Empty folders appeared on the c drive

  TimCDC 20:50 25 Jun 03
Locked

A few weeks ago, I noticed a whole string of subfolders appeared on my hard disk. Each appears to be empty apart from a subfolder...and it goes on ad infinitum (or at least until 35 subfolders). They initially have different single character names (I, d, w, l, z) and then they settle down into all being named y (with a German umlaut on top). I've deleted the whole lot, with no apparent side effect.
But another file appeared, with no name, with 0 byte size, which I can't delete; I get the message, "Cannot read from the source disk". I've tried running AShampoo utilities to delete empty folders, but it doesn't seem to notice the folder, or do anything about it.
My question is, does anyone know (a) what might have done this and (b) how to get rid of the folders? Incidentally, I have kept my AVG virus checker up to date, and it hasn't noticed anything, nor has Spybot Search and Destroy

  CHUCKLE1 05:17 26 Jun 03

I had a similar problem - Files/folders/sub folders appearing and pc would not shut down correctly. Always had same programme "not responding" in task list.
Cause was "spyware" . I used Lavasoft to identify and remove the offending items and all has been fine since.
Free Download from click here
Do you use a firewall ? if not suggest you get one of the free ones off the net as they help stop this stuff getting onto your pc.

  Gongoozler 10:07 26 Jun 03

TimCDC, I agree with CHUCKLE1 that the cause is probably spyware, and the best cure is to download and install the superb Ad-Aware 6 from Lavasoft. I will just add a note about using Ad-Aware. When you first run it it will take a long time - about 20 - 30 minutes, and will appear to stall on certain files. This is normal, it is doing a very deep scan. Go away and make a cup uf tea or something, and when you get back you will be amazed at how much rubbish it will have found. there will be loads of cookies, programs and registry entries all spying on your computer activities.

  TimCDC 16:14 26 Jun 03

Thanks for the advice - I'll have a go at using this, and see whether or not it successfully picks up and clears out these folders.

  TimCDC 21:55 01 Jul 03

I'm still battling with the same problem. In fact, 4 further folders (3 empty ones, and one with 29 subfolders, all titled with single character names, and then ending in a text file in it) appeared today, presumably created when my son (logged on as another user) was playing games. MY AVG software hasn't picked anything up, and I've run a remote check from the symantec website, which found nothing either. Similarly, spybot search and destroy didn't find anything, nor did lavasoft adaware (apart from some tracking cookies).
I'm wondering what else might be doing this, and I guess more importantly, what I can do about this. Really grateful for any further ideas...?

  Valvegrid 22:21 01 Jul 03

Where are these folders exactly? are they in the Windows folder, if so where and which Windows system are you using?

Sorry about all the questions but it might throw some light on it.

Paul

  Valvegrid 22:22 01 Jul 03

Oh, one last thing, can you access the the text files and read what they say?

  TimCDC 20:33 02 Jul 03

so here goes...

There are four rogue folders, with paths as follows:
C:\- (0 bytes) This has no subfolders, and is 0 bytes.

C:\ ½ has 0 files, but 50 subfolders. They?re not all arranged in a perfect parent-child structure, i.e. the parent folder has two subfolders. One of the subfolders has 7 subfolders, of which 5 have further subfolders etc. The total folder size is 0 bytes

C:\I has 2 files, and 100 folders. It doesn?t have as many subfolder threads as the previous one. There are two files buried within it, neither of which I can open. The Microsoft website does not recognise the file type either. Because of those two files, it is 20 MB (one file is 20,400 KB, the other is 0KB)

C:\_109202 is completely empty

There is one more that is empty, but has no name, with a path C:\ (blank)

As per my earlier post, I?m fairly convinced that I don?t have any spyware or viruses, because of the checks I have run. I?m wondering whether these files might have been created by a demo of Championship Manager 4 that my son plays, or a demo of Worm 2000 which I downloaded from a PCworld website. Both of these games were played by my son (using a limited user account) at about the time that they appeared. But I had thought that I had restricted his account?s ability to write to the hard disk through the Ashampoo PowerUp utility. And I don?t think those files have appeared when he has used those games previously.

Does that help anyone help me any further?!

  kimjhon 21:37 02 Jul 03

Run Find | files created in the last 24 hours

Note, by the exact time they were created, if they are relevant to what you were doing.

Just a thought.

  TimCDC 22:04 02 Jul 03

Yup, they were created while my son was logged on, and the three applications he used at that time were champmanager, worm and Microsoft Word. But what I don't understand is why they appeared this time (and don't always appear). Also why I can delete all the folders with the exception of the folder with no name which tells me "Cannot delete file: cannot read from the file or disk". How might I be able to get rid of that folder - and more importantly, how can I understand and prevent whatever is creating those folders?!

  Steven135 22:09 02 Jul 03

Have you tried going into safe mode to delete the folder?

If in WXP shutting down all but system processes.

Checking system config start menu to see what is loading when you boot up.

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