My Temporary Internet Files show a lock and cannot be deleted, I’m thinking
this is a problem. There are 23 files; eg. 8XE96F4H, ALFCPSNU, DUXEMEN9 etc. I
have Googled some of them and they show a website in Japan but some show
nothing. Norton AV doesn’t catch(see) them, neither does Spybot. So far I don’t
see them causing problems but I don’t like this at all.
First, let me put your mind at ease. There’s no problem.
They’re definitely oddly named directories, but it’s just Internet Explorer
being … well, being Internet Explorer.
Here’s what’s going on …
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As you browse the internet, IE “caches”, or keeps local copies of, lots of
the files that are downloaded as part of your surfing. For example the images
that might be part of a web page are downloaded and placed in the cache.
Why? So that when you return to that page, or another page that references
the same image, IE doesn’t have to download it again. And again. And again.
The result is that your browsing experience is much faster.
directory, IE creates several subdirectories…”
Did I mention that there could be a lot of files? Thousands of files.
Thousands and thousands of files.
Various hard disk file systems (FAT, FAT32, NTFS, and perhaps others we
haven’t even thought of yet) have different limits and performance
characteristics when you place a large number of files in a single directory.
But they all do relatively well with lower numbers of files. Rather than throw
all the files into a single directory, IE creates several subdirectories, and
spreads the files among them.
So why the odd names? To be brutally honest, I’m not sure. There may be some
very geeky reason that it makes the software elegant or more effective, I
suppose. Personally, I’d have chosen more normal names, in case real people end
up actually seeing them and getting confused or concerned. And of course your
question is not uncommon, and shows that’s exactly what happens.
And there’s the key; these directories were actually never meant to be
viewed directly by real people. The intent is that Internet Explorer would
manage them. In fact, Windows Explorer even goes the extra mile to hide those
directories by making it look like all the files in them are actually
directly in Temporary Internet Files.
If you view the “Temporary Internet Files” directory in Windows Explorer,
you’ll see that it contains lots of files. (You may have to configure Windows
Explorer to “Show hidden files and folders” – I touch on that in Part 2 of
How should I set up my
computer?) However, if you open up a Windows Command Prompt, and navigate
to that same directory, you’ll see the list of subdirectories with funny names and
a file “index.dat”, which is what IE uses to keep track of what files are where
in the subdirectory. The actual files you saw listed in Windows Explorer are
actually distributed within the subdirectories here.
I wouldn’t expect Norton or Spybot to say anything because everything is as
Confusing, perhaps, but as expected.