Windows Live Messenger 8.0 Beta… what’s up with that massive hidden file?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 6:32 AM

I’ve only been using the Windows Live Messenger 8.0 Beta for a few weeks now. I’m not a heavy IM user (esp in the last few weeks I’ve been unable to connect during normal business hours), but when I am on IM, it’s usually only with a handful of folk.

With every product you try that is a beta version, you accept some risk. But today, when defragging my new laptop (Toshiba Tecra M4 TabletPC… sidebar: I’m a big fan so far!), I noticed a file related to Windows Live Messenger.

When using the Windows disk defragmenter, you can click “View Report” to see a list of all your fragmented files… but who ever looks at this in detail? I took a look after a defrag and saw a single 8GB file listed! “What in the world is that 8GB file for?” First thought was it was one of my VirtualPC virtual hard drive files… nope, wrong answer!

The file, SimilarityTable_1, on my machine, is over 8GB and was last written 3 days ago. What in the heck is this? Maybe a search index of my conversations? No, too small when compared to my MSN Desktop Search indexes. To see this file, you’ll need to modify the folder settings by checking Show hidden files and folders & uncheck Hide protected operating system files (recommended) options (remember to reset these options back to the original settings after viewing this file).

I’ve sent the product team feedback asking what in the world this is… if I find out what this is and why it’s there, I’ll share on this blog.

Where can you find the file? Below you’ll find a screenshot of the file on my machine, or you can just navigate here (notice the profile & Messenger signin part of the path): C:\Documents and Settings[profile name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Messenger[Messenger signin name]\SharingMetadata\Working.

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