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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders System
A while back, I noticed that my user's Preferences folder was staring to accumulate some very oddly named (but empty) folders. How odd? Consider these actual folder names from my machine:


The folders would appear at seemingly random intervals, and I could safely delete them with no apparent ill effects. At first, I thought it might some weird form of hard drive corruption, but everything else was fine, and the folders only showed in my user's Preferences folder, so I was pretty sure it was related to an application. After a few months of manually deleting these empty folders every so often, I finally took the time to look for an answer...and found one, right here on the macosxhints forums.

It turns out it's related to the Epson TWAIN plug-in for Photoshop CS2. With the plug-in installed, a new randomly-named folder is created each time you launch CS2. I confirmed this by putting a folder action script on the Preferences folder, asking to be notified whenever a new item was added. Sure enough, the new folders were created only when launching CS2. If I removed the TWAIN driver, then no odd folders were created.

For now, I'm living with the randomly named folders, as I do use the TWAIN plug-in somewhat regularly. I've checked Epson's site, and there don't appear to be any newer drivers, so it looks like I'm stuck with the issue for a while. Hopefully this hint will allay the fears of anyone else seeing very strangely-named empty folders in their user's Library » Preferences folder.
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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: brett_x on Feb 16, '07 08:01:06AM

Well that answers that question...



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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: aptmunich on Feb 16, '07 08:33:43AM

That Twain driver was also responsible for Photoshop CS2 to continually crash on me for a while...
Once I removed it, everything worked perfectly again.

Epson's entire driver suite seems pretty half-baked IMO. The scanner app isn't very good and is very resource intensive & slow.
Add the Twain plugin issues and I'm less than impressed.



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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: wsdr on Feb 16, '07 09:46:25AM

Yippee!!! Thanks for solving this mystery for me.



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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: Esquare on Feb 16, '07 09:56:16AM

Well, it wasn't a mystery to me. I've made a small script that deletes empty folders from my Preferences folder at startup. Works like a charm.



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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: RGS on Feb 16, '07 10:32:01AM

Thanks. I wondered what was generating those folders.

Esquare: Please share that script. Thanks.



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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: Esquare on Feb 17, '07 03:26:11AM

OK, here's my 'script'. It's actually a one-liner that looks pretty dangerous. Itís based on the fact that the rmdir command will not delete non-empty folders. It works fine for me, but YMMV.

tell application "Finder"
try
do shell script "rmdir /Users/[useraccount]/Library/Preferences/*"
on error
-- ignore errors
end try
end tell



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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: Esquare on Feb 17, '07 03:35:41AM

BTW: this script deletes ALL empty folders in Preferences.



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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: JadeNB on Feb 23, '07 10:03:48AM

You don't really need AppleScript for this:

find /Users/[user name]/Library/Preferences -type d -exec rmdir {} \; 2>/dev/null



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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: osxpounder on Feb 16, '07 12:03:05PM
Interesting to know. I had been troubleshooting the same issue with some help from our forum friends here:

http://forums.macosxhints.com/showthread.php?t=60839

... and I had narrowed it down as far as "happens when I run Photoshop". It was the above forum thread that taught me the precise cause [well, it was helpful folks like Welles Goodrich and the forum wizards who taught us], because my own searches never turned up Welles' earlier thread.

Being able to ask on the forums helps overcome those cases where your searches aren't hitting the mark, but the answer is in there, and one of your fellow forumers remembers how to find it again.

It's so great getting advice from forum wizards like hayne, bramley, voldenuit ... if I left your name out, it's my memory that's to blame, folks, but I love ya!

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Yeah... EPSON should delegate...
Authored by: silverdr on Feb 16, '07 01:52:52PM

... all the software development long time ago. Whatever they touch in that area, just plainly sucks! I've been struggling over a year to get usable software for EPSON once top of the line model 4870 - just no way. The same if they create printer driver... :-( They should stay with hardware development. This is what they actually do quite well.



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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: porkchop_d_clown on Feb 16, '07 02:56:13PM

Well shucks-howdy!

I just spent several hours earlier this week trying to find out why my brand new Macbook had a corrupt hard disk, and hear it was the Twain driver.

Yes, you're right - and it apparently affects any application that support scanners, because I have PS Elements 2.

Curiously, I didn't see these folders appear on my old G4 system. It must be a bug in their Intel drivers.

---
Everyone loves a clown, but no one will lend him money!



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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: Crazysim on Feb 18, '07 07:11:28PM

If SANE supports your Epson scanner, you may try installing that as an alternate driver setup.

http://www.ellert.se/twain-sane/

The list to check for compatibility would be this. This section leads to the Epson section since it is relevant to this hint.

http://www.sane-project.org/sane-mfgs.html#Z-EPSON



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A possible cause for oddly named Preferences folders
Authored by: Marblehead on Feb 18, '07 07:43:28PM

Well hey there and thanks for saving my day. I wonder'd if I was alone in pulling the rest of my hair out. I wonder if this is happening to a lot of people right now.

thanks again



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Not just PS CS2
Authored by: jecwobble on Feb 19, '07 03:23:40PM

I have PS 7 and it appears to do the same thing. This has been bugging me for, well, over a year. Thanks.



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