If you've ever tried to tinker with something in Vista and received a "you need permission to perform this action" warning, you know how frustrating it can be. Vista's new found "security" locks down a lot of things even if your user account has administrative privileges. I ran into a problem like this when installing Adobe Acrobat Reader 8 where the installer didn't have the permissions to run it's own exe file, or something like that.
For this example, I'll be giving my user account full read/write permissions for a random file. Again, this is just an example and I have no idea why you would ever need full read/write permissions for such a random file. The point is to show you how to overcome a "you need permission to perform this action" situation if you ever find yourself in it. Bookmark the page as you might need it down the road.
- Right-click the file and select Properties.
- Click on the Security tab.
- Click Advanced in the lower right.
- In the Advanced Security Settings window that pops up, click on the Owner tab.
- Click Edit.
- Click Other users or groups.
- Click Advanced in the lower left corner.
- Click Find Now.
- Scroll through the results and double-click on your current user account.
- Click OK to all of the remaining windows except the first Properties window.
- Select your user account from the list up top and click Edit.
- Select your user account from the list up top again and then in the pane below, check Full control under Allow, or as much control as you need.
- You'll get a security warning, click Yes.
- On some files that are essential to Windows, you'll get a "Unable to save permission changes... access is denied" warning and there's nothing that you can do about it to the best of my knowledge.
- Reconsider why you're using Windows.
That's generally how the process goes. You don't want to be doing this too often though. Should you ever get a virus in Vista, the files thought to have been protected, which you gave your account full permissions for, could easily be destroyed - not good if that's a critical system file. This probably also works in XP but I haven't used XP in a while. Vista is just a lot more protective about things so you probably never had this type of situation in Vista, or at least I haven't.
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"How To Quickie: Vista Permissions" by @Stammy