With the end of Windows XP Microsoft started to heavily use localized resource-names in Windows in order to make work easier for people (e.g. “Program Files” folder is named “Programme” in German Windows). While this folder exists on German Windows XP and older only, on Windows Vista and above it does not exist any more. Instead there’s a folder “Program Files” just as on English systems, but with a “desktop.ini” file which contains a reference to the German localization string inside the “shell32.dll”. In addition Microsoft created a symbolic link named “Programme” which points to “Program Files”. This link cannot be opened from Explorer. If you try to open it you get an error message complaining about access restrictions.
However, this is a classic example of a good idea gone bad. The majority of non-technically minded people are confused that there are at least two folders of “Programme” showing up in their Explorer when actually only one of them seems to work. On x64 systems there are even more such folders. Another caveat is that these localizations do not apply to command-prompt sessions. When you open the folder “C:\Programme” with Explorer you’re actually in the folder “C:\Program Files”. The same applies to the folder “Benutzer” (gets you redirected to “Users”) and to a bunch of other folders (remember that insane “Documents and Settings” folder?). Microsoft!! Hear me? This is NOT good! In fact this is terrible and confusing and completely unnecessary. It is like renaming “Windows Seven” to “Fenster Sieben” for German customers. The Internet is called Internet in Germany, too. Not “Zwischennetz”. Only a bunch of wankers started calling it “Zwischennetz” where they put their “Heimseiten” on. *brrrr* Shivers me! Why you can’t just rename it to “apps” instead? It’s short, it doesn’t have a nasty space in and everybody (I mean everybody!!!) understands it. Even my grandma who’s gone long time ago and didn’t speak a single word English (and besides told me that The Beatles do awful “Negermusik” (literally negro-music)) would understand that.
So, how can we fix this? Well, I guess you just could install the English MUI-pack and you’re good to go. But MUI-packs are not available for the lower-end versions of Windows. Another method is to just buy and install the English version. Both of them gets you English menus and stuff. Not preferable on a German system. Instead just delete some desktop.ini files (that’s the quick’n’dirty method) or delete the LocalizedResourceString entry inside of them (recommended method; preserves custom folder icons).
Now on to the symbolic links and junctions. Just delete them. A junction can be deleted using “rd ” at the command-prompt. Symbolic links can be removed using “rd /s /q ” at the command-prompt. I didn’t check if they can be deleted using Explorer. I guess not since Explorer doesn’t see them as links and tries to handle them just like every other folder.
Once done you have a clean Windows Vista or Seven. Enjoy!
Additional notes: The localizations are just cosmetic, nothing else. The symbolic links and junctions are used for programs which do not stick to the standard rules of Windows. There are various system-wide variables that point to different locations, thus making it very easy for developers to always read and write to a specific folder even on non-english systems. If you do not make use of these variables you’ll likely get into serious trouble. In order to not break some shitty piece of crap Microsoft put a localized symbolic link to the “Program Files” folder. However, the number of such shitty programs is rather low.