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Windows 7: Finding (and removing) "Account Unknown"

10 Jan 2014   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Finding (and removing) "Account Unknown"

16 months ago, I retired and replaced my companies old WinXP PC with a PC of my own running Win 7 Ultimate.
I transferred my external USB disk enclosure, which is formatted NTFS, to my new PC.
In this process, I ended up with an "Account Unknown(S-1-5-21-713417444-3787200217-3916..." in my access lists.

The presence of this account seems to make access a little tricky; removing the account fixes the problem.

Is there an easy way to find folders/files where this problem still exists? I've been removing the account manually, but it's a tedious process.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jan 2014   #2

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Steve,

As you found out the "Account Unknown...." entry in access permissions is for an account that no longer exists or not currently connected.

Since the drive was formatted using NTFS, it will carry over it's NTFS permission settings from XP to any other computer it is connected to. This of course doesn't include allowing access to the users on the Windows 7 PC by default, and must be manually granted by an administrator on the PC.

If you like, you could take ownership of the XP drive and set permissions to allow your account or Administrators group "Full Control" to then have full access of the XP drive.
Take Ownership of file
An easy way to do this, would be to use the Take Ownership context menu from the tutorial below that will both take ownership and grant full access to the Administrators group.
Take Ownership Shortcut
Hope this helps, :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2014   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Thank you for your suggestions. I'd already taken ownership of the files on the drive.

What I'm still looking for is some way of finding files/directories whose access permissions contain the unknown account (ID).
I've been using the "cacls" command in a script to examine, and update the permission strings, but for some reason or other I abandoned this process. I suspect it was so painfully slow that I just forgot to keep running it.

Perhaps I should be using icacls, but I've yet to find any documentation that matches my comprehension levels.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Jan 2014   #4

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

I'm afraid that I'm not aware of any quick way to remove them either.

There's no real need to remove the "Account Unknown" entries unless you just really wanted to since they will not hurt anything to remain.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Finding (and removing) "Account Unknown"

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