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Thread: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

  1. #1
    Colin Hume Guest

    Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    It's probably a symptom of me not understanding permissions completely, but I
    can't remove read-only from any files or folders that came with Vista or that
    a third-party app installs.

    I bring up the Properties window for a folder, uncheck read-only and apply
    it to the folder and all sub-items. A message box warns me that I don't have
    permission to change the attributes, but I hit Continue and it shows me a
    message box that appears to show some kind of activity anyway. I then close
    the Properties window and bring it up again to find the read-only box checked
    again and all the sub-files and sub-folders likewise read-only.

    For the record, I'm running build 5384 on my home PC and with the default
    administrator account that Vista prompts you to create on first boot. Please
    let me know how to get this permission, and thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Peter M Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    You have to add your sefl to the list of those that can access. The admin
    account you get installing Vista is really a semi-admin acct. So if your
    user name is chuckles, you have to add chuckles to the offending folders in
    properties/security and take "full control" of the folder. I'm far from an
    expert and have been kicked in the rear by Vista on the permission stuff. If
    it's a system acct (ie it tells you you need permission from so and so... )
    then i'm as clueless as any newbie here. <G>

    "Colin Hume" <ColinHume@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
    news:FC06A60B-D1B6-42C5-AF88-7B24471E237E@microsoft.com...
    > It's probably a symptom of me not understanding permissions completely,
    > but I
    > can't remove read-only from any files or folders that came with Vista or
    > that
    > a third-party app installs.
    >
    > I bring up the Properties window for a folder, uncheck read-only and apply
    > it to the folder and all sub-items. A message box warns me that I don't
    > have
    > permission to change the attributes, but I hit Continue and it shows me a
    > message box that appears to show some kind of activity anyway. I then
    > close
    > the Properties window and bring it up again to find the read-only box
    > checked
    > again and all the sub-files and sub-folders likewise read-only.
    >
    > For the record, I'm running build 5384 on my home PC and with the default
    > administrator account that Vista prompts you to create on first boot.
    > Please
    > let me know how to get this permission, and thanks in advance.



  3. #3
    Jimmy Brush Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    Hello,

    By default, you only have write access to folders and files that are inside
    your user directory (c:\users\yourname), some hidden folders, and any folder
    that you have created.

    The only time you should need write access to any folders outside of this
    area is when doing system administration or installing a program.

    This can be done easily by running whatever tool or install program you are
    using "As Administrator" by right-clicking it and clicking Run As
    Administrator, which will allow the tool to access the system.

    This is the new way of doing things in Windows Vista - the system is locked
    down, and only programs that you Run As Administrator or that automatically
    ask you for permission are allowed access to your computer. This will
    prevent programs from gaining access to your computer without your
    knowledge.

    This "Run As Administrator" command is great to run on Windows Explorer,
    command prompt, and control.exe (control panel).

    It is *NOT* recommended that you change the security settings to allow write
    access to the operating-system created files and folders, as this will
    greatly reduce the security of your system.

    - JB

    Vista Support FAQ
    http://www.jimmah.com/vista/


  4. #4
    Colin Hume Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    Thanks guys, it's all sorted out now. I didn't specify the precise problem in
    my last post because I didn't see any benefit to doing so.

    The problem involved installing a certain game (Baldur's Gate II), which
    needs to edit its own .ini file after installation for configuration reasons
    (and for fixing graphic issues, one of which I experienced). I couldn't fix
    the graphic issue because BGII was installed in Program Files and Vista
    locked all its files down (like you said, Jimmy), including the .ini file.
    It's working now that I reinstalled it in my user directory.

    Good to know that behavior for the future, all my programs are going in the
    user directory from now on and I'm leaving Program Files to Vista itself.

    Thanks again for your help, both of you.

  5. #5
    Jimmy Brush Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    Just a guess ... are you running the 64-bit version of Windows?

    I believe in the 32-bit version windows notices this kind of thing, where a
    program has opened a file and then tries to save it, but it does not have
    permission to save it, so windows will instead save it to the location it
    was supposed to be at in the first place (a special folder in your user
    folder). Then, when the program next opens that file, it gets the new copy
    instead of the file from the old location.

    This behavior should save alot of pain, but can be a cause of confusion in
    certain circumstances.

    However, it will be nice when programs finally start putting stuff in the
    places that MS has told them to put stuff for the last 6 years, so we don't
    have to deal with problems like this.

    - JB

    Vista Support FAQ
    http://www.jimmah.com/vista/


  6. #6
    Derek Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders



    "Jimmy Brush" wrote:

    > Hello,
    >
    > By default, you only have write access to folders and files that are inside
    > your user directory (c:\users\yourname), some hidden folders, and any folder
    > that you have created.
    >
    > The only time you should need write access to any folders outside of this
    > area is when doing system administration or installing a program.
    >
    > This can be done easily by running whatever tool or install program you are
    > using "As Administrator" by right-clicking it and clicking Run As
    > Administrator, which will allow the tool to access the system.



    Thanks a lot for that info JB. I've been super frustrated with Vista, as
    once I upgraded, all of my old files (like mp3s, jpgs, etc) were made
    read-only and I was about to pull my hair out by going in to security and
    adding myself and giving myself full access to the files. Just a couple of
    questions for you though.

    1) Do we have to do the 'run as administrator' each time we open Explorer?
    2) I just opened explorer with the 'run as administrator' option and tried
    to deselect the read-only on files in my C: drive and it got pretty far into
    the process but then I got that menacing error message about needing admin
    access. when I click continue, I get an error message saying 'access denied'.
    (this is the point where I was going into the security preferences, adding
    myself and giving myself full access) Is there a better way of doing this?
    3) Would there be any advantage in creating a 2nd user account and just
    using that acct all of the time?

    Thanks for your help!

  7. #7
    Kerry Brown Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    Where you trying to change the whole C: drive in one go? If you did then it
    won't work. You should only change the permissions and/or attributes on the
    files that need changing. Don't try to change the permissions on system
    files.

    --
    Kerry Brown
    Microsoft MVP - Shell/User
    http://www.vistahelp.ca


    "Derek" <Derek@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
    news:69C60865-27ED-4A24-92A9-697BB1F269D0@microsoft.com...
    >
    >
    > "Jimmy Brush" wrote:
    >
    >> Hello,
    >>
    >> By default, you only have write access to folders and files that are
    >> inside
    >> your user directory (c:\users\yourname), some hidden folders, and any
    >> folder
    >> that you have created.
    >>
    >> The only time you should need write access to any folders outside of this
    >> area is when doing system administration or installing a program.
    >>
    >> This can be done easily by running whatever tool or install program you
    >> are
    >> using "As Administrator" by right-clicking it and clicking Run As
    >> Administrator, which will allow the tool to access the system.

    >
    >
    > Thanks a lot for that info JB. I've been super frustrated with Vista, as
    > once I upgraded, all of my old files (like mp3s, jpgs, etc) were made
    > read-only and I was about to pull my hair out by going in to security and
    > adding myself and giving myself full access to the files. Just a couple of
    > questions for you though.
    >
    > 1) Do we have to do the 'run as administrator' each time we open Explorer?
    > 2) I just opened explorer with the 'run as administrator' option and tried
    > to deselect the read-only on files in my C: drive and it got pretty far
    > into
    > the process but then I got that menacing error message about needing admin
    > access. when I click continue, I get an error message saying 'access
    > denied'.
    > (this is the point where I was going into the security preferences, adding
    > myself and giving myself full access) Is there a better way of doing this?
    > 3) Would there be any advantage in creating a 2nd user account and just
    > using that acct all of the time?
    >
    > Thanks for your help!



  8. #8
    Jimmy Brush Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    Hello,

    > 1) Do we have to do the 'run as administrator' each time we open Explorer?


    No. Actually, this doesn't do anything anymore - explorer cannot be ran as
    administrator. I strongly disagree with Microsoft's decision to do this ...
    however, as far as I know, this is the only exception.

    > 2) I just opened explorer with the 'run as administrator' option and tried
    > to deselect the read-only on files in my C: drive and it got pretty far
    > into
    > the process but then I got that menacing error message about needing admin
    > access. when I click continue, I get an error message saying 'access
    > denied'.
    > (this is the point where I was going into the security preferences, adding
    > myself and giving myself full access) Is there a better way of doing this?


    Like Kerry said, you should not change default permissions on your drive C.

    The permissions are in place to protect your system from malicious programs.
    Changing them removes this protection.

    You should only change permissions on files you created.

    > 3) Would there be any advantage in creating a 2nd user account and just
    > using that acct all of the time?


    Many people consider using a standard user account to be better than using
    the default prompt-protected administrator account provided by Vista.

    Although this is debatable, there are differences: If you run as a standard
    user, you will receive less prompts asking for your permission. Also,
    instead of just being prompted for permission, you will have to enter the
    password for your administrative account in order to run a program that
    requests permission.

    It's up to you on this one :)

    > Thanks for your help!


    You're welcome :)


    --
    - JB
    Microsoft MVP - Windows Shell/User

    Windows Vista Support Faq
    http://www.jimmah.com/vista/


  9. #9
    Kerry Brown Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    "Jimmy Brush" <JimmyBrush@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
    news:27AA7885-362E-4212-8418-58210AFD1C4D@microsoft.com...
    >
    > No. Actually, this doesn't do anything anymore - explorer cannot be ran as
    > administrator. I strongly disagree with Microsoft's decision to do this
    > ... however, as far as I know, this is the only exception.
    >


    I use Run as administrator with Windows Explorer quite often. Are you saying
    it doesn't do anything or it isn't possible? I do get a uac prompt when I do
    this and it has allowed me to rename folders and change NTFS permissions I
    couldn't do without using Run as administrator. Both of my computers
    (Ultimate and Business) are joined to a domain, I'm not running as a domain
    admin, I am running as a local admin, if that makes any difference.

    --
    Kerry Brown
    Microsoft MVP - Shell/User
    http://www.vistahelp.ca



  10. #10
    Jimmy Brush Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    Have you changed your explorer settings to Run explorer windows in seperate
    processes? If you have this setting, this should allow you to use Run As
    Administrator on explorer as long as you are logged in as an administrator.
    I guess I should have said, with the default configuration, it is not
    possible to elevate explorer when logged in as an admin :).


  11. #11
    Kerry Brown Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    "Jimmy Brush" <JimmyBrush@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
    news:957A0F31-09DB-4501-BBF8-7D2CCE0D7EE3@microsoft.com...
    > Have you changed your explorer settings to Run explorer windows in
    > seperate processes? If you have this setting, this should allow you to use
    > Run As Administrator on explorer as long as you are logged in as an
    > administrator. I guess I should have said, with the default configuration,
    > it is not possible to elevate explorer when logged in as an admin :).



    I haven't changed anything on the notebook. That's my work machine. I
    installed Vista, joined my SBS domain, and installed programs. I may have on
    my other Vista machine. That's the one I experiment on. Where is the setting
    to do this. I'll see what it is on both machines.

    --
    Kerry Brown
    Microsoft MVP - Shell/User
    http://www.vistahelp.ca



  12. #12
    Jimmy Brush Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    Here's what I have discovered thru testing:

    In explorer,

    Organize -> Folder and Search Options -> View tab -> "Launch folder windows
    in a seperate process"

    * If this option is disabled (default):

    right-clicking explorer.exe and clicking Run As Administrator should have no
    effect. You will still get the UAC prompt, but the resulting explorer Window
    will not actually be running with administrator privileges.

    * If this option is enabled

    running explorer.exe "as administrator" will actually get you an admin
    explorer window, IF and ONLY if you have no other explorer windows open.

    If you DO have another explorer window open, this will have no effect.

    If you do end up with an "admin" explorer window, *ALL* further windows
    explorer windows that you open will ALSO be "admin" windows (even if you
    don't run them "as administrator"), until you close all open explorer
    windows.


    --
    - JB
    Microsoft MVP - Windows Shell/User

    Windows Vista Support Faq
    http://www.jimmah.com/vista/


  13. #13
    Kerry Brown Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    Thank you. I didn't know that. I must have changed that setting at some
    point in experimenting on the desktop. On the notebook because I was seeing
    the uac prompt I assumed it was elevated because I had done stuff that
    required elevation on the desktop and it worked. Testing it now on the
    notebook it is working exactly as you say. I get the uac prompt but not
    elevated privileges. I wonder if this is a bug or by design?

    --
    Kerry Brown
    Microsoft MVP - Shell/User
    http://www.vistahelp.ca


    "Jimmy Brush" <JimmyBrush@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
    news:44A40DE5-0DF1-4AF3-BBC2-EF9DE8FA4939@microsoft.com...
    > Here's what I have discovered thru testing:
    >
    > In explorer,
    >
    > Organize -> Folder and Search Options -> View tab -> "Launch folder
    > windows in a seperate process"
    >
    > * If this option is disabled (default):
    >
    > right-clicking explorer.exe and clicking Run As Administrator should have
    > no effect. You will still get the UAC prompt, but the resulting explorer
    > Window will not actually be running with administrator privileges.
    >
    > * If this option is enabled
    >
    > running explorer.exe "as administrator" will actually get you an admin
    > explorer window, IF and ONLY if you have no other explorer windows open.
    >
    > If you DO have another explorer window open, this will have no effect.
    >
    > If you do end up with an "admin" explorer window, *ALL* further windows
    > explorer windows that you open will ALSO be "admin" windows (even if you
    > don't run them "as administrator"), until you close all open explorer
    > windows.
    >
    >
    > --
    > - JB
    > Microsoft MVP - Windows Shell/User
    >
    > Windows Vista Support Faq
    > http://www.jimmah.com/vista/



  14. #14
    Jimmy Brush Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    The elevation was working just fine until around RC1 when it starting
    behaving as it is now - I bugged it, then around RC2 it came back as by
    design.

    I think the reasoning behind the change was something very technical, as I
    seem to remember reading a MSie's blog about it, but I can't remember much
    about it now. Something to do with a higher privileged process consisiting
    of lower privileged chunks breaks the security model, I believe.

    Still, I think the current behavior is misleading and very inconsistant...
    something else should have been done.


    --
    - JB
    Microsoft MVP - Windows Shell/User

    Windows Vista Support Faq
    http://www.jimmah.com/vista/


  15. #15
    Jacci Eubank Guest

    Re: Unable to remove read-only attribute from files and folders

    I've read your reply and PETER M's reply. I think you are answering the area
    I need help in but the answers aren't quite working. I'm trying to backup
    Quicken and it just won't work. When I try to BACKUP to C: , it tells me C
    is READ ONLY. I have tried creating new folders in the root of C, C:
    Users:Jacci Eubank and C:Desktop and none will allow me to perform this
    backup. All say that C is READ ONLY. I' getting NO WHERE! Please advise.

    Jacci

    "Jimmy Brush" wrote:

    > Hello,
    >
    > By default, you only have write access to folders and files that are inside
    > your user directory (c:\users\yourname), some hidden folders, and any folder
    > that you have created.
    >
    > The only time you should need write access to any folders outside of this
    > area is when doing system administration or installing a program.
    >
    > This can be done easily by running whatever tool or install program you are
    > using "As Administrator" by right-clicking it and clicking Run As
    > Administrator, which will allow the tool to access the system.
    >
    > This is the new way of doing things in Windows Vista - the system is locked
    > down, and only programs that you Run As Administrator or that automatically
    > ask you for permission are allowed access to your computer. This will
    > prevent programs from gaining access to your computer without your
    > knowledge.
    >
    > This "Run As Administrator" command is great to run on Windows Explorer,
    > command prompt, and control.exe (control panel).
    >
    > It is *NOT* recommended that you change the security settings to allow write
    > access to the operating-system created files and folders, as this will
    > greatly reduce the security of your system.
    >
    > - JB
    >
    > Vista Support FAQ
    > http://www.jimmah.com/vista/
    >


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