After reinstalling Vista on a friend's laptop, I got a call because I copied her files into the admin's My Documents instead of her non-admin account, so she can't see the folder when she's logged on as non-admin like I advised her to do.

She has little computer skills: What is the simplest way to move data from the admin to the non-admin account so she has full access to them once she's logged as non-admin?

Thank you.

up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. Log in as Admin
  2. Move the files and folders to her User directory
  3. Select each folder that contains files she moved in step 2, right click and select Properties.
  4. Go to the Security tab.
  5. Click the Edit button.
  6. If her name is not listed in the list of User Names, click Add and add her name.
  7. Select her name in the list of User Names, then click Allow for Full Control (if she cannot select Full Control, add her name (step 6) even if it is already listed).
  8. Press OK to return to the Properties dialog and then press Advanced.
  9. In the Permissions tab click Change Permissions.
  10. Make sure her name has the Full Control permission and then check "Replace all child object permissions..." and press OK to apply these permissions to all the files and folders.
  11. Click the Owner tab. In the "Change owner to" window select her username (if her name is not listed, click Edit and add her name using the "Other users or groups" button).
  12. Press OK and choose to apply the changes to all files and folders and subfolders etc...

This way she's set her own account as having Full Control permissions (so she can do anything with the files) and Ownership (so she is allowed to change permissions herself).

Logging in as her own account she should be able to access and control the files as her own again.

  • Thanks much. I thought about this, but wanted to make sure there weren't a way to automate it. I'll send her the instructions. Alternativately, Vista has apparently introduced "Windows Easy Transfer", but I don't know how well it works to move data from one account to another. – OverTheRainbow Feb 20 '12 at 16:34
  • The important part is setting the permissions. It's also the hard or complicated part. Most transfer utilities do not change permissions, especially from Admin to User level. Windows Easy Transfer is for backing up or transferring data from one computer to another and has built in capabilities of copying the user accounts as well. It will not work to copy locally and reset permissions. – music2myear Feb 20 '12 at 16:42
  • Some articles on the web seem to say that it can also be used to transfer between accounts on the same computer, although it's mostly used to move from an old computer to a new computer. I'll take some screenhots so, hopefully, she can figure out how to move the folder per the instructions above. – OverTheRainbow Feb 20 '12 at 16:46

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