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Please help me before I defenestrate my computer!

I'm trying to browse to folder "c:/Documents and settings" on my MS Vista-machine and I keep getting an access denied window. Where do I change the settings so that I can access all folders on my computer.

Facts: I'm the administrator and only user on this computer, and I have turned user account control off.

Have searched superuser for a solution, but in my agitated state I may well have missed the answer.

Thanks folks!

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+1 for fun use of defenstrate :-) – Chris_K Oct 1 '09 at 14:50
-1 for fun use of defenestrate -the person under AnnaR's window (no, I didn't actually downvote it) – Pops Oct 1 '09 at 14:57
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can't open "Documents and settings" in Vista. In fact it doesn't exist anymore. It's just a pointer to the new location which you will find under c:\users.

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That explains it. The Access Denied message is really confusing. My first and only reaction was "must find some settings page so that I can grant access". – AnnaR Oct 1 '09 at 14:41
That was my first reaction too:) Maybe I should have explained why it's there in the first place. It's for compatibility reasons. When you install older software that are unaware of this change they get redirected to the right location. – CGA Oct 1 '09 at 14:44
That part I understand. I was just confused by the error-message Vista gave me. – AnnaR Oct 1 '09 at 14:49

The folders \Documents and Settings is a junction (pointer) to the \Users directory. In fact, if you look in your user directory itself (\Users\username) you'll see that there are quite a few folders like Application Data and Local Settings that you can't open.

These folder junctions are to hand hold poorly written programs that hard code paths in their program (like always assuming the Program Files folder will be Program Files when in fact, in a different language it can be something else entirely! If you install a German copy of Windows it will be Programme).

Hopefully, if you turned off UAC just for trying to browse this folder, you'll see that it won't let you in at all (since it's just there for legacy purposes) you'll turn UAC back on, otherwise you're running almost as insecure as XP is.

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+1 for mentioning bad programmers! – Jared Harley Oct 1 '09 at 14:44
I turned the UAC off ages ago and am never turning it on again unless forced to at gunpoint. – AnnaR Oct 1 '09 at 14:46
+1 for funny UAC comment:) – CGA Oct 1 '09 at 14:56
@AnnaR: That's why I mentioned turning it back on only if you turned it off to see. I know everyone has their reasons for having it on or off. – Joshua Oct 1 '09 at 14:58

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