Microsoft’s Windows 11 operating system creates many empty folders in a System32 directory, just like the Windows 10 operating system. If you examine the folder, you may notice empty tmp folders in the directory.
A Windows 11 test system had 100 empty temporary folders in the directory, but some users reported that they had thousands of empty directories in the folder.
To check if the folders exist on your Windows 11 and Windows 10 devices:
- Open the file explorer.
- Navigate to C: Windows System32 config systemprofile AppData Local. Note that Windows may display a warning message when trying to open system directories, but you should be able to continue.
Some of the folders may be hidden and you may need to turn on the display of hidden operating system files.
In Windows 10, select View> Options in File Explorer, switch to View and make sure that “Show hidden files, folders and drives” is selected and “Hide protected operating system files (recommended)” is deactivated.
In Windows 11, select Menu (three dots)> Options and follow the instructions for Windows 10.
The folders start with tw and end with .tmp. When you open them you will find that they do not contain any files. The problem has been known since at least 2019, according to a report by Ask Woody, but it could go back even further.
Günter Born suggests that the Provisioning Package Runtime Processing Tool create the temporary folders with the file name ProvTool.exe. The tmp folders can be deleted and the deletion does not seem to have any negative effects on the system.
In most cases, the error is not critical. Empty folders do not take up much storage space and do not interfere with the operation of the system. Still, they appear to be leftovers, and some users may want to delete these temporary folders, especially if the number on their devices has passed the ten thousand mark.
The error again shows that Windows 11 is very similar to Windows 10 and that errors that affected Windows 10 are likely to affect Windows 11 as well.