Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Resolving File and Folder Issues in Windows XP

Resolving File and Folder Issues
Three different types of files users might utilize:

  1. Local – files stored on the local computer.
  2. Shared – files used through a network share.
  3. Offline – files stored on the user's laptop when they leave their place of business. For example, when working a home. Offline files are only available in Windows XP Professional.
Each file has a name extension. For example, document.doc, tells you this is a work document. .xls is used by Excel. These name extensions go along with applications. So, if a user is having trouble opening up a file, you might want to look at the name extension.


    Go to the Tools menu in Explorer or My Computer, then Folder Options. Look at File Types. For example, if a user is having trouble opening a Word document, go here and check the file extension for the Microsoft Word document, and make sure it is a DOC type of extension. If not, click on change, and choose the program that should be associated with the DOC type, which is WORD in this case.
    The way you would know this file extension is the problem, is that the user will probably be able to open the application, and then open the file. But, the user is unable to open the application with the file.


    Each file and folder has its own attributes. It can be HIDDEN, it can be READ only and unable to be deleted. So, this is a potential troubleshooting area.

    To demonstrate, go to MY DOCUMENTS. Pretend there is a folder with the extension .MSI. Right click on the file. Select PROPERTIES. At the bottom of the GENERAL tab, you have attributes that you can assign to this file. If you click on HIDDEN, and then APPLY, you see that the folder starts to go away. The reason it hasn't completely gone away is the screen hasn't been refreshed. Press F5 to refresh the screen, and the folder goes completely away. The user would not be able to find this file, if the FOLDER OPTIONS are set to DO NOT SHOW HIDDEN FILES AND FOLDERS. That file is now a hidden file based on its attributes.


    File compression is using software to take out the redundant elements in a file. For example, if you look at a printed page, the most redundant element is a blank space. There are also words that are redundant, such as 'the' and 'a'.

    Compression reduces performance. Files that are compressed are not used in that mode. The file has to decompress, use the file, then the file has to be recompressed, again. This takes up resources.

    Never compress the Operating System files. This could be a troubleshooting issue. If the system is not performing adequately, it could be the user has decided to compress some files, and compressed some operating system files in the process.

    Don't compress files that are just text. There is no need to. The files you need to compress are audio and picture files. But, you need to make sure the application isn't already compressing the file.

    Don't compress files that are used on a daily basis, because of the resources compression uses. Also, you cannot compress ENCRYPTED files.

    Go to a folder. Right click Properties/General tab/Advanced/Compress contents to save disk space/click OK/click OK. A dialog box pops up to ask you if you want to Apply changes to this folder only, or, to Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files.

    It is best to compress the folder, not the individual file. If you compress the folder, the files that go into the folder are automatically compressed.

    How can you tell the folder is compressed? It looks the same as the other folders. Go to TOOLS/FOLDER OPTIONS/VIEW/Scroll down and click 'Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color'/ click OK. The folder shows up in BLUE. BLUE means compressed.
    Files and Folders moved within the same NTFS volume, retain the compression attribute in the new location.
    Files and Folders copied within the same NTFS volume, lose the compression attribute in the new location, and take on the parent folder compression attribute.
    Files and Folders moved or copied to a different volume, take on the compression attribute of the parent folder.
    Windows XP has a feature called compressed zipped folders. You can create these folders on a FAT, FAT32, or NTFS volume, including floppy disks. Explorer/File/New/Compressed Zipped Folder


    Encryption is very important in today's world. If you lose your laptop, and someone gets access to your hard drive, all they have to do is reinstall the operating system, and make themselves the administrator. They would have access to everything on your computer. Or, they could remove the hard drive and install it into something else to read the data.

    EFS is a service that is available in Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Servers, Windows 2003 Servers, and Windows 2008 Servers.. EFS encrypts files and folders so that only users with the correct name and password can gain access to that information. What if you have something encrypted, and your key to it is corrupted, you need a backup. The system has a Recovery Agent that creates another key to decrypt the encryption.

    Compressed files cannot be encrypted.

    Go to your folder. Right click the folder/Properties/General tab/Advanced Attributes/Click on 'Encrypt contents to secure data'/ click OK/click OK again. The contents are encrypted. You can tell because the folder shows up in GREEN. This indicates it is encrypted.

NTFS File Permission

Enables Users to :
ReadView, Open, right-click the file, and click on Properties to view its attributes and ownership

Read and ExecuteAll tasks described above, plus, double click on the file to open the app that can be used to VIEW it

WriteAll tasks described above, plus, CHANGE the file and its attributes.

ModifyAll tasks described above, plus, DELETE the file

Full ControlAll tasks described above, plus, take OWNERSHIP and thereby give other users permission for the file

There are two different types of NTFS permissions: File permissions and folder permissions. The default permissions for users is READ AND EXECUTE.

List Folder contents

View the folder, click on the folder and VIEW the files and folders with in the folder.
ReadAll tasks described above, plus, right click the folder VIEW its permissions, attributes, and ownership

Read and ExecuteAll tasks described above, plus, double click on the folders within the folder to view their contents (traverse the folders, i.e., go to folders within folders)

WriteAll tasks described above, plus, create new files and folders within the folder, CHANGE the folders attributes

ModifyAll tasks described above, plus, DELETE the folder

Full ControlAll tasks described above, plus, take ownership of the folder and thereby give other users permissions for the folder

Most of the time, permissions are assigned to a user, based on group membership. So if a user is assigned to multiple groups and each group has different permissions, how do we determine the actual effective NTFS Permissions?
Windows XP has something called Effective Permissions, allows us to determine what the system is combining from all of the individual permissions a user has, as well as all of the groups the user is a member of.
  • Any USER will have Read & Execute, List Folder Contents, and Read Permissions. Basically, they can double click on the folder and view the folder and its permissions, nothing else
  • Executives have the MODIFY permission. They have Write permission so they can change a folder, and they have the Modify permission, so they can also delete.
Click on the ADVANCED button, and select the EFFECTIVE PERMISSIONS tab. Select USERS. We see the Effective permissions for the USERS. It breaks out all of the permissions so we can tell what permissions the USERS group has. If you select the EXECUTIVES group, you will see the EXECUTIVES group has even more permissions.

Go to MY COMPUTER/Click on MANAGE/LOCAL USERS AND GROUPS. For an example, we will look at a particular user, jbrown, double click on jbrown, click on MEMBER OF. Notice jbrown is a member of the EXECUTIVES group and the USERS group. If this user is a member of the Active Directory, and the effective permissions can be calculated, you can expect the following to happen.
Since the effective permissions for the EXECUTIVES is greater than the effective permissions for the USERS, and jbrown is a member of both of those groups, the permissions are combined.

    The true effective permissions are a combination of the NTFS permissions and the SHARED permissions.

    If the NTFS permissions are effective locally, but the resource is not effective through the network, the user cannot get to it anyway. The SHARE opens up a gateway to see resources from another computer. When you set up SHARES, you open up a big door. The network Administrator is responsible for setting up permissions.

    For Windows XP, there is SIMPLE sharing (a view setting) and there is CLASSIC sharing.
    Right click on your FOLDER/PROPERTIES/SHARING. Simple File Sharing is typically done in a home setting. Any folders the user wants to SHARE, would be put into the SHARED DOCUMENTS folder. If you try to share anything else, the system will warn you 'Are you sure you know what you are doing?' There is no security tab. You can't control the PERMISSIONS, you only have the default NTFS permissions.

    Go to TOOLS/FOLDER OPTIONS/VIEW/Uncheck USE SIMPLE FILE SHARING/CLICK OK. Now click on the FOLDER/PROPERTIES/SHARING. Now you see an entirely different dialog box. Click on SHARE THIS FOLDER. You can allocate a Share name and put in a Comment to indicate what the resource is used for. You can also indicate a User limit for the resource. For example, if the resource takes up too much of the processor or memory, we can limit the number of users who can access the resource at the same time. We can also control SHARE PERMISSIONS from here. Click on OK and you will see a hand underneath the folder, if it is shared.


    Windows Explorer/Tools/Map a Network Drive

    The System will ask you for a user name and password.

    There is also a tool called Shadow Copy. Right click the file/click Properties/click Previous version tab/. Shadow Copy is a great tool to retrieve a lost file without having to ask the Network Administrator to restore the file from a backup tape.


    TOOLS/FOLDER OPTIONS/OFFLINE FILES/ENABLE OFFLINE FILES allows the computer to take advantage of OFFLINE FILES that the administrator has cached. Unless the files are allowed to be cached, this part will not work.

    The options for OFFLINE FILES are:

  • Enable Offline Files
  • Synchronize all offline files when logging on
  • Synchronize all offline files before logging off
  • Display a reminder
  • Create an Offline Files shortcut on the desktop
  • Encrypt offline files to secure data
You can also set the amount of disk space needed for offline files.

Click ADVANCED Settings. You can:
When a network connection is lost
  • Notify me and begin working offline
  • Never allow my computer to go offline


    The first time a user tries to access a resource the computer takes a certain amount of time to bring the resource to the user. After the resource is local, it can be cached. It speeds up the access to the resource the next time.

    Resources that are on the server have to be set for caching or pinning by the Network Administrator. Click on the folder/PROPERTIES/SHARING tab/Click on the CACHING button. You can set manual or automatic caching. You have to have Administrator rights for the particular share to set caching.


    Network Administrators can use Group Policy to use Folder Redirection and redirect the My Documents, Start Menu, Desktop, and Application data of users. This protects the data. It can be stored on the server where it can be backed up.

    In addition, the desktop settings can be standardized through Folder Redirection.

No comments:

Post a Comment

"Comment As:" anonymous if you would rather not sign into an account!