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Over the past few days I have noticed a Folder named 1 on my Windows desktop (Windows 10 Home). I delete it every time I see it, then notice it again a few hours later.

I kept a close eye on my desktop to try to catch when it appeared (I thought maybe it was a virus) and discovered that it appeared as ArcMap finished loading - the splash screen disappears and the ArcMap window appears at the same time the 1 folder appears.

No folder icon on my desktop while ArcMap is opening:
enter image description here

ArcMap is now open and a new folder has appeared on my desktop:
enter image description here

What is causing ArcMap to create this new folder on my desktop, and how do I stop it? I have been using ArcMap for years and have never seen this before.

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  • Thanks for this. I started noticing the empty 1 folder showing up when I got a new computer. Somewhere in downloading 10.5, something changed from the configuration on my old machine. I hope your solution works.
    – Fourester
    Jul 13 '19 at 0:29
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While I was writing the question I continued to search, and came across this old post on Geonet which suggested looking in the AdvancedArcMapSettings utility, which can be found in

C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.5\Utilities

On the System Paths tab, the path for Templates Path was set to just 1 rather than an actual path.

enter image description here

Clicking on Reset all values to default restored the correct path

enter image description here

Clicked Apply and closed the utility and reopened ArcMap. Sure enough the 1 folder didn't re-create.

Note: The utility needs to be run with ArcMap closed, and I had to Run as Administrator in order to save the changes.

The Geonet post also indicated that the folder would be created wherever the map document was created. So I took a look in other folders that I'd used MXDs in, and found a 1 in my working folder D:\GIS\SE as well.

I still don't know why it happened, but at least I've found how/where and been able to fix it.

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  • I recently, saw this folder named "1" on a site I was working at for a few months. It seemed to appear around the same time IT had implemented some additional backup and I had not thought to consider ArcGIS Desktop a possible source. I'm no longer at that site but will let them know about your findings here.
    – PolyGeo
    Jul 13 '19 at 1:32

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