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Vista Access Denied on C drive

Hi,  one of our users somehow managed to hose the security setting in Vista so that although all users (who were admin equivalents) can view their data they cannot copy it off to an external source, cannot browse C drive (access denied), cannot get into control panel or sharing.  system restore will not work

I worked with Microsoft and tried the following, all to no avial:
*Windows repair -- can't log in a administrator, it says account is disabled
* tried using the command net user administrator /active:yes
* Tried restoring security settings using secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\inf\defltbase.inf  /db /defltbase.sdb /verbose  it said successfull but no change in issue
* Tried imaging machine using Shadow Protect -- it sees the size but can't explore image (almost acts like an encrypted disk, which it is not
* Tried attaching HD to another machine as a slave, Windows does not recognize and says disk must be formatted before use

Again, I can boot into Wondows and see data but can't copy it off anywhere.  I cannot install anything, can't access system tools -- it's like he somehow disabled the master admin account and set everyone else to read only access.

Any ideas?
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AA095927
Asked:
AA095927
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1 Solution
 
Kyle AbrahamsSenior .Net DeveloperCommented:
What if you took that hard drive out and plugged it into a working machine?  Could at least get the data.

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AA095927Author Commented:
Tried that, same issue
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Kyle AbrahamsSenior .Net DeveloperCommented:
What about USB flash drive or burning to CD Rom?
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Justin_W_ChandlerCommented:
Try to see if logging in as the original user (who should have administrator priviledges) and TAKE OWNERSHIP of the root drive and "apply permissions to all subdirectories"

Once you've done this, you should be able to restore the permissions and for goodness sake enable the Administrator account, while you're at it :)
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AA095927Author Commented:
Justin, I can log in as the original user (which is listed as administraotr) but I get "unable to display current owner" and "can't open access control editor"

I tried this:

1. Login in safe mode with command prompt
2. In command prompt Type - NET USER Administrator /active:yes
The key is to be able to login as administrator. http://www.computerperformance.co.uk/vista/vista_administrator_activate.htm should give you more clarity. Dont worry if you get an error message, you might have to do some of the following steps.
3. Try NET STOP ProfSvc - this should stop the User profile service and bring you back to the login page - and if you are lucky you will have an Administrator login there. It might not have a password if you did not set up a password when you configured the system.
3. Control Alt Delete, start task manager, Applications, New Task, explorer - this should bring up the start menu etc
4. Start - msconfig - Tools - Disable UAC - the key to get out of this access denied problem is to disable the User Account Control. Dont worry if you get an access denied message here http://www.petri.co.il/disable_uac_in_windows_vista.htm this link explains different ways you can disable UAC. For me the manual editing of Registry worked
5. So again msconfig, tools, Registry Editor and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System. Locate the following value (DWORD): EnableLUA and give it a value of 0.
6. Once UAC is disabled - right click C drive, Security, Advanced, Effective permission (I guess), Authenticated user and Allow all - you might have to play around this step because I do not recall the exact steps.
and I was able to reactivate the administrator account (in theory) but I still get  access control errors and can't change permissions.

And I can't burn data (whic user has not backed up) to any external media
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Kyle AbrahamsSenior .Net DeveloperCommented:
can you create a new user via net user as an administrator?  Any indications on how this was done so we can try to reverse it?
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AA095927Author Commented:
No idea how it was done other than he says he was trying to share out some photos between his wife's pc and his over their home network.
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Kyle AbrahamsSenior .Net DeveloperCommented:
Is the drive shared at all?  (other than administrator share?)  Can you disable the share if so?
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AA095927Author Commented:
IThe drive is not shared anymore.  If I try to share logged in as administraotr I still get an access denied/you do not have permissions
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Kyle AbrahamsSenior .Net DeveloperCommented:
If you take out the hard drive and put in another machine (say XP) with the Vista being slave . . . you can't take ownership of the drive at that point?  

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Justin_W_ChandlerCommented:
If you are able to log in as Administrator you should most certainly be able to take ownership of the C drive. What steps are you taking to accomplish this, and are you ticking off the selection to apply to all subfolders and files?
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AA095927Author Commented:
I was able to get the take ownership to allow me to grant administrators full access.  I was then able to see that user had put a deny on authenticated users to the C drive.  Set this to full control and success!
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Justin_W_ChandlerCommented:
I clearly posted instructions to take ownership of the files multiple times, including within 30 minutes of the original request for assistance. As validated by the author's own comment (23799294), the appropriate solution was as stated. Please deny the close request with refund and award the points appropriately.
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AA095927Author Commented:
I apologize and will award full point to you! sorry for the confusion
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Justin_W_ChandlerCommented:
AA095927 - Thank you for the recognition; have a nice day.
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