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 Windows PC Guy » The difference between Local and LocalLow Folders

The difference between Local and LocalLow Folders

Posted by Wayne on February 23rd, 2009 filed in Vista General

One of the defining moments in my career was travelling to Redmond and attending the Microsoft Certified Masters – Active Directory course. The depth and breadth of this course literally took my breath away – and the Instructors who lectured were also totally awesome! One – a bloke called Ned Pyle – took us through some fascinating lessons (well, practitioner fascinating to us geeks!) on Active Directory, capsule he also mentioned “his” blog http://blogs.technet.com/askds . This is definitely worth bookmarking and/or subscribing to an RSS feed.

Ned’s latest post sort of falls between the cracks: neither Vista nor Server 2008. However, for those that *may* be testing different operating systems, especially Win 7, have a read: (as Gordo said “I’m repurposing content” <g>)

“For those testing Windows 7 administration capabilities, this is for you.

Download here

This is the list of Windows Server 2008 administration tools which are included in Win7 RSAT Client:

Server Administration Tools:
• Server Manager

Role Administration Tools:
• Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) Tools
• Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) Tools
• Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) Tools
• DHCP Server Tools
• DNS Server Tools
• File Services Tools
• Hyper-V Tools
• Terminal Services Tools

Feature Administration Tools:
• BitLocker Password Recovery Viewer
• Failover Clustering Tools
• Group Policy Management Tools
• Network Load Balancing Tools
• SMTP Server Tools
• Storage Explorer Tools
• Storage Manager for SANs Tools
• Windows System Resource Manager Tools”

Advertising for the BIG guys!

Happy New Year and a BIG hello to all, ambulance

This month, psychiatrist
Jeff Alexander from Microsoft Sydney is presenting on the new features showcasing how Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 R2 working together. The presentation will show the new features and functionality to be gained by deploying Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 R2 Together. We will also have several official public beta copies given away on the night.

We will also be trialling an earlier start time of 5:30 pm so that everyone can get home earlier.

An early RSVP will help with catering.  Please register on the BIG web site: http://www.aususergroups.org/Default.aspx?tabid=663, or just reply to this e-mail.

There is no cost to attend, Pizza and drinks provided by the awesome folks at Candle.
        Venue: Microsoft Level 9, 1 Eagle Street, Waterfront Place
        Time: 5:00pm for a 5:30pm start.
        Date: Tuesday 10th February 2009
        Pizza at 5.30pm – Lifts close at 6pm!     
        Close: Session generally closes by 8:00 pm.
        Who: You and your Colleagues

The BIG Team
(Shane, Dugie, Brendon, Brad & Alan)

I had a question recently from a colleague about the difference between AppDataLocal and the AppDataLocalLow. So, dosage
onto the web and let’s fire up my favourite search engine. The very first hit for “difference between the Local and the LocalLow folders” was http://support.microsoft.com/kb/955555 . A portion of that states:

“Windows Vista introduces a new Application Data folder structure. Previously, ampoule
user profiles did not logically sort data that was stored in the Application Data folder. Therefore, it was difficult to determine whether data belonged to the computer or the user. Windows Vista addresses this issue by creating a single AppData folder that contains three subfolders under the user profile: Roaming, Local, and LocalLow. Windows Vista uses the Local and LocalLow folders for application data that does not roam with the user. Usually, this data is specific to the computer or is too large to roam. The AppDataLocal folder in Windows Vista is the same as the Documents and SettingsUserNameLocal SettingsApplication Data folder in Windows XP.”

Sounds a bit … light? mumbo-jumbo? AppDataLow, that makes sense, but it’s not quite what I remembered AppDataLocalLow standing for. A bit more digging confirmed what I thought: only allowing apps access to a “low” security area.
Read through http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb625963.aspx and in particular the
section “Mandatory label inheritance”:
“An example of an inheritable mandatory label is the low mandatory label on one of the folders created under every user profile: %USERPROFILE%AppDataLocalLow. This folder is assigned a low mandatory label when the profile is initialized and intended as the top-level folder that is writeable by default by low-integrity applications.”
Great, some depth! Another reference; http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb625960.aspx also discusses running apps in “low integrity level”:
“Windows Vista has specific file and registry locations that are assigned low mandatory labels to allow low-integrity applications write access –
Registry: Low-integrity processes can write to and create subkeys under HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareAppDataLow
File system: Low-integrity processes can write and create subfolders under %USER PROFILE%AppDataLocalLow”

Putting it all together, hopefully simple:
AppDataLocal = files too big to roam or specific to that computer
AppDataLocalLow = an area for low integrity apps to write to, e.g. Internet Explorer add-ons.

targets down, patch out.


4 Responses to “The difference between Local and LocalLow Folders”

  1. Kang Yu Says:

    Wayne, thank you for the posting. Folder Redirection is killing me with some applications such Google Earth just won’t work if redirected. Your research points some path that I can try to resolve this issue. Thank you.

  2. Anthony Says:

    Is this possibly the cause/reason of the seemingly never ending “Application Data\” folder structure?

    My drive has this structure nested for what seems like an infinite length (I am not joking about the length):

    C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data\Application Data

    What is doing that?

  3. Ian Boyd Says:

    Anthony: The folders you are seeing:

    – C:\Documents and Settings
    – c:\Users\All Users
    – C:\Users\Application Data

    are all hard links, present as a compatibility hack.

    Nobody should actually be looking for these folders, but some applications, or people, can’t help themselves. Rather than giving an error to those who are doing the wrong thing, Microsoft did one better, and created aliases for the correct locations.

    The parasitic case you’re seeing is where the hard link points to a folder that contains a hard link to the same thing.

  4. Vista backup woes « Pianofab's playground Says:

    […] location — apparently at some point they decided to move the default location to the LocalLow […]

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