Windows 11 creates lots of empty folders in a System32 directory
Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system creates lots of empty folders in a System32 directory, just like the Windows 10 operating system. When you check the folder, you may notice empty tmp folders in the directory.
A Windows 11 test system had 100 empty temp folders in the directory, but some users reported that they had thousands of empty directories in the folder.
Here is how you check if the folders exist on your Windows 11 and Windows 10 devices:
- Open File Explorer.
- Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\config\systemprofile\AppData\Local. Note that Windows may display a warning prompt when you attempt to open system directories, but you should be able to proceed.
Some of the folders may be hidden, and you may need to enable the display of hidden operating system files.
On Windows 10, you select View > Options in File Explorer, switch to View, and make sure that "show hidden files, folders, and drives" is selected, and "hide protected operating system files (recommended)" is unchecked.
On Windows 11, you select Menu (three dots) > Options, and follow the instructions for Windows 10.
The folders start with tw and end with .tmp. When you open them, you will notice that they contain no files. The problem has been known since at least 2019 according to a report on Ask Woody, but it may date back even further than that.
Günter Born suggests that the temporary folders are created by the Provisioning Package Runtime Processing tool, filename ProvTool.exe. The tmp folders can be deleted and deletion appears to have no negative impact on the system.
The bug is not critical in most cases. Empty folders don't take up much disk space and they don't interfere with the operation of the system. Still, it appears to be leftovers and some users may want to delete these temporary folders, especially if the count crossed the ten-thousand mark on their devices.
The bug shows again that Windows 11 is very similar to Windows 10, and that bugs that affected Windows 10 are likely also affecting Windows 11.Advertisement