I recently tried to help someone out whose computer crashed (the reason why is not important for now) by recovering the HDD (i.e. remove it from the computer and plug into a docking station to backup the contents), but I'm running into trouble with Windows permissions and ownership.
People always think that because I'm an avid computer programmer and studying mathematics, I should somehow magically know the answers to all everyday computer problems, and it is really hard to convince them that those things are not really related (well they are, but programming and system management are completely different things).
Anyhow, when I plugged the HDD in my docking station and connected it to an other computer (both run Windows Vista, but that is not my choice) the partitions showed up as usual, but when I tried to look through the contents, all partitions were inaccessible (permission denied). I have done this kind of thing before without a problem and the only difference then was that the HDD came from a Windows 7 machine. I figured out that the partitions and their contents still had the old security attributes for the different user accounts set and that somehow Windows was still respecting them. So I tried to add the proper permissions for my local Administrator account with: properties -> security -> edit -> add. I thought that this would recursively set the permissions on all underlying folders and objects, but it did not did the trick, but I could now see the contents of the partitions root at least (sub-directories and objects were still inaccessible).
While I was trying to decide what I would do next, I noticed that there were no object- and folder owners. I do not know exactly what the difference is between owning an object or having the security permissions for an object, but I tried adding ownership to my local user account too, like this: properties -> security -> advanced -> owner -> edit -> apply. And now the problem: halfway while granting ownership to my local user there came a dialog that said that I did not have permissions to change ownership. While investigating what went wrong this time, I noticed two things:
- I could read/write/execute every folder and object that was granted ownership (thus all folders and objects processed until the dialog appeared).
- Where there was 1 GB of free space on the partition, there was now only a few KB. It seemed that the granting of ownership took more than a gigabyte, which seemed way to much for some metadata to me.
I tried exactly the same approach, but then with different partitions and the same happened, except for one partitions where there was 20 GB of free space (no additional space was consumed on that partition).
Any thought about what is going on?