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I'm going to reinstall Windows 7 soon. I'm going to "backup" my files by copying and pasting them to an external hard drive. I had a lot of problems with file ownership while doing this when upgrading (clean installs) from XP to Vista, and then from Vista to Windows 7.

So my question is - will I have to deal with file ownership issues again? If so, can I do something beforehand to avoid this?

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If you are using copy and the external drive is NTFS you should just need to make sure "Everyone" or some other generic group has permissions to the folders. When using copy the files you copy inherit the permissions from the destination.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310316

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/323007

If you are worried about permissions for these files once you install Windows 7 just go to that top folder, take ownership and permission and then force to inherent and you should be done.

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