I have a folder on the SBS 2003 server where I want users to be able to edit files, but not move or delete them. The files are in Excel. When I removed the delete permission, I couldn't save the files. I assume this is because Excel deletes the original before writing the new file. I don't care about the possibility that they select everything in Excel and then hit delete - the deletion and/or moving of the files appears to be accidental.

thanks for the answers, I hadn't thought of using Sharepoint - Shadow Volume has kept me sane so far

4 Answers 4


I would just enable volume shadow copies and educate the users on how it works. Also, if these are files that multiple users collaborate on, it is best to use SharePoint. SBS 2003 has a decent implementation but upgrading to the free WSS 3.0 would be best. This would also give you version controls and the ability for users to "check out" files. All free and fully supported by Microsoft. No need for 3rd party CVS software unless you have specific requirements. Doesn't sound like you do.

  • Once you move beyond regular file sharing rights, WSS is the next step.
    – Jim B
    Jun 15, 2009 at 21:29

Unfortunately, deleting is in the writing part of the read/write permissions set Windows provides. Locking could work, as in locking the file when it is unused. Unfortunately, the user would need to request the file be unlocked in order to save, and in that window the user could delete the file.

You might want to consider some type of versioning system, where if a file does get deleted, restoring it is just a matter of restoring the latest check-in. SVN and Git would be good options for MS Office files, while SharePoint has specific support for Excel files.

  • +1 for explaining the Windows permissions (and not suggesting something dodgy like using VSS to just restore the deleted files) before suggesting a version control system / repository (although I wouldn't necessarily call that a "CVS file store"). Jun 15, 2009 at 19:16
  • It is possible to remove just the delete function (by going into advanced permission settings), but it sounds like the OP tried this and it broke Excel. If this is in fact what you did, make sure that create folders/append data was allowed, because that could also have the effect that you described. If removing just the delete function doesn't work then I would have to suggest going to Volume Shadow Copy as suggested by others. Jun 15, 2009 at 19:41

You might consider using a version control system, such as Subversion (http://subversion.tigris.org/), which will keep a record of the history of each file. That way, if someone deletes or moves it by accident, you can restore the original.


Doesn't SBS 2003 support shadow volume copies? Not the answer you wanted, but a fair safety net in my experience. We've had a lot less serious incidents since turning it on, that's for sure.

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