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Print to file - access denied


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psmithphil psmithphil is offline
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21-Mar-2010, 12:17 PM #1
Print to file - access denied
I've long had a large problem when using Vista and now Windows 7. I get access denied problems when creating, accessing or searching for files that I have access to or should have access to. It is wasting a large amount of time and creating many problems, and has for a long time. I searched this site and did not find anything to solve this problem, and have searched the internet periodically and never found a workable answer.

I'm using Windows 7 Home Premium. I'm an administrator on the computer.

As an example, I went to Yahoo.com and chose "File..Print" for a test. In the dialog box I clicked "Print to File". The next dialog box asked me to provide a file name which I gave as "C:\TestPrint.htm". I then received a message "Could not open the file. Access is denied." with the title bar saying "Local Port". I looked under the Properties-Security tab for the C drive and Administrators have full control. Why am I denied access and how do I solve it?

I also run into this access problem when searching for files on my computer. When I search in file mgr (Windows Explorer), it does not search folders where access is denied at first. As an example, I was searching for a database (mdf) file. The search did not find the file. So I thought for a while and stumbled around the file mgr and found it in deep under several sub-directories. When I clicked on the folder where the file was, a message said access was denied and to click on a button to gain access. So I clicked on the button and found the file finally.
What is the point to a search failing when I have access once I click on the button? And I wasted a lot of time stumbling around to find the file.
How can I overcome these access denied problems? I never had this kind of problem in XP and before.
Thank you for your help.
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21-Mar-2010, 09:32 PM #2
By default users are not allowed to create files in the Root of a drive. You can create folders, but not files. This helps prevent autorun.inf type infections for one thing.

Most folders that Users don't have access to are set that way so Users don't accidentally delete something they shouldn't, which could make the system unbootable. Access is only allowed through the program interface, where it's less likely for a user to do something damaging.

Computer Administrators accounts have the same access as regular users when UAC is on, so you will be denied access as well. Admin accountes only need to click continue, Standard users have to enter a password.

It's just a reminder that the area you are accessing could seriously impact how the system functions.

I don't know if adding that particular folder to the Search index would allow searches to find files, you'd have to give that a try. Won't help in the case where you don't know for sure where the file is though.

Click Start, type Indexing Options, press Enter.
Click Modify, and you can change the folders that are Indexed.

You can always turn off UAC and make it act more like XP.
Click Start, type user accounts, press Enter.
Click Change User Account Control settings, and adjust as desired.
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psmithphil psmithphil is offline
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21-Mar-2010, 10:26 PM #3
Very smart! So I could make a shortcut to User Account control settings, and when I want to make a complete search, I could turn off the UAC and then turn it back on when the search is over. That will save me a lot of grief.

I also tried saving the file to "c:\Temp1\testFile.htm" and it worked fine. I will just refrain from saving to the root.

Thank you for your outstanding help!
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22-Mar-2010, 09:03 AM #4
Well, heck!
I turned off the UAC in Windows 7 by going into the Control Panel and choosing "User Accounts" and then clicking "Change User Account Control Settings", and put it on the lowest setting (Never Notify). I had to reboot to make the new setting take affect. I looked in Help and it said setting it to the lowest setting turns UAC off, like I wanted. Then I tried searching and I still get the access denied messages. I can't search in places like Documents and Settings and Program Files. Some of my programs, like PDF4NET, save files in Program Files, so it really screws things up not being able to search everywhere.

I thought turning off UAC would solve the problem, but I guess not. Any ideas?
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22-Mar-2010, 12:06 PM #5
I have a "Junk" folder at the root of all my systems. This allows one to save any file type there and I know it is just that and can be deleted any time. This way I do not need to turn off the UAC and keep being protected.
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22-Mar-2010, 03:23 PM #6
Actually there is no folder named Documents and Settings, in Vista/Win 7 is been changed to Users. The Documents and Settings shortcut you see (if you have the system set to show hidden and system files) is a Junction point for old programs to use. It redirects them to the new location for the user profiles. There is nothing inside of it as it's not a folder.
Search instead inside C:\Users.

Program Files is searchable, but your files won't be there. Writes to the Program Files tree get redirected to a virtual store in each user's profile.
The files will be located here:
C:\Users\<Username>\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\<Program Name>.

Most programs allow you to change the default save location. If this one does you can change it to a more accessible location.

Program Files is restricted to heighten security. Makes it harder for malware using your credentials to infect program files if it doesn't have write access to the folder. Programs should be saving data in one of the user's folders, or one of the Public folders, and not in the Program Files folder.
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23-Mar-2010, 02:39 PM #7
When I look for my .mdf files, I only see them in "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.SQLSERVER2008\MSSQL\DATA" directory, and not under C:\Users. Now that I've clicked on the security button in that Program Files directory, the Search succeeds. But the Search didn't succeed until I stumbled around and found the file I wanted. So the search was useless and misleading. How many other files am I not finding because of this problem? I don't have a way of knowing.

I used a program called FileSeek to search with, to see if it was better than the Windows Explorer Search. That is where I got the access denied messages for Documents and Settings and Programs Files. There is no such feedback with Windows Explorer Search. But I understand what you said about some folders being Junction Points, and it sounds like a good idea, but it doesn't help me with obtaining successful searches.

I understand the need for securing directories and such, and welcome it. But I need to get by the restricted search problem. At this point, I still don't see a good way around it. Am I missing your points? Do you ever have this problem? Can you search everywhere on your hard drive, or do you have the same restrictions I have?

Please know I appreciate everyone's efforts here.
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23-Mar-2010, 03:04 PM #8
Quote:
Can you search everywhere on your hard drive,
I think so. In Windows Explorer: Tools - Folder Options - Search tab - are you including system directories? Attached shows my options. If I start a search from a drive level I seem to find "everything."
Attached Thumbnails
Print to file - access denied-capture.png  
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23-Mar-2010, 05:45 PM #9
Now that you mention it I did add the drive to the Index, excluding the Windows folder and a few others. I'd forgotten I did that.
Click Start, type Index, click Indexing Options when it appears in the list.
The attachments shows how I have mine set.

If I want to search one of the excluded locations I have to browse to it first.
Attached Thumbnails
Print to file - access denied-indexoptions1.jpg   Print to file - access denied-indexoptions2.jpg  
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24-Mar-2010, 08:19 PM #10
Well, heck, I want to search AppData and other directories you excluded. I just want to be the only one who can do it.
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25-Mar-2010, 09:38 AM #11
TheOutcaste showed exclusions from indexing. They appear to be mostly defaults, as I have mostly the same list and never knew that option was available. If you have your search options set the way I do whether or not those folders are excluded from the index will only impact the speed of the search.
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25-Mar-2010, 07:42 PM #12
I see Terry, the index only indicates what will be indexed for faster searching. Including or excluding does not affect what is actually searched. If I exclude nothing in the Indexing, I still won't be able to search everywhere.

I guess there is no solution to this issue. This is neither "unsolved" or "solved". How do you mark a question "unsolvable"?

Last edited by psmithphil; 26-Mar-2010 at 09:03 AM..
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