Resetting default folder/drive permissions in Windows 7

Posted on 2011-03-01
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi folks,

I've recently upgraded my PC to Windows 7 (x64). I have multiple drives/partitions on my PC but only the C: partition was touched (this was an otherwise clean install in C:, i.e. I formatted and installed Win7 from scratch).

Now I'm having problems accessing files/folders in my other drives/partitions. Initially I suspected it was due to the reinstallation, so I went round the various drive letters and set the properties/owner as follows:

Administrators (Group)
Authenticated Users: Read & execute
SYSTEM: Full control
Administrators: Full control
Users: Full control

I'm logged on as a user in the "Administrators" group, and whenever I try to move items from one folder to another I keep getting a "Folder Access Denied" UAC window with it saying that "You'll need to provide administrator permission to move this folder".

This happens whether I'm trying to move files around within the same partition or across partitions.  

The only way I can get around this is to set my own user as owner on the drive and all its subfolders, which I'm keen to avoid.

However, I've also noticed that a cleanly formatted (in Windows 7) partition doesn't have the above behaviour, and permissions/ownership of objects is the same as above.

I could reset everything by copying all the files to a network drive, reformatting the partitions and copying files back, but there's around 4-5 TB of data to move, and I'd rather avoid this!

Is there a way to "hard reset" all folder permissions for these drives?

Question by:ardm
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 35013576
Right click the drive letter in Computer
Choose properties
Choose security
Click advanced
Click change permissions
Choose the group or user that you would like to be the owner
Check the "replace all child objects.... box
Click OK or apply.

Author Comment

ID: 35013633
Thanks for the quick response - Sorry, I should have mentioned I have done that already. Reset all child object permissions and ownership as mentioned above. Still getting UAC...

Only way around it is to set the owner to my own user, but I want to avoid doing that.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 35013677
The untouched drives are most likely set for the old SID of the clients previous to the install.
When you look at folder permissions do you see any objects that do not have user names just the SID (a bunch of seemingly random numbers and letters)?
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Author Comment

ID: 35013731
No - and that's the strange thing... permissions look identical to the newly formatted drive. Yet for the old ones I still get the UAC dialog whenever I move files around, and I don't for the new one.

Expert Comment

ID: 35013889
Microsoft fixit available download from  Diagnose and repair Windows File and Folder Problems automatically" may automatically fix your problem.
LVL 30

Accepted Solution

ded9 earned 500 total points
ID: 35014933
Run subinacl to reset your security settings to default


Author Comment

ID: 35023060
Thanks ded9... subinacl seems to be the right tool for the job, at least according to the documentation. Will give it a shot when I have some time and let you know!

Also, I came across "icacls" when searching for documentation on the above - do you know how that is different to "subinacl"? They both seem to do the same (or similar) things, at least for file-based ACLs, with the benefit that "icacls" is already installed on my system...


Author Comment

ID: 35076409
A combination of using "subinacl" and ensuring system files were visible seemed to do the trick, thanks!

I think with system files hidden, and using the windows GUI to change permissions, it wasn't touching some of the files/folders and they were left with the wrong/old SID and permissions.

All looks good now :)

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35076427
subinacl by itself needed further research, and had to unhide system files first. otherwise everything worked great!

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