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I'm trying to change NTFS permission to a folder containing a very big hierarchy below. I'm using the traditional approach (right mouse button, properties, security, etc) It's taking really long and I'm wondering if there is a fast way to do this. Thanks!

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Look at HOW you're assigning permissions - are you assigning to users or to a group or groups? In general (and in almost all cases) you want to assign permissions to groups - then adding or removing users will be virtually instantaneous. – Multiverse IT Aug 18 '11 at 5:34
up vote 8 down vote accepted

No, not really. No matter what you do, the process will still have to touch every single file and directory under that point to make the change (minus the ones that have inheritance turned off). For a 4.7 million file directory, it can take hours. I know this from experience.

The fastest way to do it is from the server console. You can get a smidge better performance by using a command-line tool to do it, but not a whole lot faster.

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I think there is a CACLS.EXE tool in the Windows resource kit download.

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Under security, click advanced. Click "Change Permissions", then modify the permissions appropriately. Finish by clicking the checkbox "Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object" and click apply/ok.

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