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Ok, an odd problem.

For one user on a Windows 7 x64 system, attempting to download a file with Internet Explorer 8 results in a error "C:\ location not accessible. Access is denied." even though the target location is not on the C:\ drive. No other users have the problem and no other browsers do.

The user does not remember deleting any folders recently, and it looks like no new software has been installed. A checkdisk comes up clean.

Any ideas?

I grabbed some information via Process Monitor that may help with seeing the problem:

screenshot

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You could install a download manager which will not use the default temp folder IE8 uses, freedownloadmanager.org –  Moab Dec 20 '10 at 13:59
    
Try and IE8 reset while logged into the problem account. –  Moab Dec 20 '10 at 14:01
    
There might be some tangentially related information blogs.technet.com/b/markrussinovich/archive/2009/02/03/… –  ta.speot.is Nov 21 '11 at 9:51
    
Try doing a Save As... and placing the item on the desktop. This bypasses the temporary internet folder and places the partial download files on the desktop(which the user does have access to). If this works, change their default download location to the desktop. –  Lee Harrison Mar 18 '13 at 14:14
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2 Answers

IE8 will save a file to a temporary directory named :
C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\<id>
then copy the file to the requested folder.

I would suggest that you check the permissions on C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files and ensure that the user has full control (with propagation to subfolders).

For some unknown reason, the folder Temporary Internet Files is ultra-protected by Windows. Deleting all temporary content through IE8 does not clean out everything. Some of the subfolders are only visible when allowed the viewing of protected system files (!), and some cannot be manually deleted even then.

It seems like Microsoft created a real mess of the permissions of this folder, in the name of security. Evidently something went wrong for this user. Using another account will "fix" the problem by not using this loused-up Temporary Internet Files folder, if you cannot figure out what went wrong.

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Check the current location for temporary files. ie Tools/Internet Options/Browsing History Settings. This may be set to C:\ or to a folder that does not exist.

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Thanks for the reply - the location of "temporary internet files" does exist and is fine. Very odd. –  Soulhuntre May 17 '10 at 21:03
    
The user hasn't created a file along the path, like for My Username in C:\Users contains My the file and My Username the folder? So running C:\Users\My Username\file.exe results in C:\Users\My being launched with Username\file.exe as a parameter. –  ta.speot.is Nov 21 '11 at 9:53
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