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Windows 7: Issues with access, permissions, (empty) Start Menu items

29 Sep 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
 
 
Issues with access, permissions, (empty) Start Menu items

Hi,

I'm confused. After over a month of troubleshooting my system I think I have found the problem. But I need confirmation and help with this question: Who owns drive C:?

Let me start from the beginning. About a month ago, I felt the need to do a clean install of my system running on Windows 7 Pro 64-bit SP1. I have my drive C: and a 2 other partitions that I use for data on my main drive in the laptop. I also have external drives (2x1TB).

When I first bought my laptop I created an image after updating the OS and tweaking the users, network, etc. So I believe that this is a fairly clean image. And this is where I started my clean re-install.

After that, I began updating all the apps that is already in the "clean" image and installed the ones that I use at present. The process wasn't clean on some of the apps.

1. I couldn't update most of my apps and they report missing components or fatal failure or not authorized to this or that.

2. When I install new apps I almost always get an (empty) Start Menu|All Programs item.

I believe I've narrowed down the problem because upon inspection of my folders in the C: drive, they all have different owners and most folders in Program Files and Program Files (x86) are owned by Administrators but has no Permissions.

So I go back to my question or probably questions like, who owns C: drive and the folders inside it and are they inherited, etc.

Is there a standard template, if I can call it that, for the owners and access and permissions of folders in drive C? Is this called the ACL or Access Control List?

This is how my C:\ drive looks like

C Drive
  • Owner = TrustedInstaller
  • Permissions
    • Administrators
      • Full control
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder, subfolders and files
    • SYSTEM
      • Full control
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder, subfolders and files
    • Users
      • Read & execute
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder, subfolders and files
    • Authenticated Users
      • Special
      • <not inherited>
      • Subfolders and files only
    • Authenticated Users
      • Create folders / append data
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder only
    • AdminUser
      • Full control
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder, subfolders and files
    • StandardUser
      • Full control
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder, subfolders and files

Short of having to start from the very beginning of the clean install, can I fix the ownership and permissions of each folder and file in the C drive?

Thanks for the help in advance.

Cmaker3

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

30 Sep 2012   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Cmaker3 View Post
Hi,

I'm confused. After over a month of troubleshooting my system I think I have found the problem. But I need confirmation and help with this question: Who owns drive C:?

Let me start from the beginning. About a month ago, I felt the need to do a clean install of my system running on Windows 7 Pro 64-bit SP1. I have my drive C: and a 2 other partitions that I use for data on my main drive in the laptop. I also have external drives (2x1TB).

When I first bought my laptop I created an image after updating the OS and tweaking the users, network, etc. So I believe that this is a fairly clean image. And this is where I started my clean re-install.

After that, I began updating all the apps that is already in the "clean" image and installed the ones that I use at present. The process wasn't clean on some of the apps.

1. I couldn't update most of my apps and they report missing components or fatal failure or not authorized to this or that.

2. When I install new apps I almost always get an (empty) Start Menu|All Programs item.

I believe I've narrowed down the problem because upon inspection of my folders in the C: drive, they all have different owners and most folders in Program Files and Program Files (x86) are owned by Administrators but has no Permissions.

So I go back to my question or probably questions like, who owns C: drive and the folders inside it and are they inherited, etc.

Is there a standard template, if I can call it that, for the owners and access and permissions of folders in drive C? Is this called the ACL or Access Control List?

This is how my C:\ drive looks like

C Drive
  • Owner = TrustedInstaller
  • Permissions
    • Administrators
      • Full control
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder, subfolders and files
    • SYSTEM
      • Full control
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder, subfolders and files
    • Users
      • Read & execute
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder, subfolders and files
    • Authenticated Users
      • Special
      • <not inherited>
      • Subfolders and files only
    • Authenticated Users
      • Create folders / append data
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder only
    • AdminUser
      • Full control
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder, subfolders and files
    • StandardUser
      • Full control
      • <not inherited>
      • This folder, subfolders and files
Short of having to start from the very beginning of the clean install, can I fix the ownership and permissions of each folder and file in the C drive?

Thanks for the help in advance.

Cmaker3
Based on these two statements;

1. I couldn't update most of my apps and they report missing components or fatal failure or not authorized to this or that.

2. When I install new apps I almost always get an (empty) Start Menu|All Programs item.

It appears you have enough reason to start over.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Sir George View Post

Based on these two statements;

1. I couldn't update most of my apps and they report missing components or fatal failure or not authorized to this or that.

2. When I install new apps I almost always get an (empty) Start Menu|All Programs item.

It appears you have enough reason to start over.
Hi Sir George,

Thanks for your reply.

Is there no way to just fix the access and permissions on the C drive? Is there any material about the system drive's owners and access rights and permissions? I'm no expert but I can get my "hands dirty" with computers.

I never had these issues with Windows XP Home SP3. Whenever I restored from a "clean" image, everything works just fine. Thanks.

Cmaker3
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


19 Oct 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 
Permissions stolen by Win 7

I'm on Day 4 of using Win 7, not sure I have all of my updates for this computer. Norton and Windows seems good, and HP may be good. However, I have run into overwhelming permissions problems that I've never heard of before (coming from XP). I install new programs, they work for a little while, then Win 7 takes permission to use them away, usually after a reboot. I find my desktop icon for new programs missing their color so I have to run into Programs folder to Take Ownership of the new program folder, then I have to get back to the icon and struggle to get that back to normal. If I have to do this for every new program, I am in serious trouble, it should never be this way EVER!
I tried to take permissions back for the entire drive to my user but there were so many access denied errors while doing that, I could never finish, mostly from NIS.
Apparently this is a widespread problem but nobody has a clue what to do about it. Did HP make itself the sole administrator? Should I reformat and reinstall Win 7? This is exhausting to figure out alone and may be grounds to return the laptop back to the store pronto.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

From HP:
Resolving permission issues when installing software
When installing software, if you are getting errors telling you that you do not have administrative permissions, use the following instructions:
Click Start .
Click Computer .
Right-click the hard disk icon on which your operating system is installed, usually the "C" drive.
Click Properties .
Click the Security tab.
Click Advanced .
Click Change Permissions . It is found after the Permissions Entry list.
A window opens containing a list of all the user accounts available on your computer.
Select the user account you want to give total control over your Windows 7 and click Edit .
Select Full Control .
Click OK .
Managing User Accounts and Logins (Windows*7) HP Pavilion m7-1015dx Entertainment Notebook PC | HP® Support

No, this is nowhere near enough to fix the problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

I'm using Google Chrome right now and Win 7 took permission of that and sent it into a black hole so I can't even open .htm files that I had open 10 minutes ago!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

How to Clean Reinstall a Factory OEM Windows 7
Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #8

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
 
 

Hi Cymbal Man Freq,

I know that this issue is a "killer" but I was able to resolve mine and learned a lesson or two. I've done most of what you outlined above which only screwed my system because I didn't have the right knowledge w/ regards to Access Structure List (ACL), Ownership and Permissions, Group Policy, etc.

First, the lessons.

1. Never mess up with the Permissions and Owners unless you know what you're doing. (BTW I still don't. Just enough to know to make my system work ).

2. Before installing a downloaded file, check it's Properties. It might have the right ownership and permission (otherwise you'll need to fix them) because it might be "blocked" by your system stating that it came from another PC, and you need to click the "Unblock" button in the General tab.

Before going on to how I resolved my issue let me give you my scenario:

3. I have a primary drive with 3 partitions (c, d and g). I use c for my system, d & g for my data.

4. I have external drives.

How I resolved it.

5. Do a clean (some say manual) reinstall of Windows. I followed the procedure outlined from the support site where I bought my laptop. This will take care of the system drives.

6. Now the important fix that allowed me to use my drive d and g, including other external drives. Without this fix, install files that I store in drive g will "screw up" my prisitine drive c. I had to change the ownership to my standard user account and have just one permission set to "Everyone" with Full Control.

How to do this on the whole partition? I needed an extra hdd to copy all the files. You can probably use a backup software (Windows Backup) or in my case Acronis True Image. I then deleted the partition and created a new one of the same type and size and formatted it. Checking the new partition reveals only one permission -- Everyone and the ownership belonging to my standard user account. I then copied back the files or in my case, recovered from a saved backup. A quick check revealed all the folders and files' permission and ownership conforming to the new one.

And you're done. I'm still extra cautious though and check the properties of all downloaded install files even when I download it to my desktop. A case in point, the HP Update that I placed in the Downloads folder of my Admin account revealed the "Blocked" file issue though the ownership and permissions was correct.

I can't really say what goes on under the hood of Windows 7 but you've got to be more careful than you were with Windows XP. Now, I'm trying to find time to study the Windows Sysinternals to see under the hood.

Hope this helps.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #9
Microsoft MVP

 

Go ahead and get the superior Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7
instead of struggling to install a dead OS to hardware that won't want it.

No tech enthusiast would run the bloated HP preinstall which has the worst corrupting load of sponsored crapware and duplicate utilities in the industry.

We're here to help you as needed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

I just looked at the Security settings for my mom's Win 7 Dell desktop which is a year old.
C: drive
1) Authenticated Users: (everything unchecked except Special Permissions)
2) SYSTEM: (everything checked except Special Permissions)
3) Administrators (Vostro 460/Administrators): (everything checked but Special Permissions)
4) Users (Vostro 460/Users): (Nothing checked but Read & Execute, List Folder Contents, and Read)

D: Drive
1) Authenticated Users: (everything checked except Full Control, and Special Permissions)
2) SYSTEM: (everything checked except Special Permissions)
3) Administrators: (everything checked except Special Permissions)
4) Users: (Same as C
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Issues with access, permissions, (empty) Start Menu items




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