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Is there a tool or command which will compare two directory trees on separate computers and output a list of differences, including differences in permissions?

I was looking at and it didn't seem to have this feature- it seems to compares file sizes and contents, but not attributes. Took a look through the options, but didn't see a setting to change this.

I've had some problems in the past with permissions getting messed up on some driver directories after an update and it would nice to compare a working installation with a broken one.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Have you throught about using PowerShell to do this?

PS2 includes a cmdlet get-acl which enums the NFTS permissions (including owner) for a given folder/file.

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Yes, I did think about Powershell - but had hoped not to use it. I don't use it often enough to get comfortable with it. – Sam Feb 3 '10 at 15:26

Can't find anything that will perform a "diff" on file permissions in Windows, but I do know that RoboCopy and Richcopy ( will copy files while preserving NTFS attributes like permissions.

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Highly recommended: setacl.
This is a free tool you can obtain from

To compare two directories I did this:
- made a list of all ACL's in both folders
- list in a text format
with setacl this is done like this
setacl -ot file -on folderA -actn list -lst "f:tab" > listA
setacl -ot file -on folderB -actn list -lst "f:tab" > listB
- compare the 2 lists
I do this with diff (cygwin collection)
diff listA listB

I had a problem with comparing two user folders.
These folders needed to have identical ACLs except for the user who 'owned' the folder.
I solved this by replace the username in the ACL with a common name 'customer'.
This allowed me to compare the ACL without having an obvious difference on the username itself.

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You could also use the dos command "COMP" to compare. – djangofan Nov 15 '11 at 23:27

Probably it worthwile to look at CJWDEV NTFS Permission Reporter or Scooter Soft Beyond Compare - 1st one can scan folder tree & produce permission report which can be saved in Excel (having 2 reports you can do comparison in Excel), 2nd can copy permissions... Unfortunately these 2 are not free, and not do exactly what you want but may be helpful for your task...

AFAIK there are no off-the-shelf tool which can easily & conveniently do NTFS permissions comparison/copy, despite existing demand :)

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You can use ICACLs.exe, Included since Vista or so to dump the permissions to a text file. Then use WinDiff or Beyond Compare, or whatever your favorite file comparison tool is, to see the differences.

Example icacls command line:

icacls C:\Folder1 /T > Folder1.txt
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