An application stops responding when a file has a circular reference in Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2

Applies to: Windows 7 EnterpriseWindows 7 ProfessionalWindows 7 Ultimate


Consider the following scenario:  

  • You have an NTFS volume on a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • The NTFS volume is affected by a circular reference issue that is caused by metadata corruption.
  • You use an application that opens an affected file by using the file ID, and then the application queries the FileNameInformation class by using the NtQueryInformationFile routine.

In this scenario, the application freezes. To recover from this issue, you have to restart the computer.


This issue occurs because of a code defect in NTFS. The code defect causes an application to freeze when a circular reference exists in the folder structure.

Note This hotfix only prevents the creation of a circular reference. Therefore, if a volume has experienced this problem, you must run the chkdsk utility to resolve the corruption and to avoid future occurrences.


Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing the problem described in this article. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, go to the following Microsoft website: Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.


To apply this hotfix, you must be running one of the following operating systems:

Restart requirement

You must restart the computer after you apply this hotfix.

Hotfix replacement information

This hotfix does not replace any previously released hotfix.


To temporarily work around this problem, restart the computer.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.