Access denied on DocumentsMy Pictures during 7-zip

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I started a long-running archive creation on 7-zip via its command line interface. Tne items to zip included my Documents folder. Soon after I started it, I noticed several messages from 7-zip like this one:

WARNING: Access is denied.
C:UsersMeDocumentsMy Pictures

I stopped the archiving figuring I needed to fix this so my items in Pictures could be included, but that was partly because I didn’t notice at first that the “My Pictures” mentioned was not the normal one seen in UsersMe directory but was in the Documents directory. With Windows Explorer I looked, but didn’t see it in My Documents (aka Documents), but then checked for a hidden file by altering the Folder Options to show hidden files. Sue enough it showed up, but clicking on that “My Pictures” gave me “Access denied”.

What’s going on here?


That hidden “My Pictures” folder, along with similar ones named “My Music” and “My Videos”, turns out to be a bit of kludgery Microsoft put into NTFS to make NT-based versions of Windows backwards compatible with older programs. This “My Pictures” thing isn’t really a folder but a type of soft link called a “junction point“. These junction points can’t be treated like a folder/directory and be viewed or scanned for contents, but apparently can only used with certain interfaces embedded in path strings like “My PicturesAlbum3” used when the current directory is Documents.

7-zip was scanning for items in the Documents folder when it found “My Pictures” item and treated it like a directory and tried to scan it for items, which caused the access denial and the warning to be output. Apparently the 7-zip code does not understand junction points, as if it did it could have not emitted a warning. The access denial should have no consequence for the archive operation as 7-zip has no need to use these funny junction point names.

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