What could be changing permissions on C:\Program Files\ subdirectories?

Posted on 2013-01-17
Last Modified: 2013-02-05
We have a standard Windows 7 x64 Service Pack 1 computer image that we use here -- and for years, it's been updated, maintained, and has worked flawlessly.  However, within the last two months, there have been some oddities that I can't trace down.

Here's what's occurring... the issue is when someone tries to open ANY Office 2010 program, they get the error: "Error 1317. Setup cannot create the folder C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14. Verify that the path exists in your system and that you have sufficient permissions to update it. (Retry/Cancel)"

Indeed, if you look at the C:\Program Files\ directory, it has a yellow padlock icon on it -- whereas other directories, ie. C:\Program Files (x86)\ do not.  Within the C:\Program Files\ directory, only some of the folders have the padlock icon, namely Microsoft Office and Windows Virtual PC to name two.

Changing permissions to "Everyone" generally doesn't work, installing the "Take Ownership" registry fix doesn't work; and the only thing that consistently works is a system restore to before the issue started occurring.

This could be Windows Update related, but I can't tell and this is extremely difficult to replicate in my lab environment.  I at first thought it was anti-virus related (we recently moved to Webroot SecureAnywhere at around the same timeframe), but they say, "The reason being is that WSA does not change permissions, it is not designed to do so and we have not had any reports of this happening in the past. If this was the case, we would be overwhelmed with calls due to folder permission issues as we have many customers who currently use Microsoft Office 2010 (including ourselves here at the office) and we do not believe that the issue would occur over a period of time. If a program such as WSA were to change permissions, we believe it would do it at the time the software was installed, not after a period of time."

Has anyone encountered this before?

This happened on my own computer in early December but didn't affect Microsoft Office -- just the 7-Zip directory under C:\Program Files\ -- strange issue, huh?
Question by:workforceinsight
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LVL 94

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 38790049
On a standard Windows 7 machine, this is not a problem. I do not have a problem with any client or my own Windows 7 machines changing permissions on folders or restricting access to folders. Recent Windows updates have not caused any issue for me (or clients). All Windows 7 computers are using Office 2010.

It would seem from my perspective that the issue would lie with your image. However, there is no way I would know what from here. Is it beyond reason to make a new image and try the new image?

... Thinkpads_User
LVL 30

Assisted Solution

ded9 earned 250 total points
ID: 38792560
Problem might be caused by antivirus ...uninstall it and check

Can also try clean boot.

Clean boot process

Start-type - msconfig- click on startup tab- click disable all...then click services tab- put a check on hide all microsoft services ...and then click disable ok and then restart the computer in normal mode.

If everything works fine in clean boot then enable five startup items and services at a time to find the faulty software.


Author Comment

ID: 38794982
Hey, Thinkpads_User and Ded9,

I've created a new image recently -- but this doesn't fix the fact that there are older images still being used.

Known and evaluated items are only running in Services and in Startup via msconfig.

It's quite strange as I'm not sure what triggers this behavior on certain images... it's quite difficult to find the commonalities.

I haven't had issues with Windows Updates either -- but for all I know it's the order in which they are installed, etc.  Who knows?  I'll keep everyone posted on this.
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LVL 94

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 38795008
What antivirus are you using. I use (and all my clients use) Symantec Endpoint Protection. It does not affect permissions in any way I know.

Other programs:
I use QuickBooks. Most of my clients do not but some do. No issues.
I use and all clients on Windows 7 use Office 2010 Professional. No issues
I use and all clients use variants of Adobe Reader and Acrobat Standard V11 (some V10).
We all use Flash, Shockwave and Java (for how long I don't know).
Many of us use iTunes.
We all use Explorer V9.
I use a lot of additional software that most clients do not use.

Is there something you use not on the above list.

... Thinkpads_User

Accepted Solution

workforceinsight earned 0 total points
ID: 38841930
The issue hasn't recurred.  (If it does, I'll update this thread.)  In the meanwhile, I'm awarding points in equal portions to Thinkpads_User and Ded9 -- as their approaches mimic best practices.  Thanks!!
LVL 94

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 38841962
@workforceinsight - Thank you. I was happy to help you with this and glad the issue has not occurred again. ... Thinkpads_User

Author Closing Comment

ID: 38854335
I'm awarding points in equal portions to Thinkpads_User and Ded9 -- as their approaches mimic best practices.

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