No Security, Sharing, Customize, or "New" tabs on Windows Server 2003

Posted on 2008-06-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-12-31
I administer a Windows 2003 Standard (SP2) server that serves as a small office AD/DC, mail server (Exchange 2003), and file server. Few days ago I noticed that various tabs have gone missing from the folder properties. Where normally the tabs "General", "Sharing", "Security", "Web Sharing", and "Customize" tabs are displayed for Administrator, currently only "General" and "Web Sharing" tabs are shown. "Sharing and Security" is also missing from the folder context (right click) menu. Additionally "New" (to create a new folder, shortcut, document, etc.) is gone from the context menu, so when I right click, for example, on the desktop, there is no "New" option in the context menu that pops up.

I have combed EE and the web for a solution and so far nothing has helped. Here's a quick run-down: There are four physical volumes (one of them is a RAID 6 array, the rest are single drives), the filesystem on all of them is and has always been NTFS. I've run chkdsk /r and rebooted. I can view and change permissions using cacls/xcacls/subinacl with no "permission denied" errors. I can also create and delete directories from command line or by using Directory Opus ("File | New" is missing from Explorer). I usually log in to the server via RDC, but logging in at the console doesn't make a difference  the problem still persists. The tabs are missing on _all_ folders, regardless on who is the owner, or on which media they're located. The permissions on file "\windows\system32\rshx32.dll" that is sometimes the culprit for missing security tab has the correct permissions and ownership. The server service is (obviously) running.

I've also created a new user to whom I gave Administrator privileges, then logged in as that user, and the problem still exists... so if it's a registry problem, it's not user specific (though I suppose it could be a wrong default setting). I don't recall making any registry changes for quite some time, so it's unlikely I would have messed up something in the course of regular administration work.

The system has the most recent 2.x version of ESET nod32 (3.x doesn't support Exchange yet), and I've ran full virus scan so virus attack is unlikely (there is also a perimeter hardware virus shield which makes it less likely for bugs to infect the network in the first place).

So basically this is a problem with the mentioned options not being displayed in the Folder Properties and in the context menu -- their associated functions don't seem to be restricted or broken as there are no permission denied or other errors when applying them from command line or from third party applications like Directory Opus.

Reinstall of the operating system would surely fix the problem, but considering the complexity of the setup I would not venture to do so anytime soon. Even this problem can't be resolved I'd rather rely to cacls/xcacls and Directory Opus to provide the features of the missing tabs even though it makes the administration of the system considerably more cumbersome.

Thanks in advance for any insights on this issue!
Question by:vwal
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Author Comment

ID: 21791012
I noticed an additional symptom: The "new folder" button present in many file save dialogs is defunct. It's there but clicking on it accomplishes nothing (it gets pressed and released, but a new folder doesn't show up). I assume this is likely related to the missing "New" option in the context menu. Apparently the "new" function is unavailable for some reason and the context menu automatically leaves the option out.

But new folders can be created from the command line, or by using a third party tool such as Directory Opus.
LVL 29

Accepted Solution

Michael Pfister earned 2000 total points
ID: 21793034
I assume parts of your registry under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT got damaged.
I'm afraid that nothing else but a reinstall might fix it. The biggest problem is, WHY this part of the registry got smashed and what else is smashed that you're not seeing right now.

What you can do, but its time consuming:

use VMWare's free VMWare server and VMWare converter to convert the physical machine to a virtual one so you can play with it without killing your productional environment.

After the VM is running, take a snapshot of the VM.
- try a repair install of Windows 2003 server
- register all dll's under \Windows\system32 by issuing a
   for %a in (*.dll) do @regsvr32 /s "%a"


Author Comment

ID: 22064432
I've scheduled this server for reinstallation. Thanks for the response. I hoped to avoid reinstallation but apparently there is no other way. I'll do clean installation rather than try to preserve the current one as it seems trying to remedy the registry damage may not be possible in the end anyway.
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LVL 29

Expert Comment

by:Michael Pfister
ID: 22066936
Reinstall is probably the best solution. Make sure your hardware runs without glitches.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 22852855
I did a fresh install on another PC and got the same exact results. Seems like a windows protection thing. I ended up just making 2 batch files. 1 to run before the program runs and then 2nd after. 1st one copies the userdata from another place to the default, 2nd copies to folder to that other place...
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 22852938
Ops sorry about that I somehow posted this to the wrong one please ignore my post completely!

Author Comment

ID: 22853194
No problem.

To update the situation with this question: I've scheduled the server for a clean reinstall this coming weekend. I had to do some research to make sure the domain (it's a DC which appears to be fully functional) is properly replicated first, and that no mail (it has Exchange 2003 on it) or other content is lost.  I believe the problem will be remedied by the reinstall. This thread can be closed.

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