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Windows 7: UAC Confusion


13 Feb 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
UAC Confusion

Our household has 3 new laptops. On each there is just one user account, and these are administrator accounts. I have tested each laptop and the same problem described below occurs:
  • Photos on the laptop, loaded into Windows Live Photo Gallery
  • Photo Gallery tells me that the files cannot be edited as they are read only. They are not read only!
  • Photo Gallery lets me do nothing other than rename the files but only after the following:
a) A message telling me I need to have admin privileges to carry out the action
b) When I say "OK" to the first dialogue as described in a) I then get a blasted UAC message confirming that I can let the program alter the file.
I know why b) occurs and I know how to turn this off but why is a) occurring? Even if I run the application as administrator, the same happens. That has really confused me.

On one laptop we have Photoshop Elements (and another HP editing application which was pre-installed) and neither allows editing of any kind... it does not even ask about needing admin privileges, it just assumes the files are non editable. All a bit of an issue as one of the laptops was bought specifically for image editing etc..

I never had this problem with Vista but given that all 3 Windows 7 laptops exhibit the same issue, is there something fundamental I am missing or need to change? I have tested turning off UAC completely which cures the problem but it makes no sense as the files I am trying to edit/rename are not system files, just photo files.

Any ideas as I am stumped?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Feb 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 x2 + x86 + Windows 8.1 x64 x2
 
 

This appears to be a basic permissions issue

In order to suggest a solution I need some further information.

Where are the files currently located?

Have these files been transferred from another Windows version that used the NTFS file system?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2010   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
This appears to be a basic permissions issue

In order to suggest a solution I need some further information.

Where are the files currently located?

Have these files been transferred from another Windows version that used the NTFS file system?
  • Located on a second "data" partition
  • And yes, the photos were taken from camera memory cards, saved to an XP machine (NTFS), tranferred to a portable HD (NTFS) and then onto the Windows 7 laptops from the portable HD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Feb 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 x2 + x86 + Windows 8.1 x64 x2
 
 

OK

It is likely that with all the moving about the file permissions have become a little confused . NTFS file permissions will survive a change of operating system and although the user names assigned may be the same to us, the security ID for the users that is actually used by windows is different.

To reset these permissions you first need to take ownership of the remote drive, and then set the permissions to give the access for your users that you require.

To take ownership right click on the drive in explorer select properties, security and then advanced.

On the ownership tab set the owner to your user name and Ok out of the dialogue and allow the system to propagate the changes. you may see some errors on system areas or where the permissions are especially confused and may need to perform this take ownership on the individual sub folders with issues.

Once you have ownership of the drive you can use the security permissions tab to add Administrators, your user name and "everyone" to the list of users and give them required permissions. I would suggest the "Everyone" group is included and the permissions are set to full control as these are shared data files.

At this point you should find that all your users have access to the files without any prompts and those programs which are not set-up to use UAC will also work.

If you wish to fully tidy the permissions at this stage you can delete any users other than the one mentioned and then in advanced options choose to set these permissions for the whole tree.

The S xxxxxxxxxxxxx numbers you see are the previous os users that cause a lot of confusion, and I suggest these are removed
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2010   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I have been transferring files between OS for years (2000, XP, Vista) and this is the first time ever to encounter this issue. I'll have a go at what you have suggested though.

However, I thought I would test transferring photo files directly from the camera memory card to one of the laptops (via built in media card reader) which is something that users must do regularly. Same problem.

Is it possible that something odd occurred when I partitioned the drive? I used partition wizard 4 and encountered no unusual problems...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 x2 + x86 + Windows 8.1 x64 x2
 
 

the reason that this issue is evident in Windows 7 is that Windows 7 is the first Microsoft desktop operating system to actually respect the permissions rules that have been in place since NT 3.5.

As an administrator in Windows 7 you are actually running as a normal user with the UAC to elevate to admin rights when needed. In previous OS's you basically overrode the rights assigned by running as an administrator at all times - not a good thing from a security standpoint

It's strange that you are having issues with files transferred from the camera within Windows 7 - I do this on a daily basis and never have issues.

Can I assume that the files were transferred to one of the standard user folders EG. pictures, and that these are as installed and not folders which have been copied to the laptops from the external drive
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2010   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
Can I assume that the files were transferred to one of the standard user folders EG. pictures, and that these are as installed and not folders which have been copied to the laptops from the external drive
Yes but... I moved some of the standard user folders from the default place on the OS partition onto the "data" partition. However I did this in the usual way, as I am sure many others have done.

So, yes my photos are effectively in the standard user "pictures" folder, albeit in a different location from the default installation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 x2 + x86 + Windows 8.1 x64 x2
 
 

It may be interesting to check the permissions & owner on these folders / files - by the "normal" method I assume that you used the location tab to re-direct the user folders to the new location.

If this is the case then the existing permissions and ownership would not be changed, but remain those of the original location on the data drive.

The reason for this is that the user folders are actually pointers, (a sort of super shortcut), so rather than point to the c:\users\username ... tree they actually point to the data drive location.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2010   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
It may be interesting to check the permissions & owner on these folders / files
Sorry if it's a daft question, but what should I be seeing when I check the permissions & owner? It appears to list the name of the machine, not a specific user account
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 x2 + x86 + Windows 8.1 x64 x2
 
 

OK the following images should illustrate things a little better - I hope

Name:  permissions.PNG
Views: 19
Size:  66.5 KB

This image shows the permissions on the folder backgrounds, with the highlighted permission being from another windows version (actually a copy of Vista running on the same system - the name is actually shown as Nigel in the vista system but as can be seen this is treated as a different user from the Nigel shown)

The entries you can see are sometimes tied to a machine (\desktop) but user group everyone is not so will be the same group on all Windows machines, (this is a useful thing in your case where you need to access the data from multiple machines).

Name:  permissions-data.PNG
Views: 1
Size:  60.4 KB

Clicking the edit button enables the ability to adjust the permissions on the folder.

UAC Confusion-force-prop-permissions.png

Once you have the correct permissions set on the top level folder you can use this screen (advanced permissions to force the setting of permissions to all the folders on the actual drive.

Hope this clarifies things a little


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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