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Windows 7: Access denied editing text files to root C drive

27 Apr 2013   #41

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)/Win10

MS went to great lengths specifically to increase the security of the system by preventing non-admin access to root folders - it was never going to be a simple job to effectively remove that protection :)

As it is, you do appear to have a workaround.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Apr 2013   #42

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by morpheus305 View Post
-I have notepad set to "Run as Administrator" on both windows 7 machines
-I can write to the root C: such as copying over a .exe file or something like that. The issue is editing a text file only.

I can edit a text file on the root C drive on a windows xp machine but not any windows 7 machines across network. I am guessing i must of missed some windows 7 permissions policy some where to enable this. Now i can edit a file on windows 7 machines if it's not on the root of the drive say C:\testfolder\testfile.txt
You probably need to figure out how to set things back to their default values. The only thing that you have to change from default is to create/set LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy to 1 (as you eventually did).

I know that you have already done some of these steps - so just check them instead of redoing them.

Computer A = local
Computer B = remote

Disconnect any mapped drive letters that you might have between computers.
Open Credential Manager on both computer A and computer B.
On computer A, remove any reference that you see to computer B.
On computer B, remove any reference that you see to computer A.
Set LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy to 1 on computer B.
Restart both computers see if this works:

While sitting at computer A
Map a drive letter to \\computer B\C$
(Or use a UNC type of connection.)
When asked for credentials, enter any admin account info that resides on computer B.
computer B\username

You should now be able to do whatever you want to a file on computer B; even if the file of interest is in the system root of computer B.

When computer A uses a connection to the admin share on computer B that type of connection acts like an elevated process. Computer B uses its own unelevated explorer.exe to allow the remote connection to SILENTLY create/edit/rename/delete/infect files in areas that normally require an elevated process to access. (Scary huh? A malware writer's dream connection.)

Files can be created locally on computer A then moved to computer B's root.

Files can be created directly in computer B's root via an unelevated process like computer A's explorer.
(via right-click > New > Text Document)

Files can be created directly in computer B's root via computer A's unelevated notepad.
(via File > Save as > navigate to computer B's root)

So, unelevated malware can do stuff to Computer B that is cannot do to computer A. But if computer B has an admin share connection to computer A, then it can use computer B to further infect computer A.

As you found out, you need an elevated process on computer B to edit a file that was created by computer A and placed directly into computer B's root. That is perfectly normal and desired. The same is true for a local file that is created in the root by an elevated process.

And just to repeat what was said in an earlier post:
You can create a file on computer B's desktop
Move it to computer B's root
And edit it without an elevated process (forgot to demo in the video).
But such a file is limited in what it can do from within the root or elsewhere.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Access denied editing text files to root C drive

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