Windows 11 has a weird problem with empty folders

Pile of empty folders

An odd problem has been found in Windows 11 that sees dozens, scores, hundreds or even thousands of empty folders being created in a directory of the System32 folder.

The fact that the folders are empty means that there is no danger of hard disks filling up, but it's a bizarre bug that has many Windows users scratching their heads. If you're affected by the issue, you'll find that your drive is littered with large numbers of folders with names ending in .tmp.

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The folders are not to be found in random locations; if you look to C: \ Windows \ System32 \ config \ systemprofile \ AppData \ Local this is where the .tmp folders are to be found. To double check whether you are affected by the issue or not, you will need to have system files visible. You can enable this setting by opening an Explorer window, clicking the ... button in the tool bar and then selecting Folder Options. Move to the View tab and uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) box before clicking OK.

While this strange issue is gaining attention following the launch of Windows 11, it is not a brand-new problem. In fact, very much the same problem has blighted Windows 10 since at least 2019.

With Microsoft seemingly unwilling or unable to do anything about the deluge of empty folders, what can you do? As Ghacks points out, the suggestion from Günter Born is to simply delete them. And if you were wondering where they are coming from, it seems that the ProvTool.exe process is to blame.

Image credit: Matushchak Anton / Shutterstock

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