Win "Access Denied Write Protected" Caused by Simple File Sharing Feature

As with many computer-related symptoms, the long-lived expression "Access Denied" has multiple causes for Windows users. A review of several alternative and equally plausible causes did not fit my scenario, hence this post.

What was puzzling about this incident was that it occurred while a large backup was being restored. The backup originated on a RAID subsystem. The controller card and drives were moved to a system after a machine had been put out to pasture. The restore using a simply copy-and-paste operation was moving along nicely until certain files and folders exhibited the "Access Denied" messages shown in the screenshots.

To solve this version of the problem in Windows XP at least, two Microsoft tips from the Microsoft.com maze are needed.

The first tip disables Simple File Sharing. Simple File Sharing does not allow for changing ownership of files and folders, which is essential to the cure. It's obvious that Simple File Sharing is in effect if the Windows Explorer does not have a Security tab to allow for changing ownership. XP Pro is needed in order to disable Simple File Sharing.

The second Microsoft tip, which is only helpful after Simple File Sharing has been disabled for the system, is to change ownership to a local administrator account. Once this has been done, file attributes can be changed using the ATTRIB command. (While a single recursion through all subfolders should reset everything, this didn't seem to work if certain source directories had a mix of different owners and permissions; this was not investigated further).

An unrelated, but possibly useful note, is that restores of this kind, that do not use native Windows backup file formats, work best with Robocopy, which will restore folder and file timestamps as originally recorded. Lastly, it should be noted that Robocopy may not copy files such as PST that are thought by it to be in use.

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