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The problem

Properly securing the
file system on your workstation or on a network server may seem like an easy
enough task. You merely set permissions on a file or folder, granting the
rights you want users to have, and you’re done. Unfortunately, it’s not always
that easy. You may go through the effort of setting up groups, creating shares,
and granting rights, only to discover that users can access things you didn’t

The cause

The most common cause
of permissions problems arises from conflicting permissions. As you get more
groups and users on your network, and you set permissions on files and folders,
you may find that permissions granted to one group or user conflict with those
set by another group or user. The more groups you have, along with multiple
shares to manage, the greater your chances of having conflicting rights. This
can cause unexpected results.

The solution

To help sort out the confusion, Microsoft created a feature
in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 known as Effective Permissions. You can
use this feature to quickly and easily determine what a user’s or group’s actual permissions are to a resource.
This can help you sort out conflicts and determine why a user can or can’t
access a resource. Here’s how you make it work:

  1. In Windows Explorer, right-click the desired folder and select
  2. When the Properties window appears, click the Security tab and then
    click Advanced.
  3. On the Advanced Security Settings screen, click the Effective
    Permissions tab.
  4. Use the Select button to choose the user or group for which you
    want to view effective permissions.

In the Effective Permissions box at the
bottom of the Advanced Security Settings window, you’ll see the effective
permissions for the object. The results shown are based on the permissions
granted to the user account as well as the permissions granted to any groups
the user is a member of. It also takes into account the permissions received
from the parent object.

Additional tips

The Effective Permissions box displays permissions only for
the specific object. You can’t make any changes to the permissions from this
window. You must do that either on the Security tab in properties or on the Permissions
tab in the Advanced Security Settings window. In order to troubleshoot a
permission that doesn’t seem to be working correctly, start by checking the
effective permissions for the specific object itself. Then check all of the
groups that the object belongs to. You may also want to check any parent
folders to see what rights exist at that level; these rights can be inherited.

Administrators, have you encountered difficulties in troubleshooting
permissions problems? Of course you have! Effective Permissions provides you
with a quick and easy way to help troubleshoot resource access.