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I recently changed permissions on my external usb drive so users by default don't have read permission. Now i realize i cannot search through the drive. after setting 'everyone' permission to read i could again.

How do i set it so everyone does not have read permission except for my username (i hate clicking yes to admin prompt everytime i move a file) and allow the system to search the drive when the logged in users is allowed to access those files?

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You should be able to accomplish this by removing all permissions from the drive and adding SYSTEM and your account with Full Control. Adding the local Administrators group would be a good idea as well unless the users you are trying to prevent are also administrators. Chances are you actually denied permission to the drive via the everyone or users group which always, always overrides the allowed settings.

Simply removing all groups and users from there will prevent people from seeing the contents if they are not explicitly on the list (or are granted access through a group on the list).

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