Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Got 19464fae56553de2257e ??

Lately I’ve noticed these strange folders on my c:\ drive that usually have names like: 19464fae56553de2257e.  I’ve been wondering what they are, assuming that they’re safe to delete, but not quite having the nerve to.

Ed Bott “unpacks” them for us:

I have those on several machines here. They’re perfectly normal, if a bit baffling. The best clue [is] the name of the attached file: msxml4-KB927978-enu.log

It’s easy enough to break that down:

  • The .log extension means this is a log file, in text format, documenting changes that were made to the system.
  • The -enu bit at the end means it was in the English (U.S.) language.
  • KB927978 refers to a Microsoft Knowledge Base article number.
  • And if you look for that article, you find out that it’s entitled “MS06-071: Security update for Microsoft XML Core Services 4.0&Prime, which pretty neatly takes care of the msxml4 part at the beginning of the name.

The long, gobbledygook number is a security precaution. If you write a patch to a known location on every one of a few hundred million PCs, then the bad guys know to target that location. By creating a system-generated name for the folder, it’s impossible for an attacker to target the files in that location.

If you’ve got one or more of these folders hanging around, you can safely delete it.

Go ahead an delete these pesky folders.  Oh, and ya, I know, Mac users don’t need to worry about them.



1 comment:

Dr. D's Diagnosis said...

Darn I didn't get to say it first! lol D
BTW, noticed you upgrade to the new blogger. Like it?