I have a Windows Server 2008 R2 box, which is set up as a very basic file server in a Workgroup environment. We have a single Shared folder, with subfolders for each department. For some reason all the file and folders permissions are messed up.

I get Access Denied messages all the time, even as Administrator, and several programs can't get to their files any more. Backups are also starting to fail due this.

I know the problem is permission related but don't know the best way to restore them to a default state. Attempting to grant Administtrator permissions also fails.

What do I do? Are there any tools available that can help to assist? Ideally, I'd like to wipe the slate clean, remove all permissions, and grant only Administrator full permissions. Then grant permissions on a per folder basis, one at a time.


Take ownership as administrator of the root of the share. Check the box that applies the ownership change to all subcontainers as well. After you're owner, you can set the permissions to whatever you want.

If you want a default set of permissions, just figure out whatever those are. Then tick the boxes that replaces all permissions on the child objects with inheritable permissions from the top-level folder, like this:

  • +1 for inherited permissions – Nic Young Feb 22 '12 at 19:46
  • I've tried taking ownership, but if I'm not mistaken, it also gave me Access Denied messages on certain files. Let me try it again though. – Saajid Ismail Feb 22 '12 at 19:54
  • 3
    If you can't take ownership of some files, they're likely locked. If you unshare the folder, you should be able to get at them. If not, you could always reboot in safe mode and do it again. Then you're almost guaranteed to not have a locked file in the share. – MDMarra Feb 22 '12 at 19:56
  • When yo reset permissions make sure to NEVER give away full control. Giive read or read/write, not full – uSlackr Feb 22 '12 at 20:48
  • Yes I think that was the problem. The previous admin gave quite a few people FULL CONTROL, and they probably stuffed the permissions up, either by mistake, or intentionally. – Saajid Ismail Feb 23 '12 at 7:14

The files may be locked for editing.

to fix, either:

  1. Un-share the folder, or
  2. Goto Share and Storage Management > Manage Open Files... and close the files for which permissions are corrupted.

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