all, make it behave as one.

    Or at the very least, display the new location that corresponds to the junction point so that the user can direct themselves to the new location manually.

    Seriously, this is a horrendous failure of basic ergonomics of your own UI, and I have fired programmers for less. Get your act together. A computer must compute to be a computer.

    Thursday, October 24, 2013 9:20 AM
  • Ronnie,

    Thanks for the link to Windows Junction and dir /aL.  It circumvents the roadblock of junctions but I have to wonder why bother listing a junction.  Why not just have it point to and open the folder?  Minimally, why doesn't properties give the folder it points to?  Hopefully there is a reason for junctions and not just another way to make it harder to get around Windows.

    Thanks,

    Oxyhash

    Friday, March 14, 2014 8:47 PM