Rid DFS of mystery folders

This tip describes the side effects of using DFS and FRS together, and offers solutions to the problem.

The Distributed File System (DFS) in the later versions of Windows NT and in Windows 2000 provides a level of storage

virtualization for files. With DFS system administrators can construct a logical hierarchical file system spanning multiple servers, making it much easier for users to access resources wherever they may be located. However DFS can have side effects. One of them is creating extra folders when DFS is used, as it usually is, with the File Replication Service (FRS).

According to Microsoft, when DFS creates a new link at the root of a distributed file system, it creates an empty folder for that link on each DFS alternate. If FRS is enabled at the root of the file system, it also replicates the folder, giving it a different name and adding a suffix of the form "_NTRS_xxxxxxx" at the end of the folder name.

The solution, according to Microsoft, is contained in service packs updating Windows 2000. To correct the problem, make sure you have the latest service packs installed on your system, as is the case with so many of the problems such as this that exist in Microsoft operating systems.

The situation is covered in this Microsoft Knowledgebase article.


Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.


This was first published in May 2003

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