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How To Interpret Analysis Events

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During any given file system analysis process, FolderSizes logs information about any interesting events it encounters.


File system analysis events have three distinct severity levels:


Error - Events that may potentially halt file system analysis, or otherwise interfere with it.

Warning - Events that may cause problems or alter analysis results, but do not halt the file system analysis process.

Informational - Events of general interest, usually not requiring any user intervention. May potentially impact analysis results.


When the file system analysis process completes, FolderSizes will prompt the user to review the event log if any errors were encountered. This prompting behavior can be disabled via Options | Prompts. The event log can also be accessed at any time by clicking on the associated status bar panel.


When interpreting entries in the file system analysis event log, it is important to first consider event severity. Informational events are generally not a cause for concern, but can potentially affect the way file system analysis is performed. Warning events generally indicate a problem that is not severe enough to halt a file system analysis, but is very likely to affect its results. Error events are reserved for exceptional conditions that will usually halt (or severely affect / limit) a file system analysis.


Access Denied Errors


Of all the potential errors that FolderSizes may log during a given file system analysis process, access denied is perhaps the most commonly encountered. It means that the underlying Windows operating system denied FolderSizes access to the specified file system path.


When this error is encountered, it is important to first consider the Windows user account under which FolderSizes is running. If you started FolderSizes via a normal desktop or start menu shortcut, the application will inherit the permissions associated with your current Windows user account. If your Windows user account is prohibited from accessing a given file system branch, then so will be FolderSizes. In such cases, someone (perhaps you or your company's system administrator) will need to alter the security settings of the file system object(s) in question in order to grant your Windows user account access to them.


On Windows Vista or later, there is an additional consideration - User Account Control (UAC). When enabled, UAC attempts to mitigate various security risks by limiting Windows user account permissions during program execution. This behavior can be at odds with FolderSizes, the goal of which is to scan as much of the target file system(s) as possible in order to present the user with accurate analysis results. In such cases, users may need to explicitly run FolderSizes as an administrative user.


Importantly, the inheritance of Windows user account permissions by FolderSizes also extends to use of the Task Scheduler tool. When scheduling file system analysis events, be sure to use the appropriate Windows user account credentials (e.g. those  having permissions sufficient to access target file systems) during saving of the scheduled task.


Common Informational Events


Depending up your Windows operating system, there are a number of informational events you may encounter more frequently than others.


1.Informational: Folder path skipped (folder is a reparse point)

2.Informational: Folder path skipped (folder is a symbolic link, junction or mount point that resolves to the same location as its parent)


These events are especially common on Windows Vista or later, where the operating system uses various types of reparse points to redirect portions of the file system elsewhere. One example of this is that "C:\ProgramData\Application Data" is actually a folder junction on Windows Vista or later, which in turn resolves to its parent folder "C:\ProgramData". These default reparse points are generally present in order to improve third-party application compatibility.


By default, FolderSizes will ignore (or skip) such reparse points - resulting in the logging of the first information message noted above. Since most default reparse points on Windows Vista or later simply resolve to other areas of the file system, traversing them with FolderSizes is generally not necessary (or desirable).


If you do have FolderSizes configured to follow reparse points, you may encounter the second informational error noted above. In such cases, FolderSizes has identified the potential for infinite recursion and intelligently avoids it (logging this informational message in the process).