Resetting rights to system files

When an administrator attempts to secure the Microsoft Windows NT system by changing the default Windows NT file system (NTFS) file and directory permissions set up on the and/or the default system directories and subdirectories, some functions, such as users' ability to log on to the network, may be impaired. In extreme cases, the system may display a blue screen error message on startup.

Reinstall Windows NT into a separate directory. This will allow you to restore your operating system files %systemroot% from a backup tape that contains the correct default permissions to allow the operating system to boot and function normally. After Windows NT is restored and restarted, you can delete the parallel copy of Windows NT.


Use the NT v4.0 Resource Kit utility called FIXACLS.EXE.

FIXACLS.EXE can be found in the NT v4.0 Resource Kit Supplement Two.

When system permissions have been lost, FIXACLS can restore default permissions to the system files. For example, the Windows NT convert command only converts your file system to NTFS. It does not set the default permissions after the conversion. FIXACLS fills this gap.

To use FIXACLS, your user account needs "Backup files and folders" privileges on the computer where the files and folders are stored, and you must be logged on as a member of the Administrators group for the domain or computer where your user account is defined. Otherwise, "Access denied" error messages may occur.

FIXACLS sets the permissions to the values defined in %SYSTEMROOT%\INF\PERMS.INF. Therefore, access to this file is also required to run FIXACLS


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