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Strange Icon appears on desktop

by cocothompson / January 16, 2006 12:20 PM PST

Sometimes after I exit Outlook Express a strange icon appears on my desktop. It only shows a ~. What is this and how can I prevent this?
Many thanks, Louise

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Usually that is a temporary file prefix
by kschang / January 16, 2006 3:07 PM PST

Most temporary files starts with a tilde. It's a special character. A similar character is _ (underscore). Somehow your system creates temporary files on your desktop, when it should have gone into a directory like c:/windows/temp. It's not a major defect, more of an annoyance.

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It's a Copy of your Address Book
by skycatcher / January 16, 2006 5:33 PM PST

These details were from 'illEagle' on...

The file appearing on your desktop with the filename ~, commonly known as a tilde, is a backup of your Windows Address Book. It is appearing as a result of the April 2003 Cumulative Patch for Outlook Express (330994). The patch is installed for Outlook Express 5.5 or 6 in response to a vulnerability that could allow an attacker to run code of the attacker?s choice on a user?s machine. To exploit the vulnerability, an attacker would have to be able to cause Windows to open a specially constructed MHTML URL, either on a web site or included in an HTML email message.

Unfortunately, there is a bug in the patch. Whenever you make a change in your Windows Address Book file (*.wab file), Windows makes a backup of this file. Generally this backup is called username.wa~ , however after the patch is installed the backup gets renamed to just ~ instead and saved in the directory where you start your Outlook Express. Most of the time, people start Outlook Express from a shortcut on their desktop, so the backup file gets placed there. This is how the tilde (~) file arrives on your desktop.


Back to me......

I found it usually appeared in C:\ or C:\Windows so I deleted it, made a blank Notepad file, renamed it to ~ and added all the +h +r +s attributes to it and put a copy in both places. My address book still updates OK but I haven't spotted any extra ~ (Tilde) files since.

Anyone out there know of a better (or safer) cure...? Please write...

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Outlook Express Update
by the_real_martian / January 18, 2006 10:17 AM PST

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