Dear Vista: Please be *Less* Secure.
November 5, 2011 2:34 PM   Subscribe

I've got a windows vista installation that, as of a few months ago, has stopped letting me write to a bunch of directories or change a bunch of files, and it won't let me make them writeable again.

The machine is a Dell Inspiron 537S running Windows Vista service pack 1. I've been letting windows update install critical updates as they come out.

I have one account, which has administrative rights. I've tried right clicking on file or directory properties and unselected the grey-checked "read only" box, and it claims to do it but then when I reopen the properties, it's still checked. I've run the attrib command with some variety of -r, -h, and -s on individual files and on directories up to c:\ (including the flag to do subfolders, too), and it runs without error but doesn't actually change anything. Advanced security settings shows that my account, as well as system, have full permissions to the c: disk. (There's only one disk)

What the hell?
posted by rmd1023 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Have you tried taking ownership of the files/directories first?
posted by benito.strauss at 3:53 PM on November 5, 2011


Try the WhoLockMe explorer extension (after install, right click on the directory and select WhoLockMe. It will open a window showing what processes are controlling that directory/file, as well as the option to Unlock or Delete.

If that doesn't work, this Take Ownership explorer extension script is magic (right click on the folder, select Take Ownership).

I have both installed on my Win7 box, but not necessarily the exact version available from those two links.
posted by porpoise at 4:08 PM on November 5, 2011


Having Full Control permission on C:\ doesn't necessarily give you Full Control on C:\foo; every file and folder has its own access control list.

I've tried right clicking on file or directory properties and unselected the grey-checked "read only" box, and it claims to do it but then when I reopen the properties, it's still checked. I've run the attrib command with some variety of -r, -h, and -s on individual files and on directories up to c:\ (including the flag to do subfolders, too), and it runs without error but doesn't actually change anything.

There's a Write Attributes NTFS permission that you can Deny (or simply fail to Allow) that will make that happen.

Which folder(s) are you trying to seize control of?
posted by flabdablet at 7:56 AM on November 6, 2011


secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\inf\defltbase.inf /db defltbase.sdb /verbose

Read Q313222 beforehand however, as it outlines the limitations of restoring NTFS permissions from a template. If you haven't tried taking ownership of the individual folders having issues, I would go that route first as benito.strauss mentioned. Be careful with certain system folders and junctions within \Users as they are not intended to be accessed readily and can cause issues if rights are added or if they are deleted (eg. they're there for backwards XP compatibility).
posted by samsara at 8:38 AM on November 6, 2011


If you do accidentally screw up the positions on the Vista/7 backward-compatibility junctions (Documents and Settings, Local Settings, Application Data and so on) and end up with hall-of-mirrors effects inside your user profile, the easiest way to fix those is with JunctionBox.
posted by flabdablet at 9:23 AM on November 6, 2011


positions? eurgh. Permissions.
posted by flabdablet at 9:24 AM on November 6, 2011


Okay, thing I've learned -- having the "read only" box grayed out and checked for a *folder* is normal, per this msft kb article. So being unable to change that setting is moot, but I'm still in a state where I cannot save a modified file to, for instance, desktop -> folder1 -> folder2 -> filename.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:09 AM on November 27, 2011


Aha! The problems I've been having with saving pictures are due to the picture metadata properties being corrupted or at least in a state where vista is confused by them.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:13 AM on November 27, 2011


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