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Locking down a data structure

By BenWagg ·
I have a data structure that I want to keep pinned in place regardless of whether users drag & drop files or attempt to move folders.

This is on Win2k server, an NTFS partition, with an organized, navigable datafolder-tree like:
.DirA
> SubA1
> SubA2
> SubA3
.DirB
> SubB1
> SubB2
> SubB3
.DirC
> SubC1
> SubC2
> SubC3

The SUE (stupid user error) I am facing is that data is "disappears" from network directories and users accuse the server of spontaneously moving their files. Thesaps on my network - pardon me, the <i>esteemed colleagues</i> on my network are left-click dragging folders and either don't notice they did it (???) or they don't understand that other people then can't find the files.

When I go looking for the "missing" files, I generally find:
.DirA
> SubA1
>> DirB
>>> SubB1
>>> SubB2
>>> SubB3
> SubA2
> SubA3
.DirC
> SubC1
> SubC2
> SubC3

Despite my telling them multiple times, they have not picked up on the fact that clicking the Cancelbutton in the flying-folders dialog _does not_ undo the damage that has been done to the organization of the tree... Unfortunately, they must have write access to the folders in order to edit the files.

I have tried to at least anchor the directories with a single file that has permissions set to Deny, but if a user has write-access at the folder level, and drag-drops the folder somewhere it shouldn't be, then, the file's Deny permissions don't matter. They are only checked if the user triesto open the file, not if it gets moved along with the folders the user has write-access to.

This is just something that annoys the heck out of me when it pops up, because the IS department gets blamed when people can't find the files they worked on last week...

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Locking down a data structure

by timwalsh In reply to Locking down a data struc ...

Unfortunately, your problem is NOT uncommon.

Unfortunately, there is no way from within Windows that I have found to prevent this behavior. Much of this has to do with the way Windows approaches the move operation. In Windows, a move operation is actually a combination of a copy (copy to new location), and a delete (delete from old location) operation. When I first started looking for a solution to this problem, I somewhat logically though that: "Gee, I'll just set an explicit Deny Delete on the folder." This will work if you attempt to move a folder from one volume/ partition to another volume/partition (because the file/folder is being physically moved from one part of the disk to another).

The problem is that "moving" a file/folder from one place to another within the same volume/ partition is not a true "move" operation. The files (folder are only logical groupings of files; they don't physically exist on the disk) don't physically move. Only the directory tree changes. Therefore, the explicit Deny Delete doesn't apply.

The only thing I've found that works is the continued training of users, the occasional beration of repeat offenders, and the monthly public publication of the worst offenders for the month (yes, sometimes public humiliation on a regular basis can work wonders -- unless your worst offender happens to be the boss).

It will be interesting to see if anyone else has found a novel soultuion to this problem.

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Locking down a data structure

by BenWagg In reply to Locking down a data struc ...

I don't like your answer, Tim - don't like it atoll... it was too much like what I already strongly suspected (darnit). Well, let's leave this open a while and see if it draws in someone comes who knows something that will work in spite of Windows.Thanks, Ben.

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