In as a few words possilbe, the users needs the ability to take ownership of files/folders on an external hard drive in order to write to it
First I gave the user ability to 'Take ownership of Files/folders' by doing the following:
start > run > secpol.msc > local policies > user rights assignment > 'Take ownership of files or other objects'
*add the user
. . . not done yet because this only gives the user the ability to 'Take ownership of files or other objects' . . . it doesn't give the user the ability to write to the external drive
*also, since there are ton of steps involved in taking ownership I wanted to make it simple for the user to do this . . . so I installed a registry hack found online to give the user 'Take ownership' option in the right-click > properties menu
*installed the registry hack to give the user the ability to take ownership of 'files and folder' --
. . . explained to user to create folder, then take ownership through the new option added in the prperties menu, then write files/folders to the external hard drive in the newly created folder
Done. This takes admin out of the equation and allows me to maintain strict IT policy of not giving the user admin rights.