These days, I live and breath using external USB hard drives. As portable hard drives get larger, my external drives are all ending up with NTFS systems.

Consider 5 computers:

  1. Work PC
  2. Home development/email PC
  3. Media Center PC
  4. Client's PC
  5. Wife's PC

I am beginning to notice that if I create a folder or file on one PC, it can not be accessed on any of the others unless I use Admin Rights to take ownership.

I've learned from another thread that this is because of Access Control Lists (ACLs) that the NTFS system is set up with.

I know very little about ACLs, and a search on here for information on how to set them has pulled up little (possibly because I do not know what terms to search for).

Is there a way that I can edit the ACL in Windows so that any file or folder I create that is not below the C:\Users directory has Read/Write enabled to Everyone?

Example 1:

I create a folder called Folder 1 on the F:\ using my Media Center PC.

When I plug that drive into my Home PC, I should be able to read, write or delete whatever I want on Folder 1.

Example 2:

I develop a database application for my client. Build it, test it, then copy that over to E:\BillsApp.

When I plug that drive into Bill's PC, I should be able to go right in to the BillsApp folder and install the application I've written for him without Windows telling me Access Denied!

1 Answer 1

  1. Add Everyone to the ACL of C:\ with full privileges.

  2. GOTO 1 for every drive you have.

You shouldn't need to do anything about C:\Users\, because it has a separate ACL by default and does not inherit permissions from C:\. (However, this only applies to the Users folder created by Windows itself, not to ones you create manually.)

If there are sensitive folders you created yourself, disable inheritance in the Properties -> Security -> Advanced -> Change Permissions window. When asked, choose Copy permissions.

Do not give Everyone full privileges to C:\WINDOWS\ or you will be destined to endless malware attacks and eternal pwnage.

  • grawity: Is there a command line way of specifying these ACLs? The only way I know how to do it is though the painfully slow GUI: Right-Click a folder, select Properties, Click the Security tab, under Group or user names click Edit, click "Add..." on the Permissions dialog box, type in Everyone, click OK, Allow Full control back at the Permissions dialog, click OK, and click OK again. ...for EACH FOLDER!
    – jp2code
    Feb 9, 2011 at 14:12
  • If you are talking some other ACL interface, please tell me something about it. In my original post, I wrote that I know little about ACLs. Using this crappy GUI is the only way I know of to edit the ACL setting for a folder, and I can only edit that setting AFTER the folder has been created without the settings I want it to have. I want these settings to be specified when I create the folders.
    – jp2code
    Feb 9, 2011 at 14:14
  • @jp2code: "For each folder"? You should only need to do this for the entire disk, and newly created folders will inherit their parent's ACLs. Feb 9, 2011 at 14:30

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