My new employer has folder redirection setup for its hundreds of users, and the person who set it up didn't really know what he was doing. As a result, the best practices for permissions on redirected folders/home directories was not followed.

The solution to let people access their redirected folder locations was to instead apply Full Control permissions (NTFS permissions, not "share" permissions, of course) to Everyone at the root directory ("Home") and propagate that down to all subfolders and files below the root.

What could possibly go wrong, right? It's not like the CEO has confidential information in his My Documents folder, or anyone's going to get infected with CryptoWall and encrypt everyone else's files. Right?

So, anyway, now that the CryptoWall infection has been removed and backups have been restored, a number of people would like us to replace the current permissions with something less horrible, and I would like to not have to click around the permissions dialogues in several hundred folders.

How can PowerShell solve this problem for me, and make life worth living again?


With thanks to JScott for referring me to the System.Security.Principal... class or method or whatever it is, some PowerShell to replace the ACLs on a bunch of subfolders with those that are appropriate for user home directories:

$Root = "Path to the root folder that holds all the user home directories"

$Paths = Get-ChildItem $Root | Select-Object -Property Name,FullName

$DAAR = New-Object system.security.accesscontrol.filesystemaccessrule("MyDomain\Domain Admins","FullControl","ContainerInherit, ObjectInherit","None","Allow")
#Domain Admin Access Rule.

$SysAR = New-Object system.security.accesscontrol.filesystemaccessrule("SYSTEM","FullControl","ContainerInherit, ObjectInherit","None","Allow")
#SYSTEM Access Rule.

foreach ($Folder in $Paths)

    Write-Host "Generating ACL for $($folder.FullName) ... "
    #For error handling purposes - not all folders will map to a user of the exact same name, this makes them easier to handle when viewing the output.

    $ACL = New-Object System.Security.AccessControl.DirectorySecurity
    #Creates a blank ACL object to add access rules into, also blanks out the ACL for each iteration of the loop.

    $objUser = New-Object System.Security.Principal.NTAccount("MyDomain\​"+$folder.name)
    #Creating the right type of User Object to feed into our ACL, and populating it with the user whose folder we're currently on.

    $UserAR = New-Object system.security.accesscontrol.filesystemaccessrule( $objuser ,"FullControl","ContainerInherit, ObjectInherit","None","Allow")
    #Access Rule for the user whose folder we're dealing with during this iteration.

    $acl.SetAccessRuleProtection($true, $false)
    #Change the inheritance/propagation settings of the folder we're dealing with


    Write-Host "Changing ACL on $($folder.FullName) to:"
    $acl | fl
    #For error handling purposes - not all folders will map to a user of the exact same name, this makes them easier to handle when viewing the output.

    Set-Acl -Path $Folder.Fullname -ACLObject $acl

  • 1
    Cool, it's assuming the \" is escaping the quotation mark, and the CSS is messed up! – Canadian Luke Oct 7 '15 at 20:46
  • 3
    @CanadianLuke Thank you! I was wondering WTH. Threw a zero-width space in there to fix the CSS... so, if anyone gets the urge to copy-pasta, there's a non-printable character between the slash and the quotation in the line that declares $objuser. – HopelessN00b Oct 8 '15 at 0:07

The previous answer won't work IF the home folders/redirected folders were set up with "Grant the user exclusive rights". This is because when this option is selected which is not recommended, only SYSTEM and THE USER have rights to the folder. You then cannot change the perms (even as admin) without taking ownership of the folder.

This IS a method to work-around this WITHOUT taking ownership. It is a two-step process.

Create a powershell script that runs ICACLS to modify the perms on the folders & subfolders.

run PSexec to kickoff Powershell script.

taken and modified from: https://mypkb.wordpress.com/2008/12/29/how-to-restore-administrators-access-to-redirected-my-documents-folder/

1 Create/copy/steal powershell script (requires PS 3.0 or better)

# CACLS rights are usually
# F = FullControl
# C = Change
# R = Readonly
# W = Write

$StartingDir= "c:\shares\users"   ##Path to root of users home dirs
$Principal="domain\username"    #or "administrators"

$Verify=Read-Host `n "You are about to change permissions on all" `
"files starting at"$StartingDir.ToUpper() `n "for security"`
"principal"$Principal.ToUpper() `
"with new right of"$Permission.ToUpper()"."`n `
"Do you want to continue? [Y,N]"

if ($Verify -eq "Y") {

foreach ($FOLDER in $(Get-ChildItem -path $StartingDir -directory -recurse)) {

$temp = $Folder.fullname
CACLS `"$temp`" /E /P `"${Principal}`":${Permission} >$NULL
#write-host $Folder.FullName 
  1. run PSEXEC, it operates as the SYSTEM account and therefore can change the perms on the folder that only SYSTEM and the user have access to. Install and run PSexec. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897553.aspx

From Command Line:

psexec -s -i powershell -noexit "& 'C:\Path\To\ChangePermissions.ps1'"

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