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Windows Vista Read-Only

Since we released LandlordMax with full Windows Vista support, we started to notice a certain level of error reports coming with messages stating that the software couldn’t write data to database because the database folder was read-only. Obviously, if the database folder is set to read-only, it can’t write, but the big question is why are any database folders being set to read only? Was it specific to Vista?

At first it was only a few read-only errors so it was harder to nail down. But it didn’t take us long to isolate it to Windows Vista. Although we support Windows Vista, only a small percentage of our customers use it. I believe the current market share is somewhere in the the single digits percentage wise. But as time passes and we add more and more Vista customers, not to mention Vista growing their market share. It’s a growing issue for us and all other software vendors as you’ll soon see if you aren’t already experiencing this issue.

After a lot of investigation we discovered that the “read-only Vista issue” is very prevalent. It’s frustrating a lot of users! To give you an example of just how big an issue this is with Vista, I just did a Google Search and found these threads here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here within seconds. A lot of people are complaining, it’s affecting a lot of software. But worse, it’s not just affecting the software applications but also the users data folders. For example a lot of people are also complaining that they can’t even edit their pictures.

Delving further into the issue, what’s happening is that Microsoft is trying to add extra security to prevent “Malware” from getting onto your computer. Whether or not this is the right approach is an entirely different discussion, but the downside is that it’s definitely causing a lot of frustration to their users! As I’ve already said a lot of people are complaining. Software vendors are getting hit with a lot of extra “support” costs to deal with this issue. After all, if the software doesn’t work, it’s probably the software vendor. Not in this case, but you can’t blame the customer. I initially had the exact same reaction. Windows Vista is still too new that most people haven’t yet figured out this is a Windows Vista issue.

On top of this, something we’re just starting to experience, sometimes if you change the file properties from read-only to read/write (ie uncheck the read-only file attribute), it comes back as read-only!!! What? I uncheck the checkbox, close the folder properties dialog window, and re-open it only to find the read-only checkbox selected. And yes I’m in Admistrator mode. I myself am confused and I’m nowhere near a novice user. I can only imagine the storm that’s going on as most people would have no idea what to do.

Up until recently all our customers could resolve this issue by just changing the folder permissions (at least as far as I know). Now this doesn’t always work. There’s no indication of what to do anywhere within Windows Vista. It changes your settings without you wanting to. I’m personally at a loss and will be contacting Microsoft on Monday to see what’s going on.

I have no doubt that they will have to revisit their decision on this aspect as they gain market share and it becomes more obvious what’s happening within the community at large. I can only imagine the scale of the storm that’s already brewing…

Like this article?


  •     Jason Ganz
    · June 22nd, 2007  · 11:43 pm  · Permalink

    Great post! I am gonna share it with my own blog readers at jason.landbrokr.com ! Thanks.

  •     FollowSteph.com » What am I up to?
    · June 26th, 2007  · 12:20 am  · Permalink

    […] The first and largest is a fix for Windows Vista and user access control (UAC). UAC is a new feature introduced by Microsoft for Windows Vista that is causing a lot of people grief with a lot of software, including LandlordMax. This update is going to specifically address this issue. It’s not a complete solution, we’re working with Microsoft to “properly” code where the database of LandlordMax should be stored on your computer. but for now this will correctly deal with this issue. […]

  •     Eldar : Vista administration bullshit
    · July 9th, 2007  · 11:19 pm  · Permalink

    […] Vista administration bullshit “If you change the file properties from read-only to read/write (ie uncheck the read-only file attribute), it comes back as read-only!!! What? I uncheck the checkbox, close the folder properties dialog window, and re-open it only to find the read-only checkbox selected. And yes I’m in Admistrator mode.” My thoughts exactly… https://www.followsteph.com/2007/06/17/windows-vista-read-only/   […]

  •     anon
    · July 18th, 2007  · 1:42 am  · Permalink


    give everyone access to that temp folder – then it works

  •     bd
    · July 22nd, 2007  · 1:20 pm  · Permalink

    any updates on this issue?

  •     Steph
    · July 22nd, 2007  · 3:15 pm  · Permalink

    So far we’ve found a temporary solution that resolves the issue. Right now what we’re doing is requiring the software to ask for full Admin privileges every time LandlordMax starts.

    This is not a perfect solution because it has to be positively answered and it might potentially scare off some users (however we’ve been noticing a lot more software applications doing this too).

    We’re working on a more permanent solution, one that is “acceptable” by Microsoft (which means it will keep our read/write access). We don’t yet know exactly how to do this, but we’re working on it…

  •     Arelowo
    · August 19th, 2007  · 5:27 pm  · Permalink

    you can change the read only flag by using the attrib command in command prompt like so: attrib -r -s C:usersfolder. This will only change the flag in the folder. You might want to write a VB script to take care of the sub folders. Hope this helps

  •     Eric
    · August 29th, 2007  · 5:27 pm  · Permalink

    It can’t be a security/permissions feature, or Administrators would be able to set permissions on a single folder. It just has to be a bug. And it’s exceedingly annoying.

  •     Steph
    · August 29th, 2007  · 9:44 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Eric,

    It’s actually part of Windows Vista new UAC (User Access Control) system. If you turn it off all the issues go away. If you set the program to demand Admin access each time (with an annoying popup) it goes away. If you don’t, on some occasions Vista will downgrade your access and prevent you from writing to the disk. We’ve got the exact same issue with our Anti-virus solution!

  •     guardianmars
    · August 31st, 2007  · 4:40 pm  · Permalink

    Yeah, I’m having the same problem with playing games on my system. I’ve yet to find a fix that actually works, but it’s more than frustrating. >.

  •     Steph
    · September 3rd, 2007  · 2:10 pm  · Permalink


    The most common solution, the one that’s NOT recommended by Microsoft, is to turn of UAC (User Access Control). A good percentage of people have already started to turn this feature off for this very reason.

    I suspect they will be re-addressing this issue in the upcoming major service pack update.

  •     Eric
    · September 5th, 2007  · 12:14 pm  · Permalink

    Thanks for your reply, Steph.

    However, allow me to insist.

    1. On my machine, UAC has been turned off from day one (just couldn’t live with it…). I just tried re-enabling it, then disabling it again, just for kicks. Turning off read-only still doesn’t stick.

    2. Vista never gives any indication as to why the operation, conducted under Administrator privileges, fails to register. I thought it may have been Windows Defender, turned that off, didn’t help. Who dunnit? Who’s in charge?

    To me, that behavior is just not a feature. It’s a bug, either in implementation, or in UI.

  •     guardianmars
    · September 5th, 2007  · 5:37 pm  · Permalink

    When you open a program that might require changes to the files, right click and run program as administrator. It’s the only solution if it is write-protecting your files and not allowing you to make changes. Nothing else seems to work at this time.

  •     Steph
    · September 9th, 2007  · 11:01 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Eric,

    Turning off UAC works most of the time… As GuardianMars is suggesting, that’s the only thing I’ve been able to guarantee with 100% success. I can’t explain it either, which is why for my main box I’m using XP. I’m just finding Vista to be more pain than it’s worth.

  •     David
    · September 28th, 2007  · 9:53 am  · Permalink

    If you want Write permission for a group of users (including Admin),
    1. Right Click on File/Folder – Permissions.
    2. Select Security Tab.
    3. Choose the Group / User Names you wish to give permissions to. ie: Users (or Administrators, if you must)
    4. Click EDIT
    5. Check the permission you want them to have: ie Full Control, Write etc.

    This will make that directory (or maybe just that file) accessible to the users you want to have write access.
    ie: Forget the R/O attributes they are are not fine grained & will no longer work for you.
    Yes I spent the last 20 mins hitting all the issues you mentioned above. ie Clearing the R/O flag only to have it reset etc. But then it dawned on me…

    The Security Tab lets you control Security “PER USER” (or “per group” if you prefer) ie: User Access Control lets you set the security differently PER USER. Best security practises suggest that you run with the minimum permissions you require. This includes an Admin account, they are no longer GOD by default. So most of the priviledges are turned off even for Admin. If the Admin wants that Permission then the Admin needs to go & give themselves that permission. (ie if you want your Front door unlocked, go get the key & unlock it. Otherwise you will not be able to open your front door.)

    In Short,
    People screamed “Hey Microsoft should do something to prevent, malware, trojans etc from hurting me.” They did, we now have that control. We just have to learn how to use it. Turning off UAC is not the answer, just as leaving your car unlocked is not a great solution to prevent you from locking your keys in the car. Yes it is a pain to learn / figure out especially as I didn’t bother to read the manual, but I bet it was in there somewhere.

    It would be nice to live in a world where people were not so greedy, criminal &/or didn’t hurt people “just because that can” But we don’t, so I guess the rest of us have to learn to help each other. I hope this helps.

  •     Adam
    · September 30th, 2007  · 11:26 am  · Permalink

    David, there’s no excuse for this bug. I tried your suggestion to know no avail. My computer is essentially useless right now. Thanks, Microsoft.

  •     Steph
    · September 30th, 2007  · 3:26 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Adam and David,

    I found that sometimes Windows will still overtake your settings, even if you manually set them… Not all the time, but some of the times. And unfortunately that makes it even more annoying…

  •     Craig
    · November 5th, 2007  · 9:55 pm  · Permalink

    I do that thing that david said. But after i click apply i see all the check marks immediately dissapear. This is really frusterating. I will be reinstalling XP tomorrow, i shouldnt have to deal with this.

  •     Andrew
    · November 8th, 2007  · 1:58 am  · Permalink

    This is driving me insane. I’ve got my account set to full control in both my account name and the administrator group, and I still can’t even put music in my music folder.

  •     Steph
    · November 9th, 2007  · 6:09 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Craig,

    The thing Craig suggested only sometimes works. What happens is that other times the UAC (User Access Control) aspect of the Operating System takes over and negates what you just did. The only way to 100% apply this is to turn off UAC.

  •     Steph
    · November 9th, 2007  · 6:10 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Andrew,

    Looks like you’re hitting the exact same thing too. It’s all related to the UAC feature of the OS. This has to be the most frustrating feature I’ve ever seen. Other than turning it completely off, I don’t know of another solution…

  •     David
    · November 10th, 2007  · 10:41 pm  · Permalink

    Another thing I found which might be impacting you.

    You need to ensure that no other program is accessing the file (folder or sub-folder) you are trying to change. Otherwise sometimes your changes will not happen (or you will be asked to type your Admin password etc) & then get a “retry, skip, cancel” dialog. Which never works as it can’t get an exclusive lock on the file/folder you’re trying to change. (my theory, I don’t know that for a fact)
    I got this a lot when I was trying to add attributes (Album/Artist) to my music using Explorer to change all tracks in one directory rather than using Media Player.
    I needed to ensure (i) neither Media Player nor another instance of Explorer was using them. (ii) That the R/O flag was cleared in the Folder & File before I could add those extended attributes.
    Ie If you have Media Player looking at a song in a subfolder & you attempt to use explorer to set all the properties of the parent, it will prompt you for permission & eventually fail.

    I’ve also found that there is a slight difference between using the “Master Admin account” (ie the one you first created when installing Vista) & any other account you create & flag as Administrator. For most times if you are logged on as User & it asks for Admin rights, any admin account will do. But sometimes when installing programs especially Anti-Virus types with low level hooks into the O/S, they seem to fail or have weird bugs that do not occur if you uninstall & reinstall using the Master Admin ac. I expect that this account has extra attributes set like “Run as part of OS” or similar that isn’t set by default.

    I’m not convinced that turning UAC off is the “only way to solve the problem”, nor is going back to XP. But I do understand frustration with computers. Many times in the past 25 years I’ve almost punched the Mainframe/Mini/PC screen. Clearly MS has plenty of scope to make this feature more user friendly / intuitive.
    Hope this helps you.

  •     Andrew
    · November 10th, 2007  · 11:19 pm  · Permalink

    Thanks for the reply Steph,

    Oddly enough, turning off the UAC feature was the very first thing I did when I got that laptop. Every time I went in to my control panel the computer asked for permission, and that was simply driving me insane.

    David might be onto something, I forgot that Winamp does some passive scan on my music folder, so I suppose the folder was being accessed at the time. When I get back to my computer, I’ll be sure to give this a shot and post my results.

  •     Steph
    · November 12th, 2007  · 11:05 pm  · Permalink

    Hi David,

    I have no doubt that there are options other than turning off UAC, I just haven’t been able to find them. And even if I did, I suspect many programs would still have issues…

    It’s just been one frustration after another for me so we’ve turned it off other than for when we need to do Vista product testing for our product (LandlordMax).

  •     Steph
    · November 12th, 2007  · 11:07 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Andrew,

    I couldn’t agree more. Just the constant asking for permission is enough to drive almost any person insane. Not only that, but it quickly reduces it’s effectiveness. Just before I turned off UAC I barely even noticed it, it was just an automatic click for me. That’s not a good thing!

    And please do post your results. This article gets so much traffic that I have no doubt others would also like to know the results.

  •     Andrew
    · November 13th, 2007  · 5:59 am  · Permalink

    Unfortunately, no good. After the music folder, I even tried to unset other folders

    No good.

  •     Rob
    · November 13th, 2007  · 8:41 am  · Permalink

    Yeah, this has been a pain for me for awhile. I have reinstalled three times, and each time it comes back. Once it got to the point where I could not rename folders. The new trick this time is that even windows media player does not have rights to access my music. This is all without UAC on, with my entire drive under ownership, and programs being run as admin. Vista would be a good OS if it was stripped to the bone. I would be running Server 2003, (which vista was based on) if it had better support for drivers, etc.

  •     Odelik
    · December 3rd, 2007  · 2:41 pm  · Permalink

    This is frustrating as hell.

    I need to modify a file for visual studio to allow it to use a certain SDK. Well, the file is.. you guessed it.. write protected. I’ve had UAC disabled since day 1, and it’s like running into a brick wall. I disable read only, it reappears. I’ve added the permissions, still running into the wall over and over again.

    I’ve even tried going into safe mode with command line and.. I’ve also tried giving myself the needed permissions in the appdata folder.

    As has been mentioned before, this behavior is a bug. If this is intentional behavior, going into user accounts or the security panel of the properties tab should be able to modify it.

    This right here is an insane issue. This issue makes me wish all my hardware in my laptop was supported by XP. If I wasn’t doing windows development I’d likely quickly start using another OS as well.

    As you mentioned in the main article, this could very well be the wrong way to approach the security that they are looking for.

    Windows Vista – Keeping the ignorant user ignorant and driving the computer tech to do unspeakable acts.

  •     Steph
    · December 10th, 2007  · 2:37 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Odelik,

    I’m also curious how they plan to adjust this with SP1 of Vista coming out shortly…

    My guess is that this will continue to be an issue for some time, probably years. And it will probably only continue to escalate.

  •     Odelik
    · December 10th, 2007  · 6:39 pm  · Permalink

    Steph, that’s where I feel that you’re unfortunately correct.

    I live in the Metro-Seattle area and have the opportunity to go to seminars hosted by MS employees quite frequently. Most of the employees are talking about how there’s no reason for software to communicated directly with the machine and have full rights.

    I understand the security implications behind it, but there are cases where software should need full rights. I’m willing to bet that MS is going to try and force MS Platform developers used the managed pipeline they’re creating.

    Which, if you ask me, is going to drive a ton of talented developers away and MS winding up with a ton of lazy developers that really have no true clue about how to program. Just wait till we see the next generation MS Programming language.

  •     Steph
    · December 11th, 2007  · 6:40 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Odelik,

    I agree with you that some software does need the full rights. If nothing else, if you want to play with your machine you should be able to. However to avoid a holy war as to what rights you should have on your machine, the reality is that if a software application can’t consistently access files on a computer in a fairly simple way, than it’s severely limited!

    What’s going to happen is that developers will find workarounds, hacks, you name it. But not only that, just like any other protection method, the real hackers they are trying to stop will also eventually solve the puzzle. Therefore rather than prevent the bad hackers from breaking the system as is the intention (they will anyway, it’s just a matter of when), it will only annoy the good programmers from doing things in a clean and simple way. I believe it will lead to some really weird and ugly hacks to work around the UAC issues.

  •     Jibin
    · January 7th, 2008  · 5:24 am  · Permalink

    Hi I got my new system and tries to install oracle 10g and failed at first step..not able to write to temp folder ..an i tried unmarknig the readonly flag of ths folder,to my surprice it is coming back as read only .i am loged in as admin and i have edited and given full rights for all users..no way with Vista …

  •     Steph
    · January 7th, 2008  · 2:41 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Jibin,

    Welcome to the Windows Vista UAC (User Access Control) issues. It’s quite a mess. Unless you turn it off, you’ll be struggling with it for some time. I personally never found a viable solution.

    And from what I understand from some of the people commenting here, even when you do turn off UAC Windows Vista still sometimes limits your file permissions.

  •     The Cheshire Cat
    · January 17th, 2008  · 5:58 am  · Permalink

    I was having this problem earlier, trying to modify a config file for one of my games (It’s just a basic .txt file, I was using notepad to do it). The issue I ran into was that the file would absolutely refuse to save. It would keep giving me an error.

    I went through a few steps, including the often mentioned disabling of UAC. Turning off UAC seemed to solve the problem, but if it isn’t solving it for some other people, here are some other things to try:

    -You may not have permissions on the drive that the file is on. This is a major problem a lot of people have been having. It’s a bit of a process to get that changed, you can find a good walkthrough on how to fix this here: https://www.vistaheads.com/forums/microsoft-public-windows-vista-general/7361-re-read-only.html

    -Another issue is that apparently program files is considered to be a system folder in Vista, which makes it very hard to modify. And of course, if you’re like me (And probably most people, really), you install everything into that folder, what with it being the default and all. This basically means that anything created by a program installed into Program Files will be just as hard to modify as the folder itself. Something which I didn’t end up needing to do but might help for you is to move whatever you’re trying to modify out of Program Files. Actually, it seems to be pretty anal about letting you modify anything outside your own documents folder. It’s a stupid system and any extra defense from malware it provides is more than overshadowed by the fact that it prevents a lot of the things a legitimate user might be trying to do. I’m hoping they fix this in SP1 but I’m not holding my breath.

    Again, turning off UAC fixed this for me, but if it doesn’t work for other people, those might be some things to try.

  •     h2o826
    · January 29th, 2008  · 6:39 pm  · Permalink

    Hello, I am glad I am not the only one with this problem. But not really, because there shoudlnt be a problem. THis stupid read only crap is drivin me nuts, i spent a long time reading ever post on here and tried everything said…and so far I still get the same problem. I did turn off UAC when i first got vista, but i turned it off and on to try and fix the problem and nothing there. I tried the websites links with solutions and followed instructions and so far nothing. How or when is this going to be fixed? It is really really aggrivating!

  •     Rlong
    · January 30th, 2008  · 4:30 am  · Permalink

    I finally fixed the problem. I upgraded to XP. Runs alot better now.

  •     Steph
    · February 4th, 2008  · 9:51 pm  · Permalink

    Hi h2o826,

    I think we’d all like to know when it’s going to be fixed. Unfortunately I don’t know if it ever will…

  •     Steph
    · February 4th, 2008  · 9:52 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Rlong,

    That’s our solution for our computers. We only use Vista for testing, not for development or day to day work.

  •     Odelik
    · February 5th, 2008  · 9:49 pm  · Permalink

    I came across this program called vLite that allows you to strip out the things you don’t want to be installed on your OS then creates a custom Install Disc for you.

    I’m not sure if vLite is capable of stripping UAC away from Vista or not, and I don’t have the means or the time to find out. If anybody reading through here is willing to try it out, please let us know?

  •     Blake
    · February 9th, 2008  · 1:01 am  · Permalink

    Wow. All I can do is shake my head at MS. I have tried everything I can. Still can’t change anything. All I want to do is move some files on my D: drive to my E: drive and I cannot. It started a week ago, now I’m stuck. Help.

  •     Steph
    · February 9th, 2008  · 11:03 am  · Permalink

    Hi Blake,

    Unfortunately you’re not the only one experiencing this pain. A lot of people are hoping for significant improvements with the Vista Service Pack 1 coming out soon. But from the preliminaries I’ve heard, don’t expect this issue to be resolved…

  •     Lucas
    · February 9th, 2008  · 4:35 pm  · Permalink

    I believe I caused the read-only issue by enabling/disabling UAC a few times. At some point this read-only bug popped up.

    For the life of me I couldn’t fix it.

    I did though, come up with a workaround.

    I setup a main Admin user account.

    Then I deleted the profile that was experiencing the read-only issue.

    Then I re-created the user profile that I deleted.

    Now I am running smoothly again and will undoubtedly leave UAC off for the lifetime of this system.

  •     Steph
    · February 10th, 2008  · 5:00 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Lucas,

    I have to admit that your workaround scares me. Not the solution but the fact that it was the only way you were able to make it work.

    Let’s hope that with Vista SP1 they’ll resolve a lot of these issues, even if it doesn’t look like it.

  •     Steve Moyer
    · February 11th, 2008  · 1:00 pm  · Permalink

    Hmm … sounds like disabling the UAC doesn’t always fix the problem. Where are your database files? If I install the application as a user (no administrator privileges at all), do you put the database files in the user’s folder in Documents and Settings?

  •     Steph
    · February 11th, 2008  · 1:53 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Steve,

    You’re absolutely right about disabling UAC. The other thing to remember is that not everyone is willing to disable it…

    So what we ended up having to do is request Administrator Privileges when starting LandlordMax. As part of the install you can add a config file which Windows will read every time the program is started, in which we ask it to ask the user for Admin privileges if they don’t already have them.

    It’s not the best solution, but since we’ve implemented it we’ve no longer had any support issues with LandlordMax on Vista. NO other solution consistently worked on all Vista boxes. We’re looking at alternative solutions but until we see that Microsoft has a solid and very stable solution, this is what we’ll stay with.

  •     Miguel Esteves
    · March 24th, 2008  · 5:51 pm  · Permalink

    I just bought a new computer with VISTA, and I am having the same problems to do whatever I want with MY files..
    I was almost changing to Mac, today I regret I didn’t …
    Can I install XP over VISTA ?

  •     Steph
    · March 25th, 2008  · 10:19 am  · Permalink

    You can install a Windows XP image on a Windows Vista box through virtualware, but this requires some technical knowledge. The alternative path, which is the one I took, is to “upgrade” your computer to XP. Basically wipe out Vista and instead install XP.

  •     Millie
    · April 18th, 2008  · 9:19 am  · Permalink

    I have been having the same problems with read only folders. I just purchased a new Toshiba laptop that was Vista downgradeable to XP and I had the retailer downgrade it for me. Every darn folder is read only so I am going to try turning of the UCA.

  •     Steph
    · April 21st, 2008  · 10:36 am  · Permalink

    Hi Millie,

    For me turning off UAC solved all my issues, but as you’ve probably noticed for some of the commentors the issues still persisted.

    Btw, just remember that Microsoft recommends against turning off UAC. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t…

  •     Stephen Jones
    · May 16th, 2008  · 2:04 pm  · Permalink

    —-“Actually, it seems to be pretty anal about letting you modify anything outside your own documents folder”——

    So it should be. When you install it for the user anything that needs modifying should go into the users documents and settings folder. There are two application data folders there, one for local settings (which don’t travel with the roaming profile) and one for application data where you put stuff you would want to be accessible from a roaming profile. This has been recommended practice for many years now.

    If Vista doesn’t let the user write to those folders there is a bug that needs looking at, but restricting write access (or even read access) to those folders is common sense

  •     Johann
    · June 17th, 2008  · 1:36 pm  · Permalink

    Stephen, it’s a BUG, or the most outlandishly arrogant behavior imagineable. It’s *MY* computer. I paid for it, not Bill Gates. I want to write in MY directory on MY computer, like I have been doing for the last THIRTY YEARS.

    I want to write in directory.
    I turn off read only.
    It turns it back on, without telling me.
    There is no reasonably documented way to fix it.

    This isn’t reasonable behavior.

    The world is more complicated than lame end users who have one spreadsheet and a word processing document, which they can keep in their own private My Documents folder.

    Some of us share directories and have database servers.

    This is way beyond ridiculous.

  •     Stephen Jones
    · June 17th, 2008  · 1:49 pm  · Permalink

    You don’t get it. If you want to write to *your* directory on *your* computer, then logon as *you*. Each user has write permission to his own directories, and not to anybody elses.

    Now, if you are logging on as yourself, and not being able to write to files in your own directory, then either the files belong to someone else, in which case you need to log on with admin rights and assign ownership, or there’s a weird bug in the system.

    If you want to share a directory then you need to put the document in shared documents (I believe it’s the all users profile) and set the appropriate permissions.

  •     Steph
    · June 17th, 2008  · 9:44 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Stephen,

    I believe you’re mis-understanding the point. You can login as admin and change the read/write permissions to a directory to read/write and windows Vista will change it back for you to read only, no matter what you do!!! This is part of how UAC works. At least once it’s decided to take over control of that folder, sometimes it lets it pass, but eventually it takes over and you can’t do anything…

  •     Stephen Jones
    · June 17th, 2008  · 10:26 pm  · Permalink

    Which particular directory are you talking about, and which files?

  •     Steph
    · June 17th, 2008  · 10:51 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Stephen,

    Basically pick any directory, say D:datawhatever. Initially it will work as you expect, you change to read/write and it will obey. Than one day, a random day, it will just change it for you in the background to read only. And no matter what you do, no matter who you’re logged in as (admin included), you suddenly won’t be able to set it to read/write ever again. The permission has just been permanently set to read only.

    This doesn’t always happen right away, it can take days, weeks, and even months. But eventually it happens.

    Turning off UAC reduces the frequency by which it happens, but it still happens.

  •     Stephen Jones
    · June 17th, 2008  · 11:04 pm  · Permalink

    I don’t use Vista so I’m extrapolating from XP, but the NT permission system is basically unchanged. The first thing is to look through the permissions? Who is the owner of the file, and what permissions does he have?

    What may be happening is that a change has been made higher up and it is being inherited by the sub-folders. One thing to bear in mind is that folders are always read only. Go to advanced security and check the permissions.

  •     Stephane Grenier
    · June 18th, 2008  · 10:17 am  · Permalink

    Hi Stephen,

    I think the issue here is that you’re extrapolating from XP. The permissions system has drastically changed in Vista!!

    In Vista you now get UAC (and other mechanisms) which can basically override your file permissions to read only. This is regardless of whether or not you’re an admin or if you’re working on a particular file or folder (in any directory on your computer).

    And it doesn’t happen consistently, it seems to allow you for some time until it eventually does take over your permissions. At which points there’s very little you can do other than turn off UAC. And sometimes that’s still not enough.

  •     Stephen Jones
    · June 18th, 2008  · 1:02 pm  · Permalink

    I’m not at all sure that there has been the change you think.

    UAC is simply the automated way of having you use the XP and 2000 ‘run as admin’ feature.

    The default in XP was that you ran as administrator. If you ran as a normal user you could run into problems when administrator privilege was required, and there was certainly no way you could access another user’s documents folder unless he had specifically given you permission.

    Vista has limited the registry keys and directories that can be accessed by a program whilst being installed or by a user. The change applies more to program files than documents and settings.

    If the read/write permissions for the contents of a directory are being changed, then it is a question of seeing what is changing them. It is not going to be the flipping of a bit. I am presuming you are talking about local files; files on a network share will also have shared permissions to deal with.

  •     Stephen Jones
    · June 18th, 2008  · 1:03 pm  · Permalink
  •     Stephane Grenier
    · June 18th, 2008  · 2:42 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Stephen,

    I really think you need to try Vista firsthand. You’ll be very surprised at what’s happening! What you’re suggesting, including the link, doesn’t always work once UAC (and some other processes) decides to take over. That’s the very issue. That’s why so many people are complaining.

    For LandlordMax it took us almost two months to fully appreciate the issue. Our first thoughts when we were contacted for technical support were pretty much the same as yours. Login as root and change the permission. Make sure the user who’s running the process owns the files.

    Then one day it also happened to our computers. Slowly but surely our Vista instances fell prey to this issue. We did eventually find a solution, but it wasn’t very easy. And it’s not very pretty for the user, but at least it consistently works.

    I understand what you’re saying about permissions and ownership. In Linux it would be chown and chmod, but it doesn’t work in Vista, at least not consistently. It’s as if you’re running as root, and run chmod 777 and Vista’s says, I don’t think so, you really meant 444. And that’s what you get. You follow with an ls -al and you see the file is set to 444. What? I just set it as root to 777! So you try again and get the same results. It completely ignores what you want to do. Btw, I’m assuming that the ownership (chown) is correctly linked to the user running the process.

    Initially it worked as expected, chmod changed the permissions accordingly. But then one random day it decided that that file/folder/whatever would forever stay as 444 (or 400 if you want), even when executed as root. No matter what you do or who you are.

    It doesn’t make sense. It’s broken. That’s why people are complaining. I understand what you’re saying, and that’s the issue. It’s not working as it’s suppose to. It’s broken!

  •     Stephen Jones
    · June 18th, 2008  · 2:51 pm  · Permalink

    My immediate thought is that something higher up in the hierarchy is getting the permissions changed and they are filtering down.

    It may well be broken (though really what that means is that nobody has succeeded in finding the explanation).

    I decided to be virtuous and run as user in XP. Outlook stopped downloading email from my ISP! Created new Outlook instance, same problem. Went back to logging in as admin, problem disappears!

  •     Stephane Grenier
    · June 18th, 2008  · 3:33 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Stephen,

    And that’s exactly what you would expect to happen in both XP and Vista. But in Vista you can be running as admin and one day it will stop working. In other words one day you’ll get this error while running as Admin. It’s not an ID-10-T. issue 🙂

    For example, my anti-virus is locked out right now on my Vista instance if I turn UAC back on. Even when I run as Admin! It won’t allow me to save the new virus definitions because it’s set to read only permission. But that’s just an application. I have a folder with some files in it that are stuck to read only permission, no matter what I do, even on Admin.

    And trust me when I say I’m not the only one experiencing this issue. This one article alone gets several thousands unique visitors each month. It’s very prevalent. If you look at Johann before I chimed in, he’s experiencing the very same issue. Most of the comments are similar, people with Admin privilege not being to change the permissions.

    When you first describe this to people who haven’t worked with Vista the reaction is the same as yours. And it should be. Unfortunately that’s not the issue, it’s a lot more complex than that. Like me, until you get bitten by the issue it really seems like an ID-10-T issue 😉

  •     Andrew
    · June 24th, 2008  · 4:25 am  · Permalink

    “So it should be. When you install it for the user anything that needs modifying should go into the users documents and settings folder.”

    I have an application which is trying to write to the

    usersdocuments folder and I am being told I cannot because it is read-only. I disabled UAC and I can now write to this folder. Seriously this is unbelievable that UAC can prevent you from writing to the folder which is created by default for a user to write to. Even though the user is an administrator they are still unable to remove the read-only check box from the usersdocuments folder with UAC enabled!

    Also in reference to UAC in general it is poor old fashioned UI design to have an OK message popup. A programmer should always assume that a user will just OK a message and so should not use this as a method to prevent execution.

    How many copies of IE have you seen where less competent users have the yahoo and google toolbars installed and do not use the features of either and do not understand how to uninstall them. Yes they all clicked OK to the message because they did not understand the consequences, the same is true of UAC.

    Essentially be definition UAC offers little in terms of protection and a lot in terms of irritation.

  •     Problems with invalid save file - Vista - Gnutella Forums
    · August 10th, 2008  · 7:14 pm  · Permalink

    […] state. How do I change? – HEXUS.community discussion forums windows vista general read only files FollowSteph.com – Windows Vista Read-Only Or try the tips from this thread… Can’t find files outside LW __________________ If you dont […]

  •     momof2
    · August 18th, 2008  · 10:49 pm  · Permalink

    If after completing all of the above and the file continues to not grant permission, like for me, try this, for some crazy reason after trying everything this worked to change the file from read only (make sure to disable uac and you have full control): when your box is checked to read only, leave it and click hidden instead, the file will dissapear but you can still access it in menu, then reclick on properties, click on read only and hidden files, apply, and ok. After hours of tooling with fisher price fp3 player song list i finally was able to see the files, this little player has been a nightmare for software, if anyone else is having problems with this gadget there is good suggestions at:https://mnteractive.com/archive/fischer-price-fp3-player-headaches-for-dad/ I’m not finshed yet, took several hours to figure out how to take the read attribute off! lol

  •     John Winquist
    · August 19th, 2008  · 1:40 am  · Permalink

    Sorry Stephen.

    I came to get on the gripe list for a short. I run a small Lighting/sound/mobile dj equipment firm in Rockford Il. We use computers to run dj/karaoke and stage lighting for outdoor and arena shows.

    Picture this- appox 10,000 people in a county fair grandstand saturday night main stge show,where two computers are in control of eveything and suddenly as if on a cue, the whole thing just dies.

    Vista and the same problem you are all having with read only writes was the death knoll. to make matters worse, we just built two computers based on the AMD780g chipset.
    Unfortunately because of MS wanting to separate cross ties with direct X 10, there will not be a patch or anything to allow XP uses to access direct x 10 language.

    This means a whole lot of current HARDWARE will not support xp, in any form, so we are stuck with vista here, so theres no turning back.Unfortunately, our older chipsets and video cards will not support the vista “UPGRADE” if you want to call it that.

    What happened to us is that the lighting ap which uses an xml file in its read write process failed to run, cause in mid show, vista suddenly decided to kick in “read only” to all its internal drives on the master rig, and we went dark in about ten seconds.

    Promoters, musicians and patrons screamed, and they still are.

    This is just nuts. uac on off makes no difference, neither did sp1. We run Norton Ghost and can reboot right before a show, but who knows when and why or what causes it to change when it does.

    All i know is it has cost me an account and a tidy sum, partly for the equipment, and ten times that for the show that failed.

    add me to the B—- list!

  •     Stephane Grenier
    · August 19th, 2008  · 12:01 pm  · Permalink

    Hi John,

    I have to admit, your experience is the most painful (and expensive) I’ve heard related to this issue!!!

    It’s amazing how such small little design decisions can have such large ramifications.

    If only there was a guaranteed way to turn it off 100% of the time. I could almost live with all the other issues, but this one is critical. It can completely shutdown your box and random times. And there’s nothing you can do about. It almost feels like the Twilight Zone episode with William Shatner (Nightmare at 20,000 feet) where the gremlin is teasing him through the window of the plane and he knows something will happen at any time, but not when.

  •     jim shirreffs
    · August 20th, 2008  · 5:05 pm  · Permalink

    If anyone ever figures out a solution to vista, over riding the admin setting files read/write, please post it. I can not install Oracle 10.1 because of the damn read only. I am currently coping the entire oracle hierarchy to an XP box hoping to be able to get XP to set the dir as read/write. Then I’ll copy back to Vista and pray it works. It is outragious that Vista over rides the System Admin, no more Vista for me ever. I’ll go to Linux, Free BSD, Mac or even old XP before I ever do Vista again. How can MS release an Operating System that the Systam Admin can not configure the way they what it configured, MS’s Vista group is a bunch of idiots.

    jim s

  •     Best-lamp
    · August 21st, 2008  · 11:23 am  · Permalink

    This is the solution!!!!!

    Just move the file you want to move read-only out to My Documents, that’s it !

    Anyway there’s some folder that can do, you can try

  •     BenODen
    · August 23rd, 2008  · 4:52 pm  · Permalink

    First off, Thanks for the gathering place for people suffering from this problem Steph. I suddenly got hit by this and hadn’t done anything but uninstalled google desktop! My permissions on all my files were 000 and I was stuck!

    Looking at the thread, I poked around and independently determined that the solution in Vistaheads above works. The first solution I looked at in the Mydigital life link looked to not apply, but vistaheads works well. I’m glad it’s a good permenant solution.

    I’d say this is a huge Bug. If you go to the Security tab on file properties, you will probably see that all of the “groups or user names” box are all greyed out, indicating that the permissions are inherited from the parent. The permissions will look like the user should have sufficient permissions for your user to write to the files, but no! If you click on the advanced button there, you’ll see where it inherits the permissions from. These don’t actually seem to apply when you’re having this issue which is a bug in my book. I don’t know why this hasn’t been stomped on LONG ago! I guess it’s not consistent, so why fix it? BAH. Thanks again. I’m glad there’s an easy solution of granting the current user full control.

  •     BenODen
    · August 23rd, 2008  · 10:04 pm  · Permalink

    Pondering this insanity, I wonder whether people who aren’t successful are fighting against this read only bit have write deny set in some parent directory… Perhaps not, since it seems to be ignoring inheritance and leaving you without any permissions you can count on….

    This is pretty unbelievable stuff.

  •     John Winquist
    · August 24th, 2008  · 6:11 pm  · Permalink

    Well after too much money lost, and too much insanity, I decided it is better to fight one’s opponent on better known ground.

    So as of this writing, I have this one back on Xp pro 32 sp3.

    Ill have to beat the apps with a whip to get em thru but at least i will have the control to do so on the fly.

    As it turns out- ATI-AMD and Realtek just released a scad of new drivers for both OS’s on the 20th for this chipset.

    those of you using ati and amd should check that if you are having any problems. there is a bunch of brand new drivers there as of this morning.

    we will see. until then Im just holding my breath for the promise of windows 7. (yeah right!)

    At this point low priced swampland is looking like a good investment by comparison.

    Thanks to all that responded. JTW

  •     John Winquist
    · August 24th, 2008  · 6:17 pm  · Permalink

    By the way to Best Lamp- we are talking over 300,000 mp3,video and xml files on 5 internal hard drives- i cant move them all to my documents.

    the problem is, it turned all of them on every drive into read only simultaniously.in about 2 seconds.

    You would figure, that if it can do a blanket change on the whole computer, then it could do a blanket UNDO as well. but it wont, and to do them one by one would take a week. even if you do, vista will change them back as soon as you close the file properties.

    nice thought if it would apply. thanks anyway.

    I appriciate it.

  •     gary
    · August 24th, 2008  · 8:26 pm  · Permalink

    I was having the same problem which is how I found this site. I wanted to change the name on a folder that contained some .mp3 files but vista wouldn’t let me. I had WinAMP running but I wasn’t playing anything from this folder. I quit WinAMP but I still wasn’t allowed to change the folder name. After a reboot, I was able to rename the folder.

  •     Ron
    · August 31st, 2008  · 9:30 pm  · Permalink

    Well, I have read and researched this topic to death. My mother had a laptop go south on her and went and purchased another…..with Vista. This is a 66 year old who is only moderately computer savvy. I feel so bad because I went with her to buy it and she is stuck to “work” on a computer she can’t save a file on and you all tell me there isn’t a damn thing I can do to change this. I talked her through turning off the UAC and it still is not letting her save a thing. Way to go Microsoft. I vow, I will never run another Microsoft operating system on a machine I own. I am preparing to switch to Linux. As soon as I complete the software I will need to accomplish what I do now, it’s adios Windoze. I can’t believe it, it is just too stupid to believe. How, in their wildest dreams could anyone think this would work and be a better sestem???????

  •     Anubis
    · September 1st, 2008  · 3:00 am  · Permalink

    It’s so stupid and frustrating problem. I’m fighting with that since January :/ No luck till now. Yesterday I’ve found THIS page, so I’m (let say) ‘happy’ that I’m not alone with this problem.
    I’ll keep my eye on your page. Hope finally we’ll find some way to find some fix or usable workaround for this.


  •     migest
    · September 1st, 2008  · 5:06 am  · Permalink

    I have manage to solve the files problems, I meesed so much that I am not sure of everything I did, anyhow the two main points were:
    1 – disable uap
    2 – download a small program that I found on the net to take ownership of the files.

    When a file or folder appears as read only, and I don’t manage to change it , I click on the mouse right button and the ‘Take Ownership’ option appears, I click and the problem is finished.

    What I suggest is that people look for ‘Take Ownership’ files on the net and install it.
    It has been working for me.

  •     Anubis
    · September 1st, 2008  · 8:21 am  · Permalink

    Is it not easier and faster just to give us a link to it? It’s not really good time for such puzzles 😉

  •     migest
    · September 1st, 2008  · 8:36 am  · Permalink

    Dear Anubis,

    I would, but I downloaded and installed it sometime ago and now I don’t have a clue from where it was.

  •     migest
    · September 1st, 2008  · 8:42 am  · Permalink
  •     migest
    · September 1st, 2008  · 8:43 am  · Permalink
  •     Anubis
    · September 1st, 2008  · 9:26 am  · Permalink

    OK.. it’s working, but… it does not solve write-protection issue 🙁 I rebooted my PC, after that drive “K” appears as Read-Only. I’ve did all ‘TakeOwn’ operations, but all directories and drive “K” remain write-proteted 🙁
    Currently it loosing write protection only when I remove drive letter, then restore it back. Then it’s again write enabled… but, it’s annoying to do the same all the time when I restart or turn on my PC. Is it a command line command which allows to remove drive letter (and restore or give another letter)?

  •     Ivan
    · September 1st, 2008  · 9:55 am  · Permalink

    First thing I did with my new notebook – turning off UAC. Because it make me insane.
    I’m the owner of the folder. And nevertheless I uncheck the checkbox, close the folder properties dialog window, and re-open it only to find the read-only checkbox selected. Running command such “attrib -R c:myfolder /D /S” does not help anywhere.

    Some software doesn’t work with such attributes of the folder. And ALL folders on my HDD, on my flashdisks is READ ONLY. Vista rules.

    P.S. Vista Basic.

  •     Anubis
    · September 1st, 2008  · 9:59 am  · Permalink

    Yeah… welcome to the club Ivan 😉

  •     Anubis
    · September 1st, 2008  · 1:00 pm  · Permalink

    OK, currently got my first temporary solution. As I said removing drive letter and assigning new one (the same in fact) removing write protection. So… according to the “diskpart” description, which you can find here:

    I wrote a BATch file and a script. BATch file looks like this:
    // — Cut here

    cmd /C
    diskpart /s script.txt

    // — Cut here
    It’s an obvious syntax I think. It opens command prompt with /C – which tells this console to close after finishing all operations, then it launching DISKPART application with /s – which forces DISKPARt to load a script file.
    OK.. now the script:
    // — Cut here
    select VOLUME J
    assign LETTER=J

    select VOLUME K
    assign LETTER=K

    select VOLUME L
    assign LETTER=L

    select VOLUME M
    assign LETTER=M
    // — Cut here

    What it does… well. It selects Volume J, removes it’s letter, then assigns the same again. After that it selects volume K, removes it’s letter and assigns the same again. And the same through all volumes 😉 It is quite crude, but… it does automatically 🙂

  •     Anubis
    · September 2nd, 2008  · 6:19 am  · Permalink

    OK… played some time with “DISKPART” application and… it seems I have better solution 😉
    Currently diskpart script looks like this:

    select disk 1
    attributes disk clear readonly

    //cut here
    (remember: hard disk numbering starting from 0 !)
    It seems that clearing disk attributes is enough to use all drives of this Hard Disk 😉
    It’s possible to clear volume attributes only:
    select volume J
    attributes volume clear readonly

    but it’s not necesary to do it separately for all drives. If I cleared DISK attributes all drives/volumes became write enabled 😉
    It’s just working!


  •     John Winquist
    · September 3rd, 2008  · 6:35 am  · Permalink

    Well in the continuing saga, Myself personally having come from a broadcast engineering background, analog and tubes time period, I admit, when it comes to code and dos, I ususally try to find an app to do it for me. You see while a lot of folks were riding the incoming technology wave back in the day, like late 80’s, I was still climbing towers and hovering over old dinosaur studio and transmitting equipment. I can build you a station with a slide rule and calculator, and someone elses’ large sum of money, but I cannot write code well.
    So this morning armed with the new right click posession tool installed, and a bit of time on my hands, while tring to make vista see a pci soundcard, decided, I had nothing else to lose, since uac had already tried to stop me in my tracks by disabling nearly every normal avenue, I tried taking posession of everything on the c drive. Even the windows folder and program files. Well it never installed the driver, or found the installed pci card either for that matter. The only thing I managed to accomplish was to have windows explorer shutdown with repeated run32dll warnings and balloon warnings the likes anyone except codewriters in Richmond have seen before. But I still have Exploder 7 working well as I am typing this. So those of you that listed the above fixes, I am going to tackle that, just as soon as norton the friendly ghost restores this thing back to where I came from. So here’s a bit of laughter for those of you that are code savvy. It was just an experiment.

    Watch what you try to posess. Lol! JTW.

  •     Steve Beaumont
    · September 11th, 2008  · 5:45 pm  · Permalink

    Well people I have solved my problem and nothing here or any other of the many sites gave me the solution – I have solved it myself. This is original work that I wish to share. I had the same symptoms, a file I cannot delete, inside a folder with a read only attribute that cannot clear (persistently shaded). I have spent over 8 hours in the last 3 days trying to fix it. I had tried everything suggested, file ownership, file permissions, disabling UAC, safe mode, file attributes in DOS and win 32, bypassing explorer, deleting via notepad application, deleting on another PC pointing to the share, I tried two different tools that delete on reboot , and various combinations of all these. I was on the verge of re-installing vista or moving the hard disk to an XP box. Then almost by accident something caught my attention – the MagicDisc utility which I had long disabled from the startup (and was no longer visible in the system tray), was still showing as a virtual CD/DVD in My Computer and the disk size was showing as 1.43GB the exact same as the ISO image I have spent so much time trying to get rid of. Simply by running MagicDisk and unmounting the image I was able to remove the troublesome file. This may solve your problem too, I hope so. If my experience may provide some clue as what your problem may be. What surprises me is that the low level driver for MagicDisk was able to keep the file mounted despite the main application being disabled and even when running in safe mode. Oh, and by the way, at one time I tried an application that was supposed to identify the person or process with a lock on the troublesome file – it could not find anything locking the file.

  •     Anubis
    · September 12th, 2008  · 7:27 am  · Permalink

    Well… if th ISO image has been mounted it’s obvious you can’t delete it. I don’t get it really how it could help me. Me and a lot of people having read-only problems with all the files:exe, com, bat, txt, tmp, log,php, html …. all. You can’t create a directory, you can’t delete even empty directory. HDD is completly read only. I’m currently using diskpart and my script to make it writable and it’s working. Btw… it’s neede to set the rights for all volumes to SYSTEM with permission set to full control.

  •     John Winquist
    · September 16th, 2008  · 2:56 am  · Permalink

    Well, I Have a workaround of sorts. I have tried everything else. Going back to Xp 32 did not do anything but put me back to where my new mobo could not run at full speed, but microsoft did something right. So i split my C drive into three partitions. The only time i need full video speed is during the run of a show.The c partition is now home to XP pro 64. the D partition is home to vista 64, and the 50gb e partition is the home for the norton ghost backups. And quite by accident, in the process of loading DX 9 into xp pro, i accidently unplugged my modem wall wart,interupting the download.
    once reset, it would not re load as it said it was already installed.So i downloaded the august sdk instead.Lo and behold, they have included some dx 10 pieces in it, enough to make some of my software fire up and run right, and now, i have all my management and non show software in xp, and nothing but the immediates in vista. this eliminated my editing problems,and since vista never sees being online, or file management, then it has not locked me out yet. two weeks, no problems yet, except uac,still wreaks havoc with the video if it kicks in but if you prepare accordingly, it will not. wish i had better news, but xp pro 64 runs almost as fast as vista at this point, and enough dx10 to make the ati/amd chipset fire accordingly. may not be the cure for you, but for now im good.

  •     Anubis
    · September 19th, 2008  · 1:15 pm  · Permalink

    Actually, leaving the problem unsolved and use something different is not a solution 😉

  •     Jurompie
    · September 19th, 2008  · 5:05 pm  · Permalink

    I’ve owned my current laptop with windows vista for one year, and only yesterday ran into this problem. I was innocently checking the properties of some directories I had ftp-ed from an old account elsewhere, because of trouble with renaming files (sounds familiar, huh?). Then unsetting the read-only property finally left me with my entire documents directory (and all its descendants) read-only and thus useless.
    Then today I found this page and sighed with relief that it wasn’t just me.

    I’ve followed the lead given by Stephen Jones (post 59, June 18 2008) and resorted to the command-line version, as follows.

    0. I am logged on with my normal user account, which is a member of the Administrator group
    1. I ran the command prompt in administrator mode
    (see description at https://www.mydigitallife.info/2007/02/17/how-to-open-elevated-command-prompt-with-administrator-privileges-in-windows-vista/)
    2. I used command “takeown” to retrieve ownership
    (see detailed description at https://www.mydigitallife.info/2007/05/25/delete-undeletable-files-in-windows-vista/)
    3. I used command “icacls” to grant myself (as member of Administrator group) full control access permission
    4. Happily renaming files again!

    For steps 2 and 3, there are shell batch scripts supposedly making it easier, but I haven’t tried those.

    Now, I am actually much better at linux than windows, so I guess I should have just cut and run straight to any old linux distribution. But I do appreciate the windows hardware support. So I’ve once again installed cygwin and found that running the native cygwin command screen (which actually gives you a windows command screen with linux-like interface) can also be done in administrator mode as described in step 1. That’s really nice!
    I’m happily using “chmod” and manipulating files again to my liking. And I still have UAC on!

    So far, I’m happy and never touching any gui-based file-attributes again. And I use my laptop only for basic home things, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed in the hope that I will manage when something like this happens again.

    Quite possibly this is the most boring and superfluous post you’ve seen on this page, but I figured that any recipe helping me out should be posted here, if only to say thanks.


  •     Steph
    · September 21st, 2008  · 12:42 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Jurompie,

    Actually it’s good to know. The more workarounds the better in case some of them get “fixed” 😉

  •     Dylan
    · September 30th, 2008  · 1:35 am  · Permalink

    Wow, What a thread, I can’t believe there isn’t a solution to this one and it has been going for over a year! Has anyone spoken to MS about it, why haven’t they fixed it in an update?

    I’ve got the same problem on a external networked harddrive (western digital mybookworld) the office computer can still write to it but my laptop can’t. Both computers say the folders are read only, I change it and Vista changes it back straight away! AHHHrrgggghhhh!

    This is BS, any body have a real solution?????

  •     Anubis
    · October 5th, 2008  · 5:09 pm  · Permalink

    No… however… my problem vanishes suddenly. I haven’t write protected HDD since Tuesday (6 days so far).

  •     Igor Leenderts
    · October 20th, 2008  · 4:56 pm  · Permalink

    MS has managed that I want to go to a mac or Linux environment. I to have the problems with files that set there self back to read only. I tried everything, UAC off, get ownership, give everybody all rights, delete complete dir´s and reinstall them etc. But the problem stays. It drives me absolutely insane, I need the computer to earn my money not to play arround with (I did that in the sinclaire and MSX times). I’m going to sleep on it but I think that, even when it cost me some extra days that I’m not productive (beside the other 5 that Vista has cost me already), to go back to XP.

    Until now I have always paid for my software, But I probably will never again in my life pay for MS software %$#$%$^^%%$^^#$#@.

    Sorry but I had to have this of my chest.

  •     Stephen Lowe
    · October 20th, 2008  · 7:26 pm  · Permalink

    I’ve had a similar degree of annoyance with not being able to manipulate files as I please (in this case in my Documents folder), particularly the same inability to permanently remove read-only restrictions.

    I managed to solve the problem via the UI by right clicking Documents, choosing the Security Tab, then opening the Advanced Dialog, then choosing the Owner tab, then Edit (below the Change Owner To block), then selecting my account name. I think the default owner was System.

  •     Rob
    · October 25th, 2008  · 5:24 am  · Permalink

    Another lost soul has been driven to this web page thanks to the stupidity of Microsoft. The motherboard of my windows XP driven computer fried last week. Unfortunately, my new computer had Vista installed. I have long dreaded the moment when I would have to switch to Vista but the nice man at the shop where I bought it said that all the problems had been ironed out. Really? He also said that support for XP would finish in 2010. Support? Microsoft? I should have realised then that he didn’t know what he was talking about.

    I have had my new computer only six days and already the UAC was driving me nuts, but yesterday was the first time I realised all my Word documents were now read only. This won’t take too long to fix, I thought. I’ll do a quick search in Google.

    The most promising solution I found asked me to change the registry so that I could take ownership of my folders, and then I could change the permissions of them. Taking ownership took six hours to complete, whilst it went through every individual file one by one. Then changing the folders and all these subfolders within it to take off the read only attribute took a further 1 1/2 hours. And the end result? All my Word documents were still read only. I am sure many of you have been through the same experience.

    More searching on the Internet, and I find this page. I am so grateful to have found this place. It has given me the answer. Without doubt, the only thing to do is turn off UAC. I know that for some even that doesn’t work. But for those it does work for, JUST TURN IT OFF.

    I know there are many people that say you should not turn off your UAC and don’t get me wrong, I do understand why it is there and I do understand some of the benefits. But it is just not a workable system. As someone mentioned earlier, it pops up so often, you don’t even read what it is asking. You just click to continue and accept. So I have turned mine off, and I have also turned off the warnings to get rid of the shield with the red cross in my tray. I will now forget about the very existence of UAC. And I would like to thank this website for guiding me towards that decision.

    Am I concerned about turning off UAC? I have Avira anti virus, Comodo firewall, Threatfire, Superantispy and for what it’s worth, Windows defender all active while I use my PC. On top of that, I run ASquared, CCleaner, Glary Utilities and ATF Cleaner whenever I feel like a bit of a tidy up. They never really find anything, the active defense seems to take care of it all. It’s like Fort Knox. Why would I need Microsoft to help me out? Their track record for security impresses no-one.

    It is my computer, in my house, used only by me and my family. If somebody thinks they can explain to me why I am wrong to turn off UAC I would love to hear what they have to say. But from my point of view. I am really glad that turning it off was the answer. It is a stupid system forced upon us by an arrogant company with too much power.

    Just turn it off.

  •     Igor Leenderts
    · October 25th, 2008  · 2:36 pm  · Permalink

    Some follow-up on my earlier message. I still have the read-only problem but found a reasonable workaround.

    But first I have to explain my work, I work on website for Joomla 1.5.x and work partly from the backend of the website. I can do this on the live website or on a localhost (copy) environment. It was in this localhost environment that the CSS en template files are constantly set to readonly. So when I changed a file and stored it to tets the result the file was set to readonly and I wouldn’t see the changes. First I was thinking that a made a mistake in the code and checked it over and over again. The real disturbing fact is, even when the file is read-only sometimes the changes are written to the file and make it almost impossible to pin-point the problem. In the end, working from the backend of Joomla on localhost is imposible!!!!.

    The solution that I found is to work with dreamweaver (I use CS3) and setup a local- and remote environment (via manage sites). When I now open a file, dreamweaver reports that it is read-only en lets you reset that. As long as you stay working from within Dreamweaver, it works perfectly. Beside that, dreamweaver gives you a lots of other very useful features.

    The problem is still there but I can ignore it and go on with my work.

    I hope that this information will help someone.

  •     Steph
    · October 27th, 2008  · 11:13 am  · Permalink

    For those of you interested, a Microsoft Engineer has posted an updated on what they plan to do for UAC on Windows 7 at https://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2008/10/08/user-account-control.aspx

  •     John Winquist
    · October 31st, 2008  · 12:37 pm  · Permalink

    In resonse to Rob’s comment and I am sure some of you have already found this out. You can turn Uac off, but as some may have found, if a powerful enough threat or the right update comes from windows, it will restore uac. The fact remains- even when you disable it in the user application box, a percentage of it still runs. So you see even though you think you have turned it off, all you did was stop the dialog promts. Uac is still running underneath it all and cannot be disabled permanently. Even with tweak uac and a few of the others, this does not work.

    UAC i can live with and have found ways of dealing with it, much to the expense and complication of an already complex system. Our newest systems now run xp64 and vista 64 and its not quite as nasty here.

    if a file needs a sudden change or modification, its done in a separate computer running xp 64, and then sent to the vista computer.

    this requires another operator and yet another computer.

    The other thing was we had to change the way we do things at our live shows and video presentations.Bottom line is we can no longer do things or make radical changes on the fly so if it cannot be accomplished either during or before the rehersal, then it runs that way for the show. Period. Our performers hate it but it does make our life easier-. but it also removes a certain amount of creativity, but such is the result of progress.

    I could live with uac, except for just one thing. When a uac prompt occurs it automatically darkens and locks the screen. This disables any of our running presentation screens and turns them pure white in the process. once approverd it takes us about 6 seconds to remedy that problem. So this means that if your a customer in the theater, you get to see several pure white screens for about 10 seconds in the middle of whatever else may be going on.

    Knowing what i know now, this is no fault of windows but actually the fact that our main software was written for xp, and the company has no intentiion of rewriting it for vista. Worst of that is, its the only software of its kind. They market this under several different brand names, but thats merely a different skin laid on top of the same engine.

    like i say we have learned to deal with it- all file manipulation is done with a networked computer running xp 64. so what originally started to be a hardware upgrade to reduce our system size and upgrade our video capability, has ended in taking more hardware to do the same or lesser quality job. the ONLY benefit we ended up with was better video quality. this mess has cost us thousands of dollars, tons of wasted time, and more agony than sitting naked on of anthill of red ants.

    i am currently a beta tester for windows 7. so far nothing is any better. i can see various improvements in the networking process, and some other things but this is beta one. for the average home user i see no change whatsoever. if you use virtualization, then there has been improvements.

    As for uac if you read the item at microsoft listed in the above post, you will se they have no plans of changing it. it is up to the third party software companies to write thier software to comply.

    as for the read ony files, well we will see. once again. the brains at MS claim this is not a problem if the 3rd party software used is written properly to work with windows security parameters.

    in the meantime all that horse hockey about vista being reverse compatible to most xp programs is just that. this means a good number of solid running apps are no longer useable in the new world.

    Rumor has it that Google is working on thier own OS…..

  •     Rob
    · November 2nd, 2008  · 5:09 am  · Permalink

    It’s not just the read only problem.

    Trying to install software, I received – Error 2203 – An internal error has occurred. (Basically, Vista denies ME permission to install a program on MY computer because IT thinks it may not be in my interest, I think). Another Vista problem with lots of forum posts and lots of “solutions”.

    To overcome it I – Turned off UAC, given all permissions to my user name, then to administrator, then to windows temp, windows installer, then I applied show hidden files and show system files to give permissions to them, did a reg cleanup and ccleaner, made sure windows installer was on, tried installing windows installer cleanup, (Microsoft’s suggested fix) but (almost laughably) I got same error message, I tried system restore and got a different error saying unable to restore. Then I found a post about the associate hierarchy stuff too.

    After applying that one, the install worked. It is unbelievable, but giving full control to a file or folder is just not enough. You need to go one layer deeper than where you do that. So right click the folder – properties – security – advanced – edit – (you are now 3 windows deep) then tick the box Replace all existing inheritable permissions on all descendents with inheritable permissions with this object. What a joke! Five hours to install a program that should’ve taken 5 minutes.

    Then I stupidly decided to network my desktop Vista PC with my wife’s laptop Vista. This is another simple task with a gazillion lost souls searching for answers and an equally large number of suggested solutions.

    Creating the “Network” was easy, I could quickly see my wife’s computer icon on my PC and mine on hers. But I couldn’t open them. I guess I didn’t have “permission”.

    Here’s a brief list of all the settings I had to check. The network is Private, Network Discovery on, File Sharing on, Public Folder Sharing on and Printer Sharing on for both PC’s. UAC off for both. Take ownership done for both. Permissions set to Full Control with the hierarchies ticked too. Both are called WORKGROUP. Firewalls and Anti Virus programs were turned off. Individual folders set to all the above too.

    After doing all that, I can still see the computer icons on each PC. I can share the printer. I cannot move folders from laptop to desktop into the public folders, I am told I do not have permission and offered to retry or cancel. I find lots of solutions to that message, none work. Those public folders are the only ones I can see, but I can’t do anything with them. Yet if I use the laptop to create a folder on the desktop, it allows me to do that and then move files to that folder from the laptop.

    Yet desktop cannot access or see any folders on laptop at all. After 5 hours on that problem, I have given up with trying to achieve a full two way network and settled for the limited access I currently have.

    I am not trying to hijack this post, which is about the read only problem. I am not looking for solutions to the above as they are (kinda) solved. I just want to say that I understand what John above has said about not really being able to turn off UAC. Vistas enhanced security stinks as far as I’m concerned.

    As for a Google OS, that’ll be interesting. I have also just started to look at Ubuntu and I am very interested in trying that. Mac also still remains an option. Boy, do I wish I had been brave enough to make the change before I bought this Vista rubbish. But I decided against it because of the extra work involved getting some of my “Windows” software to work. But as I now can’t get Windows software to work with Windows, that little problem now seems insignificant.

    I will definitely NOT be using a Microsoft OS next time round. The only variable is how much longer I can put up with Vista before I reformat.

    Thank you for allowing me to rant on this website. I must go now. I have just downloaded a Vista Recovery Disc so I can try to “repair” my wife’s laptop, which has on three occasions locked on start up, so she has had to stare at the word “welcome” and a spinning blue circle for over 30 minutes before forcing a close down. Restart then offers safety mode etc. Her PC is 6 weeks old and has about 6 programs installed.

    What’s the point of Vista?

  •     John Winquist
    · November 3rd, 2008  · 6:42 pm  · Permalink

    Attn rob

    next time that happens go into program files and find the app you are trying to install, and then the exe or icon file, right click and hit properties, and on the compatibility tab you will find “run as xp sp2” and the use administrator options box. that will save you all the permissions grief. that works for nearly all xp apps you try to run in vista, unless you run vista 64 like me, then some apps just will not work at all, especially older ones.

    that should cure it. Also bware that some regcleaners, certain brands, i mean, dont know any more about windows than microsoft does. (not a joke, but laugh anyway.)

    the less reputable ones create more problems than they solve. i had real good luck and was a beta tester for yamicsoft products, and xp manager is wonderful, they are still debugging parts of vista manager, but its 95% effective and will not damage anything unless you let it.
    reading carefully is the key.

    hope this helps.

  •     Rob
    · November 5th, 2008  · 9:32 pm  · Permalink

    John, yes that’s a good tip about the cleaners and a very helpful workaround for Vista install problems. Thank you.

    But the more I get to know Vista the less I like. Finding the apps .exe and right clicking and run as xp sp2 and admin options etc etc is not something that comes naturally is it? Vista is full of hidden paths, it’s worse than playing Monkey Island. It’s supposed to be an operating system. It’s insane isn’t it?

  •     John Winquist
    · November 5th, 2008  · 11:44 pm  · Permalink


    Insane is being polite, or at least politically correct.

    That first week we were forced to switch I was spitting out things i had to write down.

    The insanity of it all, and I post regularly on ZDnet as well, is that most of us in small business use specialized apps, and all we need an OS for is to run the basics of the computer. I should not have to argue with a security function thats trying to protect me from myself, since our main rigs never get online except for mandatory updates.If you know, a computer is never going tobe online more than once or twice a month maybe, then why cant we gwt a reduced os? I dont need networking, or printing functions, fax and all the other things built into this os. I dont need a media player, or any games.

    Just run the memory, cpu, and ide contollers and ports. thats it. and do it as fast as possible, and dont limit the amount of ram i can use. this mobo will hold 8gb of 1066 mhz ram. so thats why we run vista 64. I have an office computer for office functions.

    so i have to pay full change, for for a meager amount of needs, only to have this thing fight me every step of the way. in its first week, these two running this os, cost us nearly 10,000.$ and an account in just one day cause of this stuff. the rest got worse from there.

    thats not counting what they cost us to build.

    Ive resigned myself to inventing new descriptive adjectives, and just living with the madness.

    By the way, Ive seen the windows 7 beta. I have it, and im not seeing much difference.

  •     Steph
    · November 6th, 2008  · 1:10 pm  · Permalink

    Hi John,

    I couldn’t agree more. And you know what’s worse, they’ve decided to really try to protect the people who can’t be protected: https://www.mail-archive.com/dev-tech-crypto@lists.mozilla.org/msg04900.html At some point you almost have to let them fail. And in the example of the link I gave, honestly, what could you really do to protect that user???

    It’s to bad about Windows 7. I’m going to be sticking with XP as long as I can. The only boxes we have here with Vista are test boxes. And it’s not because we don’t want improvements on the current OS, it’s that the pain of the improvements is worse.

  •     Anton
    · November 19th, 2008  · 2:37 am  · Permalink

    I’ve been running Vista for months without issue then this week, after a Microsoft update, it sets my whole C:/ drive to Read Only and forbids me from changing it back. I’ve spent the past half-hour trying several of the fixes mentioned here and none have worked.

    This system made by idiots treats me like an idiot!

  •     Anton
    · November 19th, 2008  · 2:40 am  · Permalink

    And not only that – it did all this secretly with no prompt! UAC asks me to confirm every tiny action yet when it wants to mess up my files it does it on the sly!

  •     Dylan
    · November 19th, 2008  · 3:39 am  · Permalink

    Well, I have called Microsoft (Australia) and they seem to have no idea this problem even exists! I told the dimwit to google “Vista Read only problems” as there are thousands of people having this problem. Seems the only people not to know about it are microsoft. And I paid $80 for the phone call!

  •     DaveyB
    · November 24th, 2008  · 12:43 pm  · Permalink

    Vista is the worst piece of junk since Windows 3.0
    I’ve been working in IT for over 20 years
    To take away rights from an Admin is insane
    I’ve always had full rights to all folders & file son my PC. I can’t access some folders, files etc. Whoever thought this idiotic scheme up at MS should be taken out & shot
    I’ll never recommend Vista to anyone & have been warning everyone I know to stay away from it. I have business’ taht won’t touch it now. If an IT guy is having problems with simple file attrib why would they want to touch it?
    I’ll be going back to XP at some point
    And I won’t be upgrading to Windows 7 – or recommend ANYONE upgrade to it, unless it is a FREE upgrade to everyone that bought/upgraded to the abortion known as Vista


  •     Oleg
    · November 27th, 2008  · 4:27 am  · Permalink

    My program cannot use the files that I brought from another machine, and I cannot remove read-only. Long ago I had this problem, struggled and solver it, now forgot how (why I should remember – thought by now with all updates Vista would fix this!).
    Preparing to move to gradually move to LINUX. Should look at Mac too.

  •     John Winquist
    · December 30th, 2008  · 9:43 pm  · Permalink

    Well a few things to pass on. On Dec 4th the fine folks at MS did a beta pre release of Vista SP2. and since my last visit i did a few hardware upgrades and converted to Vista 64, and also punched up to the max ram and quad processor i could get for this motherboard.

    Knock on wood, at this point, our two troubled children are running and doing their work so well that its ALMOST getting boring around here. the other thing was taking ownership of everything possible and approving every single user listed in windows history from creator to user as a file owner.

    now it seems anyone can do anything with anything in vista- logic says this is a vacation, the other shoe will drop with januarys visa bill.

    til then ill keep you posted. as for sp2- READ THE RELEASE NOTES FIRST- if you cannot re install your entire operating system in a hurry then you may want to wait until the final comes out. those of us the run norton the friendly ghost know we can go back to where we came from in about 15 minutes.

    Im still bugging ms about read only though. Its the principle of the thing now.

  •     Steph
    · December 31st, 2008  · 2:21 pm  · Permalink

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the update on SP2. It’s too bad they haven’t really solved the read only issue. That’s probably the biggest issue.

    And what happens for people who are less computer literate? You wouldn’t believe some of the workarounds I’ve seen…

    The good news is I hear they’ve tapered it down for the new upcoming Windows version. But I won’t believe it until I see it. Here’s to hoping 🙂

  •     Psycho Joe
    · January 6th, 2009  · 7:36 pm  · Permalink

    I use windows vista, regularly.
    This read only problem is ruining my life.

    What happens when an installer forces you to install to program files?
    You install it there.

    What if that program needs an update?
    You’re outta luck, jack.

    And I’ve got windows vista hardware. I have no choice.

    So I just can’t play my favorite games anymore.
    I’m looking on ebay for a nice fast older XP system.

    I think I might build one. Cause this read only crap is making me wanna throw my computer in the trash.

    I hate microsoft. This would never have happened if Bill Gates had overseen this project.

    But he retired to a life of luxury, so I guess microsoft is just going to blow forever now.

    Such crap, from such a trusted company. I’m going to write my own OS. Screw these idiots. I’m sick of their crap.

  •     Jenn
    · January 19th, 2009  · 10:23 am  · Permalink

    “Such crap, from such a trusted company. I’m going to write my own OS. Screw these idiots. I’m sick of their crap.”

    Don’t write your own OS start using one that allows YOU to do what YOU want…it’s called… any version of Linux 🙂

  •     Kevin
    · February 3rd, 2009  · 2:25 pm  · Permalink

    Get this – I’ve got Trojan.Brisv.A!inf file residing in a directory. Norton picked it up, but can’t remove it. I can’t remove it – no matter what I do, what permission, ownership, etc. Yes, fortunately I haven’t run it, but I need to delete this thing off my computer and freaking Vista WILL NOT let me do it. I’ve tried every solution above, etc….forget it, that file is permanently on my computer now.

  •     Kevin
    · February 3rd, 2009  · 2:38 pm  · Permalink

    Hallelujah! I found something that actually WORKED!


    Virus file is now gone…

  •     Wino
    · February 16th, 2009  · 5:15 pm  · Permalink

    I’m having this problem again… but wait, wasn’t it since windows XP??? yes, it was… and I remember had read some web site saying this bug has been fixed… I can see it’s not!

    Trying to remember how did I fix it (somebody post a solution in a blog, but don’t remember the site, neither the author, sorry about it). We can play with the command to get to a solution

    1) open the CMD
    2 – optional) write attrib /? (you’ll find help about this command if you do)
    3) do somethig like
    C:Usersxxx>attrib -R +A “MI_FILE_WITH_FULL_PATH” /S /D

    See how the C:Usersxxx> is the file prompt and the file MUST BE with quotes and in it’s full path to avoid a break if any space exists

    Hope this helps

  •     Saul
    · July 14th, 2009  · 12:08 pm  · Permalink

    this last solution didn’t work for me… )-;

  •     Steph
    · July 14th, 2009  · 12:38 pm  · Permalink

    I’ve yet to see a solution that works 100% of the time offered by Microsoft either. If someone comes across such a solution, please let us know!

  •     Anubis
    · July 14th, 2009  · 1:06 pm  · Permalink

    I’ve found a solution which works for 99%. Sometimes (really rarely) HDD became RO. I’ve set user rights for every partition for “EVERYONE” ONLY (this is important!!! Only one entry!!!). I’ve noticed that if there are some other entries, like Administrators group, then ReadOnly issue appears often.

    However if my HDD becames RO I’m using my script mentioned above https://www.followsteph.com/2007/06/17/windows-vista-read-only/#comment-64142
    [For those who do not like to check this link]
    file: clear.bat
    // — Cut here – start
    cmd /C
    diskpart /s clear_readonly_scr.txt
    // — – Cut here – end

    // — Cut here – start
    select disk 1
    attributes disk clear readonly
    select volume J
    attributes volume clear readonly
    select volume K
    attributes volume clear readonly
    // — – Cut here – end

    It really working.


  •     Liev
    · August 24th, 2009  · 10:54 am  · Permalink

    I’ve had this issue come up only in the last week. Its very frustrating. I have installed Windows 7 on another partition and it seems this has caused the problem? Not immediately though, as it is only since the automatic update at the end of July for Vista downloaded and installed itself that I’ve has this ‘read-only’ issue pop up. Indeed changing it doesn’t work. I’m convinced it has something to do with running another version of Windows on your computer somewhere that has the updates up in air and go haywire….
    Thanks for the suggestions on fixing using UAC. I’ll give it a try.

  •     pepe
    · November 4th, 2009  · 2:44 pm  · Permalink

    I can’t believe this thread has been going on for over two years!

    I ALSO can’t believe that Microsoft hasn’t bothered looking at this issue! After two SPs and a whole new Windows release!

    I purchased Windows 7 a coouple of days ago, and just met with this “feature”. I’ve tried everything plus some other stuff I’ve found on the net. Nothing works. I’m considering an upgrade to XP.

    As somebody said, I can’t believe a system made by idiots is treating me like an idiot.

  •     Anubis
    · November 4th, 2009  · 4:25 pm  · Permalink

    I’m really surprised you have this issue at Win7 as well. After installing Win7 my problem gone for good (as I think). Since 20 of October (I’ve installed new Win at this date) haven’t problems with my readonly 2nd disk 😉

  •     mark
    · January 3rd, 2010  · 5:41 am  · Permalink

    Well, i have the ultimate idiot move by microsoft. I have the same read only problem, i changed all the permissions on the NTSF drive and other folders, and I paid for a “program” (downloaded from the internet) and it simply won’t install, and it’s windows 7! I can’t even upgrade!!! Microsoft made an awful OS, made a new one, got me to pay for it but can’t use it. Their business model is brilliantly evil.

  •     help me lol?
    · June 6th, 2010  · 12:29 pm  · Permalink

    it says check running directory i check it then wen i clicl my game it says it again plsss help

    i play trickster online

  •     Chris
    · January 11th, 2011  · 5:36 pm  · Permalink

    My wife’s computer came with Vista installed and I’ve never been able to get over this “feature”!

    I am adding my own comment and solution to this problem to this thread – adding a manifest / assembly to the executable.

    I have been developing a program and tried to run it on my wife’s computer. Whenever it tried to write to the database, I would get an error.

    My solution was to quite easily add a manifest. In Perl, there is a manifest module (https://search.cpan.org/search?query=Win32%3A%3AExe%3A%3AManifest)

    If you do not have Perl, go to https://win32.perl.org or https://www.activestate.com

    Save the below script into a text file named “gen_manifest.pl” and update the three variables at the top.

    * program_filepath – the full path to your exe file

    * assembly_name – the program’s name (no spaces allowed)

    * execution_level – this is the key variable to set to allow Admin access to your exe. (set to ‘highestAvailable’ first and then to ‘requireAdministrator’ if you need higher access)

    Now run the program as follows:

    C:>perl gen_manifest.pl

    Here is my script:

    ### START SCRIPT ###
    use strict;
    use warnings;

    use Win32::Exe;

    my $program_filepath = ‘program.exe’;

    # no spaces in assembly name
    my $assembly_name = ‘ProgramName’;

    my $execution_level = ‘highestAvailable’;

    my $exe = Win32::Exe->new($program_filepath);
    my $manifest = $exe->get_manifest if $exe->has_manifest;

    # Get themed controls

    # Change name

    # Require Admin permissions

    # write it out
    ### END SCRIPT ###

    This updates my exe with a proper manifest. Now the program runs correctly and writes with no problems on Vista.

    Hopefully this will work for some of you others who are grappling with this issue.

  •     Anubis
    · January 24th, 2011  · 5:56 am  · Permalink

    Hah… the longest thread ever ;).
    Btw… if you still have this problem at Win7 then move data away (backup them) from the problematic partition and format it. Then move all data back. Your problems will gone with the wind… 😉
    I had this issue once after reinstalling win7 when I’ve set the UserName, pc machine name etc. to the same values as before. Then I had to reformat 2 partitions at the second hdd.

  •     Stephane Grenier
    · January 24th, 2011  · 11:28 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Anubis,

    It is indeed a very long thread! Especially when you consider it’s been around since 2007 and the problem still exists in the new OS!

    Hopefully they’ll eventually come to a solution. The best idea would be to just kill UAC. I personally turn it off. It’s just not working as expected and causing too much grief. Great idea but the reality is that it doesn’t work in the real world. It’s too bad.

  •     David
    · January 25th, 2011  · 7:26 pm  · Permalink

    Personally I think the worst idea is to kill the UAC.
    Reading thru forums I see 100’s of people with really weird bugs & the one thing they have in common is, they have disabled the UAC.

    Think about it. Microsoft was pushed by the world to do something to prevent PC’s from being inadvertantly running rootkit viruses & other malware. UAC was their big step in helping users to lock down their system.

    In Vista & Win 7 they assume that UAC will be there. How much testing do you think they do with this component turned off? I’m guessing ZERO.

    Heaps of security & authentication API’s rely on this interface. If it is not there & the layers above do not handle the error correctly you will get all sorts of seemingly random outcomes that are extremely hard to remedy.

    I refer back to my earlier post in 07. Learn how security works. & maybe look at your device drivers. it is highly likely this R/O issue with disk is a result of some incompatility with the Disk Driver s/w. (either the vendors or Microsoft)

    NB: Interesting fact. In the 1st 8 weeks after shipping Vista, 48% of all Vista bluescreens worldwide were caused by a bug in NVidia’s Graphics driver. (which when they were told they fixed promptly)
    So it would be very interesting to see if most people in thie fourm were running disks from a specific vendor.

  •     PCM
    · April 24th, 2011  · 9:04 pm  · Permalink

    >I refer back to my earlier post in 07. Learn how security works. & maybe look at your device drivers. it is highly likely this R/O issue with disk is a result of some incompatility with the Disk Driver s/w. (either the vendors or Microsoft)


    I shouldn’t have to be an IT professional to use my own computer. Nor should the moms, wives, teenagers, and all others mentioned above and having this problem. Before this happened, I didn’t need to know how “security” worked. Security worked by having a firewall, anti-virus software, and knowing not to download crap to your computer not by preventing my husband from accessing the Quicken data file in his Application Data folder or keeping Norton from updating its files. How many people even know what a device driver is or how to look at it? And what are we supposed to be looking for? People should not need IT help to save a file PERIOD!

  •     robertoferre
    · April 26th, 2011  · 2:46 pm  · Permalink

    I tried to submit a comment previously, yet it has not shown up. I believe your spam filter may be broken?

  •     Steph
    · April 27th, 2011  · 3:38 pm  · Permalink

    Hi David,

    You may be surprised to hear that a lot of people turn UAC off. This is especially common in the development community because it really hampers what you can do. You’ll also find that it doesn’t work very well with most server type of applications such as databases, web servers, etc.

    As well, Microsoft has also realized how many issues there were and between Vista and Windows 7 they really scaled back UAC. In other words, they really toned down on how intrusive and how much checking it does.

    And I disagree that turning off UAC will cause bugs. I can assure you they test their system’s without it. I myself have turned off UAC and have never had any issues. Issues can come from all kinds of random things. If you research issues due to UAC, you will actually find the list to be much much much larger. For example, just look at all the issues people have experienced in the comments in this thread alone!!

  •     Steph
    · April 27th, 2011  · 3:42 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Robertoferre,

    I just tried to look it up in the spam comments and couldn’t find anything under your name. If you can please let me know what keywords to look for I can see what I can find.

  •     Kaitlin Ayyad
    · October 14th, 2011  · 2:37 pm  · Permalink

    Useful info. Lucky me I discovered your web site accidentally, and I am surprised why this twist of fate didn’t came about in advance! I bookmarked it.

  •     Laura
    · November 3rd, 2012  · 6:07 pm  · Permalink

    Crap like this is why I switched to Linux. If there were less security holes in Windows – It possible for Windows machines can be hacked before Windows has even finished installing – they wouldn’t have to come up with ridiculous “solutions” like this.

    Linux is far more stable, far more secure, far less buggy -and- it’s free. Most of the software is free too, and it’s all open-source which means you get bug fixes, patches etc if they are needed so much faster than you do on Windows. It can be five or six weeks before a hole in Windows is plugged and the update sent out, and we all know how many patches Windows users have to install on a daily basis. For a good three or four weeks of that, hackers and virus makers are aware of those holes and are busy working to exploit them. With Linux, it can be as little as a day or two and it’s plugged, if there’s anything there to plug in the first place.

    It takes a little getting used to for some, but most new things do and it’s definitely worth the time to learn. The only slight downside is that some software isn’t available yet on Linux but there are plenty of free alternatives that are just as effective. Some Windows software can be used through a program called WINE too. I’ve had Photoshop working perfectly on it for months, for example.

  •     anne fraser
    · May 5th, 2013  · 5:14 pm  · Permalink

    hi i am trying to log on to my pc and the user name comes up and then i put in my password and a red cross and message invalid handle keeps coming up and wont let me on my pc, ive tried all the safe mode etc but still cant get on it.

  •     followsteph
    · June 21st, 2013  · 9:35 pm  · Permalink

    I think you’re dealing with another completely different issue. Most likely you’re entering in the wrong passwords. I know this sounds silly, but do check if your caps locks are set to on.

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