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Understand NTFS default permissions

Where to find the info you need.

We all know, or should, that using NTFS as the file system in Windows 2000 for the workstations in your company...

is the better security decision to make, although there may be a slight performance hit when using this file system. When you upgrade to Windows 2000, of course, you get the option of installing NTFS or using the FAT system. The former requires a "clean install," which means you must wipe out the computer's drive and restore all the data in some way. Still, it's worth it for the security available. But when you do this, there are some default permissions the installer grants, and you need to know what they are and where they're applied.

The NTFS filing system has been around since the introduction of Windows NT. As we know this filing system offers much more enhanced security features than the standard FAT system.

Administrators should, however, be aware of the various permissions that are used, especially when sharing a drive, so that they can, if necessary, change some of the default settings. Since the list of permissions is lengthy I have included the following link, which should be used as a guide for administrators and anyone one else who might be interested in the various permission that are available when sharing a resource.

This link will take you to the Microsoft TechNet page. Simply type Q244600 (the knowledge based article) then click the go button.

(If you're upgrading to Windows XP, you have the option to convert to NTFS after installation, by starting a command window and then executing the CONVERT command. For permissions in XP, click this link:;en-us;290403.)

Adesh Rampat has 10 years experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association Of Internet Professionals, the Institute For Network Professionals, and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.

This was last published in February 2003

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