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On Windows 7 I created a System image of my computer (C: and reserved partition) onto a USB drive. No problem.

I then formatted the C: and installed the OS -- no problem

Now I would like use the System Image and get back some of my documents etc. But I can't get access wo the WindowsImageBackup folder on the USB drive 1) Somehow the drive is write protected --- how did that happen? How do I unprotect that drive. 2) I can't access the WindowsImageBackup folder because I suspect the ACL is out of wack with my new SID. I would add my new SID to the ACL but I can't because the drive is write protected

At the moment I'm completely disconnected from my files, which I thought (and still hope) are backed up. Understandably, panic is now setting in.

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I'm wondering if the drive is truly write-protected, or if the ACL is prohibiting you from writing. You could try taking ownership of the files & folders at the root of the drive, then add yourself to the ACL to allow yourself access.

If all else fails, you should be able to get access to your old file by booting to a Linux LiveCD. Most of the popular versions will allow read access of NTFS partitions, so you should be able to copy your data to another drive.

Wish I could be more help. Good luck.

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Don't panic, your files are fine!

Before doing anything to them, back them up once again to another drive if you can.

Some USB sticks and drives have a small "lock" switch which makes the drive write protected. Check for such a switch and turn it off if there is one.

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Next we can try changing the ACL for your current user account to have full access over the files:

cacls "D:\" /E /T /C /G "Administrator":F

replace D:\ with the letter of your external drive, and "Administrator" with the account you're giving ownership to. If this does not work, try burning and booting from a Linux LiveCD such as Ubuntu. Linux does not honor NTFS permissions so you can freely mount the drive and browse the files. Copy it all to the Linux home directory then copy it back, that should get rid of the NTFS permissions. If you are unfamiliar with Linux feel free to comment so I can help you further.

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