Reparse points break restore points

Dmitry Kustov 1 Reputation point
2021-08-10T11:54:53.48+00:00

I actually addressed this to support already and this should be escalated to devs, but support representative asked me to create a post as well, so...

Reparse points break restore points in Windows 10. Apparently.
I had an issue with Dolby Driver (already found root cause and addressed it to Lenovo, manufacturer of my laptop) and while trying to solve it, I though to try using a restore point. And I had quite a lot of headache with it. With any restore point (of the 3) that I had.
Firstly, when trying to restore point in a booted Windows restore process failed on files in OneDrive folder. First file it complained about was moved by me to a separate directory, but then it complained about Desktop folder, which, actually, does not make sense, since why would restore point refer Desktop at all? I did not save screenshots for this one, but the text was about file being locked, which OneDrive likes to do by making some (random?) files or folders into special reparse points (thought to be the cause of crashes in https://bugs.php.net/bug.php?id=80881)
Secondly, when trying to use restore point from advanced startup mode it fails with this:
121928-gamebar.jpg
Search for details of .exe files in "C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps\" I found https://superuser.com/questions/1437590/typing-python-on-windows-10-version-1903-command-prompt-opens-microsoft-stor or more specifically answer from smallscript, which explains that these are "App execution aliases" feature, that was added to Win10 at some points and these files are reparse points.
One would hope, that just removing these files (or, at least, moving them away) would solve thing, but no. I did move the whole folder to a different place (on same disk, though), but it did not help. In fact, I was able to make it so that the moved files can't be copied or moved themselves: I turned off and back on the respective aliases. This lead me to a thought, that issue is that the restore points themselves have these reparse points in them.
A little more search and I found this - https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/windows-backup-or-restore-errors-0x80070001-0x81000037-or-0x80070003-e63576a2-22c9-8e90-bdde-e51a9e8e1893#bkmk_workaroundissue4 which does indicate, that there are some "limitations" on backing up and restoring reparse points. They are possible workarounds, but they can't be applied to restore points, which are packages, which you can't even open yourself (at least I was not able to find a way to).
So I believe, that there is a "bug" or flaw in logic regrading what is copied to restore points and being restored from them:

  1. Why would restore point backup "C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps\"? This is a folder with just reparse points, nothing else useful.
  2. There, apparently, can not be 2 identical reparse points in the system, thus there needs to be some exception handling for such cases, if backing up reparse points is expected.

That's it, I guess. Please, share your thoughts regarding the matter, if any. Again, posting this on request from MS support.

Windows 10
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