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How to reset permissions of files/shares from one computer to another

We copied files from a dying server to a new server, and setup the same share structure. Unfortunately, none of the permissions where kept (they new files inherited permissions). Since the dying server is online, how can we copy permissions (both share and acl) only!!!!! We can't copy the files again, they are too large and the server is about dead.

Old server is 2003, new server is 2008r2
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1 Solution
Suryanarayan Balakrishnan IyerSenior ConsultantCommented:
How to Back Up and Restore NTFS and Share Permissions
This topic was originally posted to the AskDS blog and has been added to the wiki to allow for community editing.

From time to time we are asked how to backup and restore NTFS file system permissions as well as network share permissions. KB article 125996 talks about the network share piece of it, but it does not talk about NTFS permissions.

One thing that has made the NTFS permissions piece of this simpler is the Icacls tool. Icacls was developed for Windows Vista as a replacement for tools such as Cacls, Xcacls, and Xcacls.vbs. It was also included in Service Pack 2 for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008.

Backup and Restore of Share Permissions

To backup share permissions, export the Shares registry key.

1.Open Regedit to the following location:


2.Right-click the Shares registry key and select Export. Give it a file name such as shareperms.reg.
When you want to restore the permissions, double-click shareperms.reg to import it back into the registry.

Use the Reg tool to backup the registry key from the command line:

reg export HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Shares shareperms.reg

If you need to restore it at some point, just run:

reg import shareperms.reg

Backup and Restore of NTFS Permissions

Use this command to backup NTFS permissions:

icacls d:\data /save ntfsperms.txt /t /c

The /T switch allows it to get subfolder permissions too. The /C switch allows it to continue even if errors are encountered (although errors will still be displayed).

Use this command to restore them:

icacls d:\ /restore ntfsperms.txt

Note that in the command to save the permissions, I specified the target folder D:\Data, but when I restored them, I specified just D:\ as the target. Icacls is a little funky like that, and here’s why.

If you open the text file with the exported permissions (ntfsperms.txt in the above example), you’ll see that Icacls uses relative paths (in bold below). Underneath the relative paths are the permissions for the folders in Security Descriptor Definition Language (SDDL) format.


Had I specified D:\Data in the command to restore the permissions, it would have failed looking for a D:\Data\Data folder:

D:\>icacls d:\data /restore perms.txt
d:\data\data: The system cannot find the file specified.
Successfully processed 0 files; Failed processing 1 files

You might think specifying D:\ as the target in the restore command may somehow mess up the permissions on other folders at that level, but as you can see from the ntfsperms.txt output file, it only has information about the Data folder and subfolders, so that is all it will change.
Suryanarayan Balakrishnan IyerSenior ConsultantCommented:
surfsideinternetAuthor Commented:
The first one requires coping the files over again, the second only works if your shared drive is the same (ie. both new and old shares are on Drive F:)
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Robocopy is the solution for you but you need to test before actually running it.

You can get robocopy gui from here:

/SEC will copy permissions only

Also, the program will only copy over new or changed files so it won't copy files already copied.

This is what i most commonly run:
robocopy "C:\source" "d:\destination" /S /E /V /SEC /NP /LOG+:"D:\robocopylog.txt" /R:2 /W:3
/s copies subdirectories
/e copies empty ones too
/v is verbose for the log
/SEC copies permissions
/np shows no progress percentage (this is ugly and gets piped to the log)
/log is the log file
/R is the number of retires
/W is the wait time between retries

Let me know if you have trouble.
surfsideinternetAuthor Commented:
Okay, it keeps telling me access is denied when changing permissions. Although I am logged in as Administrator.
surfsideinternetAuthor Commented:
Nevermind.... It looks like it is working great. THanks
surfsideinternetAuthor Commented:
Worked perfectly. - Thanks
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