Once again, I find myself confused on why a question was closed as "Unclear/Needs Details":

What is unclear about that question? Is it just because the user didn't list their files? It really shouldn't be necessary in this case!

Almost any Windows user (especially Windows 11) should be able to check that location for their profile and see 0-byte files (e.g. Paint's pbrush.exe in Windows 11 or Edge's MicrosoftEdge.exe in Windows 10). These are App Execution Aliases, which is a standard Windows feature and has been for some time. Did those that VTC'd really not have anything in that location, or did they just not check?

And again, it seems to me to be common courtesy to just ask for some additional information when VTC'ing if you don't understand it. I've been told by a user in comments (here on Meta) that they don't do this because some users then argue in the comments that the question is clear as it stands. Well ... YES!!!! It is. If someone else can correctly answer the question as-is, then (a) the question wasn't unclear, and (b) the additional information that you thought was needed, wasn't.

As a side-note, I'm really surprised that I didn't find a duplicate here, since it is so simple a question. But I didn't see a match when searching for "Execution Alias" on the site, at least. (Update): Ramhound points to What's the AppData/Local/Microsoft/WindowsApps folder for? as being a potential candidate, but unfortunately since it is closed as a duplicate itself with no answers, it can't be used as the dupe-target for this question. And the original really isn't a duplicate of this new question, since it isn't about Python, but is about 0-byte files and that directory.

I would consider this much more useful to the user who asked if we could point it to an actual duplicate that would answer their question, rather than the unhelpful "Needs details".

  • 2
    The user failed to even list the name of one of the executables, that was the sole reason, I voted to closed. As the reason I didn’t submit a complaint asking for that information, that’s because of how toxic new users, often are to feedback. The author can easily edit their question to get it reopened
    – Ramhound
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 12:53
  • 4
    @Ramhound As mentioned above, there is simply no need to even list a single .exe for the question to be clear and answered. Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 12:54
  • If it was to be reopened I would just immediately flag it as a duplicate of this question. I disagree had there been a screenshot of the files I would have identified it as being the application alias folder, I know a lot, but not always immediately.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 12:56
  • 1
    @Ramhound Eh, I don't see it. There is nothing in that proposed duplicate question that talks about either that particular directory or 0-byte files. There are other questions here about specific App Execution Aliases and their behavior, but this particular question doesn't appear to be a duplicate of any that I could find. Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 12:58
  • I have closed a question that literally asked about the 0-byte files as a duplicate of that question before here and nobody has voted to reopen it after 3 years.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 13:01
  • @Ramhound Now that one I could see being a duplicate for this one, based on the title alone. And in that case, because the question body asked about Python, yes, I can see it being a duplicate of the other Python question. Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 13:04
  • But the new question is vague, had they provided a screenshot, I probably would have identified it was a possible duplicate. Question duplicates are about the question’s answers not the question body (or their titles). (As a gold tag in Windows 10 I could have flagged it as a duplicate despite it itself being closed). But it’s not in a state where I would vote to reopen currently. I might even specifically answer the question, but again, not in a state where I personally would vote to reopen.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 13:10
  • 1
    @Ramhound And on that, I know we disagree. "4" can be the answer to "What is 2 + 2?", or "What is 2 * 2?" (or hundreds of other questions), but that does not make those question duplicates of each other. Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 13:12
  • reopened as ramhound has found a potential duplicate
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 13:14
  • @DavidPostill Since Ramhound VTC'd already as "Needs details", it's not possible to change it to the duplicate. Can you or another mod make the adjustment directly? Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 17:38
  • 2
    @NotTheDr01ds Done
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 18:17
  • 1
    I have also lost count of how many mod-closed as duplicate I don't agree with.
    – harrymc
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 19:49
  • I lost track of the number of questions that are simply unanswerable since they don't contain the information necessary to answer them. If you don't agree with a vote closure, vote to reopen the question, after you improve the question of course.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 6:24

1 Answer 1


The reason given in the comments for closing was that the OP didn't list any files in the directory, which I maintain was not necessary information for answering the question. Without examples of files, the voter didn't recognize it as the directory for App Execution Aliases in Windows, but I did, and others might have.

I would propose that the question is better without a list of files for two reasons:

  • If multiple files were listed, some people here might vote-to-close as "Needs focus".
  • If one file was listed, the question would become about that one file.

With no files listed, it actually serves as a great "generic" duplicate for future readers to find.

However, we also determined that there was a duplicate that would answer the question (related to python.exe as an example file), and to me, a duplicate is a much more useful Close than a "Needs details", since it ultimately provides an answer to the question for the user.

So while ultimately the question remains closed, at least it is with a worthwhile duplicate pointer in this case.

  • Yep, the question was handled correctly here. Per the global meta FAQ (last paragraph of the linked answer), if the question was closed for a non-duplicate reason that doesn't apply to it but a duplicate exists for it, it should be reopened and re-closed as a duplicate, so future visitors to the question are directed to an answer. (This is unlike most such cases, where if a question was closed as, say, needing detail, but the needs more focus reason applies instead, it should just remain closed as is.)
    – gparyani
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 2:25

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