Permissions and Security

Setting the permissions for a file or folder allows you to permit some users to read or change your files while restricting access to others. Problem is, if you rely on Windows 7’s defaults, anyone will be able to read your files and no one will be able to change them.

Note that permissions can only be used on files and folders stored on NTFS volumes (explained in Chapter 5). Other filesystems, typically used these days on USB flash drives, camera memory cards, CDs and DVDs, and older external hard disks, have no intrinsic security features.

Set Permissions for a File or Folder

Shockingly, Microsoft actually took default permissions seriously when designing Windows 7. In Windows XP and earlier versions, everyone with an account on your PC had access to every file on your hard disk by default; if you wanted to protect your private data, you had to take matters into your own hands. In Windows 7, defaults are set to protect your private data from other users, and to protect Windows operating system files from everybody.


Of course, no progress is without its price. Some of Windows 7’s defaults are so restrictive that they can break certain software not expressly written for Windows 7 or Vista, as described in Control User Account Control.

To give someone access to your files, or to further restrict access, you’ll need to mess with his or her permissions. Of course, it gets a little confusing when you realize that there are two different Permissions windows for ...

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