XP home network permission funkiness

Something’s gone wacky with permissions on my XP home network. My main computer, which is where I download drivers, patches, and whatnot, is suddenly refusing to share certain files, even though they’re in the Shared Documents folder. If I try to copy a file from another computer, I get an obnoxious error message:

“Cannot copy <filename>: Access is denied. Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected, and that the file is not currently in use.”

What’s strange is that I can grab older files in the Shared Documents folder just fine. Conversely, I can put files onto the other computers from the main computer. But at some point, the main computer just decided that no one else could reach in and take a file from the Shared Documents folder. WTF?

I’ve got the LAN firewall turned off (I’m behind a router), I haven’t done anything funky with persmissions, and it’s a pretty vanilla LAN setup as far as I can tell.

Anyone have any ideas how I can open file sharing back up?


Share the entire drive versus relying on the shared folders. My understanding is that the shared folders really aren’t for network sharing, they’re for multi-user on the same PC sharing. I struggled with intermmittent file availability across a peer-to-peer XP network, found out with some reading that it’s inherently unreliable, and ended up going client-server. However, shared drives across the network have remained stable over time for file availability as opposed to running shared applications.

Yeah, it’s extremely unreliable. For instance, at work today I dropped the WoW 1.12 patch into my shared folder. Two of my teammates grabbed it without problems, while another guy kept getting the error that Tom described. Made no sense whatsoever.

If your box is XP professional, you can try setting the permissions for your shared folder to be open to anything and everything.

Windows networking is flaky. It’s function is to permit IT departments to justify themselves, after all, so using it for home networking is like building sandcastles in a hurricane.

I have the same thing setup as you ( or sounds the same ), but I know that there are certain classes of problems that mean completely starting over. I’ve had luck with winsockfix - try running it on both server and client, as a last resort.

Perhaps make a new shared folder elsewhere on the machine, copy all the files into it, see if it works better.

Compare the NTFS permissions on the files between teh ones you can get and the ones you can’t. File->properties->security.

Ah, Jason seems to be onto something. For the older files, in the ‘Group or User names’, there’s an entry for ‘Everyone’. This seems to be the sticking point. Because for the newer files, there is no such entry.

So the next question is this: How do I tell the computer to set up an ‘Everyone’ entry for files I want shared? And any clue how this might have myteriously gone away at some point?


Can you do that in XP home?

I bet you applied some patch to or service pack to the machine where you share the files and it changed the default permissions to something safer, like not making the file available to everyone by default.

Everyone is one of the default security groups. You should be able to click add on the same screen Jason suggested. Type in Everyone and it ought to find it.


You should be able to set the permissions of the entire Share at the Folder\Directory level.

In case this has been “Modified” by a patch (God Bless M$):
Open C:, Tools, Folder Options, View, Turn OFF Simple File Sharing if it’s on.

Then go to the Shared Documents Folder, right click, Properties, Security, add “Everyone” with the proper rights and permissions.

You might want to make this read-only for security sake and add an “Incoming” folder that has full permissions if you want to send a file from another computer to yours.
This will limit the amount of damage a “Nasty” can do if it gets in your network.

If you try to increase the permissions on the incoming share, it might give you a message about inheriting the properties of the main folder. Tell it “No” and customize the permissions of the folder based on need.

This might help:

Good luck, hope that helps,


Windows file sharing using the most restrictive intersection of the share permissions and the file permissions. As FIDGAF(?) indicates, make sure the share itself is set to everyone/read only, then make sure all the files have everyone/read.

As to why the file sometimes have everyone and sometime don’t, when you create a file, it gets a copy of permission set of the directory you created it in. The permission set on the file doesn’t change on that machine from then on, ever, unless you edit it by poking around in the security menu on a containing directory (security/advanced/replace permissions on child objects - recommend against this unless you really understand it) or on the file itself.

So the net is that if you create a file in a directory that has everyone/read on it, it gets everyone/read. If not, it doesn’t.

Yeah, I forgot about that…
If you create a file in a directory that has permissions for say user A to Read and User B to Read and Write and then drop it in a shared folder, Those permissions will still be in effect unless you edit them.