Does anyone have advice for easily copying files between a Windows XP machine [#A] (NTFS drive) --> External Hard Drive [NTFS] --> another Windows XP machine [#B] (NTFS drive) and getting the permissions set proprely?

Machine #A has all the data files setup so that User A [UUID] has full control on. When the files are copied over to the external hard drive, the permissions are fine. But when the external hard drive is then connected to Machine #B, the files will not copy.

I tried running cacls and xcacls to get User B [different UUID] and it works pretty well, but it chokes on atypical filenames.

Is there a better way?

Thanks in advance!

3 Answers 3


If these machines aren't part of a domain and the permissions are naming local user accounts on each machine you're not going to see the permissions (which reference the SIDs from the security and accounts manager (SAM) databases on each machine) show the right users when moving machine-to-machine. The only SIDs that work moving machine-to-machine are the "well known" SIDs (things like "Authenticated Users", "Users", etc).

Consider naming "Administrators" in the permissions-- that's a well-known SID and will work on both machines.

  • Good point... are these standalone or domain joined computers?
    – Sean Earp
    Jun 23, 2009 at 19:32

Use Robocopy, which can copy over the NTFS attributes and properties including ACLs.


additionally, it's always a good idea to give the often-called "Linux for Windows" => Cygwin, a try! There you have for example the rsync tool, which could be very helpful for your purpose I think. It can handle the file permissions, too and even let you backup / transfer the files securely via SSH.

Could be a pain to get your hands on it if you never had any Linux experience - but it's definitely worth it! In your case it is, at least for me, best practice!

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