|Summary/Abstract of Problem: Windows Vista tells me I "do not have permission" to access certain files and folders (photos, in this case) which I created/downloaded from other sources (attachments to e-mails, my own camera, etc.) under a Windows XP environment. Obviously, I need to re-obtain access to them.|
Last fall I archived a huge number of photos (mostly .jpg files, plus some .gif & miscellaneous others) onto an external hard drive, in order to free up disk space on my laptop, which was a 5-year old Toshiba Satellite running Windows XP (Service Pack 2). This was in preparation for upgrading XP to SP3, and I was already having problems with low free hard disk space. I copied the "My Photos" folder (sub-folder within "My Documents" in XP) entirely, to preserve my existing sub-folder structure. Then I kept on my hard drive only those photos I thought I might need on a day-to-day basis, or when I was traveling (without the external hard drive). BTW, I also did an analogous process with "My Music."
At Christmas, I received a new Toshiba Satellite laptop with Windows Vista (Home Premium edition) pre-installed. I decided to use the same system (all of my photos and music archived on the external drive; selected portions of both collections on my hard drive; periodic review of the external drive/hard drive allocation with import to/export from the hard drive as needed). This seemed to be working fine, up until Saturday night.
I'm a non-techie user, with some expertise I have picked up along the way. Mostly, the upgrade to Vista has not given me major problems (yet), but Saturday night threw up something which has me totally stumped. I was reviewing my external drive/hard drive allocation (as above), and discovered that Windows Vista thinks I "do not have permission" to access certain photo files (and in some cases, whole sub-folders of photos) on my external drive. In Windows Explorer (large icon view), most photo files and folders had a recognizable thumbnail as an icon, but some had a "generic" icon--these are the ones I'm denied access to.
After doing a little reading at Microsoft's Help website, I decided to try right-clicking the file in question, selecting "Properties," selecting the "Security" tab, and changing the properties on it. I really was blundering around, since I didn't know the meaning of all the choices I was presented with, but I "accidentally" made the file accessible this way (i.e., now I don't think I can reproduce what I did). This was at about midnight Saturday night.
I should have quit while I was ahead, leaving further research until Sunday, when my brain would be in better shape. But I was contemplating with dismay the idea of reviewing 1000's of files to find the 100's that had a problem with their permissibility, and fixing them one-by-one. I decided that, before I went to bed, I should try to apply the change I had just discovered "globally" (to the whole folder of archived photos). Well, you guessed it--I did something wrong, and now I am denied "permission" to open the folder at all, as well as permission to try to change the properties back to where I had them before. Obviously, this proves I can't reproduce the steps I took just before (see last paragraph), even though I thought I could.
Well, I was up until about 4 AM trying to find answers, on MS's discussion groups and through Google! on the internet. I infer from some theoretical discussions I've read that, as a single-user/owner in an XP environment, I was accustomed to certain privileges which MS's engineers decided to deny to users (even to "administrators") under Vista. Why this should affect my own data, in a situation like this, is totally beyond me, but hey, I guess that's just the Microsoft Way. I also gather that it is possible to make some sort of change in my user status that will make me some sort of "super-administrator" who won't get denied permission for anything (and, coincidentally, will never have to see that annoying "are you sure?" pop-up dialog box that us mere mortals have to look at dozens of times per day). I also gather that this course is fraught with the peril of unintended consequence. Invoking this change involves command-line directions, and the comments on that subject were confusing (and contradictory), so I wasn't brave enough at 3 AM to try it.
I may find all of this fasciniating some other time when I'm not sleep-deprived, but meanwhile I'm hoping to find practical (something step-by-step that I can follow) advice, intelligible to a non-techie, that will help me to a) access the whole folder again in Windows Explorerer, and then b) address the issue of access to the photos, hopefully in a way more efficient than changing the attributes on hundreds of jpg files individually.
I could really use a hand from someone who has dealt with this personally, knows how to handle it (I don't need guesses), and is patient enough to explain it to me. I know I made a big mistake changing the folder attributes without knowing what I was doing, and would really appreciate a non-judgmental answer on how to fix it (I've already scolded myself, thank you; you don't need to do it again).
Saturday night reading posts at the MS discussion groups--several of whom seemed to have my exact problem--I felt torched, even second-hand, from all the flames in the response threads. Plus any posts from a non-techie female bring all the misogynists out of the woodwork (I guess no one is moderating these groups). I had to take a shower last night before I could fall asleep--that's how unclean it made me feel to read all of them. So I'm scared to post this on one of the Microsoft groups. This seems like a kindler, gentler group. Hope someone can help. Thanks in advance.
christopher paul brown