I want what's mine
March 15, 2008 1:56 PM   Subscribe

Is there any way to bulk-reset the permissions and ownership settings on a volume in Vista?

I've attached a data drive (F:) to my system running Vista ultimate, it's been used before on a previous XP and Vista home basic setup, so the security settings are a mess. Files are owned by users that don't exist anymore, inherited permissions are all screwed up, etc. The top of F: is set so that both my Administrator and User accounts have full control, but it's not applying to all of the subdirectories properly. Other than fixing it file by file, is there any way (control panel, command line, utility) to just say that everything under F:/Files/ (for example) is owned by Administrator and User has full control?
posted by Oktober to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In order to change the permissions recursively on the volume you have to ensure that you are the owner on all the files and folders. If you're not, you can force ownership doing the following:

1. Right click volume and select properties
2. Select the Security tab
3. Click Advanced
4. Select the Owner tab
5. Click Edit (probably have to accept a UAC dialog at this point)
6. Either select an owner in the "Change owner to:" section, or use the "Other users or groups..." button in order to find another user (I recommend your username or Administrators)
7. Select the "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects" checkbox
8. Click Apply

Once that's done (and hopefully it did not generate any errors) you can force a permissions change on all the files/folders on the volume doing the following:

1. Repeat steps 1->3 from above
2. In the Permissions tab click Edit
3. Either select a user in the "Permission entries:" area or use the "Add" button to find another user (again, I recommend your username or Administrators)
4. Check the "Replace all existing inheritable permissions on all descendants..." checkbox

That should do the trick. If that doesn't work, you can use utilities like SecACL or FileACL which have a lot more options around forcing ownership and granular permissioning. You shouldn't have to resort to that level though.
posted by purephase at 2:43 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

purephase has it, you should be able to take ownership of any file with a local admin account. Another tool you can use if the GUI is not working for you is Microsoft's Xcacls.vbs (there is an .exe version avaible too), although SecACL has basically the same features.
posted by tracert at 4:43 PM on March 15, 2008

Oh, shoot, xcacls is not supported by Vista. Don't use it. The Vista/Server 2008 version is icacls instead, and it is already installed. You can run it from command prompt.
posted by tracert at 4:49 PM on March 15, 2008

I seem to be halfway there.

I was getting tons of "access denied" error messages using purephase's instruction, so I donwloaded FileACL, and have managed to get my admin account set up properly, although my user account still doesn't have the proper rights. I'll play around with icacls a little bit later
posted by Oktober at 5:19 PM on March 15, 2008

Oktober, it's important that you claim ownership recursively on the volume before attempting to change any other permissions. You will get access denied errors if you try it the other way around.
posted by odinsdream at 6:05 PM on March 15, 2008

« Older Keep my happy hour from becoming sad.   |   Cleaning service advice? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.