Randomly named alpha/numeric folders are commonly created and used temporarily when updating Windows components. They are also used by some software programs (i.e. Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visual Studio, etc) during update or installation to hold setup files (.inf, .cat, .gpd, .ppd and .dlls) and other information. These files and folders are usually automatically removed as part of the update process. However, its not uncommon for them not to be cleaned up and left behind after the update has been applied. When that occurs they usually can be manually deleted at any time.
For example, when you run the MS Malicious Software Removal Tool
(MSRT), a temporary folder with random alpha/numeric characters (i.e. C\79f142e5e9e574d23954
) will be created on your C:\ drive that contains mrt.exe, mrtstub.exe and a file named $shtdwn$.req. Since external drives can be a hiding place for malicious files, MSRT will scan them too and you may find a left over folder in that location. Most of the time after performing a scan and you click finish or cancel, the folder will automatically be removed right away or after the next restart of the computer. If not, the folder and its contents can be manually deleted without an adverse effect on the computer.
Installation of service packs, security updates from Microsoft for MSMXL packages and hotfixes also create temporary randomly alpha/numeric named folders. Sometimes these folders create sub-folders as described here
or contain sub-folders like amd64, i386. The creation date should match the installation date of the updates or show in the ReportingEvents.log
located in the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder. Again, finding these leftover temporary files are not uncommon after applying an update. Please see Windows Updates Leftover Files and Folders
for examples of such files.
Other legitimate programs can also create randomly named folders in various areas of your hard drive. In many cases if you delete these folders, the program will recreate them after rebooting the computer.
Edited by quietman7, 16 March 2011 - 09:19 AM.