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Prohibit New Items on Desktop - but Allow Changing Current Items

Posted on 2009-05-15
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Last Modified: 2013-11-25
I would like to set up our users computers, so that they cannot save new items to the desktop. But I still want them to be able to edit their timecard which is already on the desktop.

We have group policy set up on a Win Server 2003 box, so if there's a viable option in there - I'll take it.

I've tried changing the permissions of the users desktop folder to read-only with CACLS, and then changing the permissions on the timesheet to full control. That stops them from adding anything new, but they also still can't save at all - I don't understand why, since the effective permissions on the file is full control.

I can do logon scripts, kixtart, group policy, or even manually if I really have to. But it's not such a critical thing that I want to purchase software for it.

Any thoughts?
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Question by:spamster
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oBdA earned 2000 total points
ID: 24398034
How about moving the timesheet file itself into another folder where the user has write access, and instead putting a shortcut to it on the desktop?
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by:spamster
ID: 24398324
That'd work as a work-around... even if it's not the answer I was looking for :)

As a side note - I also tried removing the user from the desktop's ACL, and then only giving them permission to the timesheet. Unfortunately everything on the desktop disappeared.

I'll wait to see if there are any other ideas, and in the mean time work on a script that will move the timesheet over to their mapped documents folder (U:), and replace it with a shortcut.
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Expert Comment

by:oBdA
ID: 24398354
The issue might be the timesheet program. If it, for example, first saves to a temporary file, then deletes the original file and finally renames the temp file, there's no other workaround.
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Author Comment

by:spamster
ID: 24398504
Ahhh... hadn't thought of that. It's an Excel file, so that's probably what's happening...
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Expert Comment

by:hotwire-p
ID: 24398760
If it's an Excel file then what oBdA suggests above will be the issue; Excel saves by saving your changes to a temp file, deleting the original file then replacing it with the temp version. Full details on this can be found on the MS KB here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/271513/en-us

If you need them to have access from the desktop to a timesheet but don't want them putting anything else on there I'd put the timesheet in their home or profile folders on your network where I'm assuming they do have write access, then put a shortcut onto the read-only desktop. That way excel will be happy as it will have a folder it can write new content to, but your end users will still have a read-only desktop.

NB: If you did this and the desktop folder is read only and you don't change the ACL on the shortcut, they will also be unable to delete the shortcut.


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by:spamster
ID: 24399961
Ok, I ended up using Kixtart to check if there was already a timesheet on the desktop, if so, it copies it to their documents folder.
Then it creates a new shortcut to that timesheet and finally calls a batch file that uses cacls to make their desktop read-only.
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Author Comment

by:spamster
ID: 24399975
@hotwire-p Thanks to you too, you wrote it out very clearly, but it was the same suggestion as oBdA.

I appreciate both of your help
Hopefully I'll be able to repay that one day.
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Author Closing Comment

by:spamster
ID: 31582021
Thanks man, I appreciate the help.
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