Technology Advice by Ryan Taylor Adams

What is the “$hf_mig$” Folder for And Can I Delete It?

February 21st, 2008 · 3 Comments · Printer Friendly Version


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If you have the “Show hidden files and folders” option enabled, you may have noticed a folder named “$hf_mig$” inside of your Windows directory. This folder contains information about previously installed updates. According to Microsoft, “When a security update, critical update, update, update rollup, driver, or feature pack installs GDR version files, the hotfix files are also copied to the %windir%\$hf_mig$ folder. This supports migration to the appropriate files if you later install a hotfix or service pack that includes earlier versions of these files.”

For example, consider the following scenario:

  1. You apply a security update that installs a GDR version of File.dll with a version number of 5.2.3790.1000 and copies a hotfix version of File.dll with a version number of 5.2.3790.1000 to the %windir%\$hf_mig$ folder.
  2. You apply a hotfix that includes a hotfix version of File.dll with a version number of 5.2.3790.0000.

In this scenario the hotfix installation in step 2 installs the hotfix version of File.dll (version number 5.2.3790.1000) from the %windir%\$hf_mig$ folder instead of the hotfix version of File.dll (version number 5.2.3790.0000) from the hotfix package.

Because the “$hf_mig$” folder is crucial to ensuring your computer has the most recent updates, you SHOULD NOT delete the “$hf_mig$” folder.

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Removing “$NtServicePackUninstall$” and other update related folders | RyanTAdams.com // Feb 21, 2008 at 7:46 PM

    […] those folders. You can delete any of the folders that start and end with a “$”, except for “$hf_mig$”. Depending on the number of updates you have installed, deleting these folders can save […]

  • 2 Richard Hunter // Jun 30, 2009 at 8:44 AM

    Ryan, I suspect that people want to delete the $hf_mig$ folder because they believe it is harboring malware. I was infected and have been repeatably reinfected even when I have not been on-line, so my malware scans have been missing something. I have a subfolder with a very long name that appeared in $hf_mig$ about the time I was infected. Windows won’t even allow me to open it (access is denied). Its called {29F8DDc1-9487-49b8-B27E-3EOC3C1298FF}. Can I kill it? Do you know what it is?

  • 3 Ryan Adams // Jun 30, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    @Richard Hunter: Generally, all of the sub-folders are named after the hotfix update they belong to. But, that’s not enough to say the folder you mention is malicious. I’d suggest you do a full virus scan. Preferably, also do a scan from outside of Windows by using a Live CD or by connecting your hard drive to another computer.

  • 4 HighPingedLPB // Jul 27, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    Glad I looked this up. I would have jacked up my friend’s new windows install and had to start over again. Thanks for the info.