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Solved: Have locked myself out of my C Drive - Help!!

Discussion in 'Windows Vista' started by Q*bert, Mar 15, 2008.

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  1. Q*bert

    Q*bert Thread Starter

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    Hello,

    I am in trouble - I locked myself out of my C drive by accident. I had intended to simply restrict C drive access for the guest user account (using the properties>security tab), however the change carried through for my own user account.

    I get 'Access Denied' whenever I try to save anything to the C drive, access it, etc. ALSO, many control panel items have the little Microsoft 4-color security shield next to it, and I cannot access the items (when I click on them, nothing opens - like I am restricted, but there is no pop-up message).

    For instance, when I click on 'Turn User Account Control on or off', nothing happens. Also, when I try to run the command prompt as Administrator, it does not work - I get a pop-up saying 'parameter is incorrect'. Basically I have no permissions on this machine at all any longer. :confused:

    Is there anyway to regain access to my C drive?! Or, will I have to re-install Vista. I will loose a lot of data if I have to do this. Any help would be appreciated!!!

    Q*bert

    Acer Extensa 5420 Laptop
    Vista Home Premium
     
  2. crazlunatic

    crazlunatic

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    Try logging into your adminstrator account and fixing the user permissions from there. That should do the trick
     
  3. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    If you can get to a command prompt, you might be able to do this >>

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555910

    The "formal" built-in administrative account is locked by default in Vista. But if you can unlock it you should be able to reverse what you have done from the other account.
     
  4. Q*bert

    Q*bert Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the suggestions, but I can't login as the administrator (the Vista start-up screen does not offer me this possibility).

    Also, I can't run the command prompt as the administrator, when I do I get an error saying "the parameter is incorrect".

    I have tried all the command prompt instructions anyway, but nothing works.

    Any other suggestions?!
     
  5. Q*bert

    Q*bert Thread Starter

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    OK, I used safe mode to run the command prompt, and successfully activated the Administrator account (the new icon showed up in the welcome screen).

    I thought I was golden, BUT - even as the real Administrator, access to the C: Drive is still denied!!

    Worse off, my abilities to make system changes are still also severely crippled - even inside the Administrator account, I cannot do much of anything....cannot access the security tab for the C: drive, cannot uninstall a program, etc.

    I ran the cmd prompt (as Administrator) and used the 'secedit' command line to try and reset all security settings back to default. The syntax all worked out fine, and everything seemed successful within the prompt. But, this didn't help me out - I am still denied the C: drive and other permissions - event as the Administrator.

    I tried running system restore, however I am being prompted that there are no restore points saved on my machine (very strange).

    Any more ideas out there?? This is so horrible. It's looking more and more likely that I will need to format, and loose a ton of data.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Did you try to restore offline (by booting from the Vista DVD)?
     
  7. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Secedit would have been my next suggestion.

    I don't have any more "unlocking" ideas -- but all may not be lost as far as data is concerned.

    You may be able to remove the drive and access it through a USB/IDE converter.

    I'm not sure that you still won't encounter access denied restrictions -- but under a new administrator account I would expect you to be able to add that name to the securities tab since you won't actually be booting with that drive.

    In fact you could probably add any name you want.
     
  8. Q*bert

    Q*bert Thread Starter

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    I have been on with Microsoft for 2 hours !!!

    We're rapidly running out of options. I don't have a Vista DVD, but the tech did say that I should be able take back ownership via that method. I am hoping worst case this will work.

    If it doesn't, it will be on to the next - physically remove the drive and access it as an external slave. No guarentees there, but I wil do anything I can...can't loose all my files!!

    My case has been escelated to the higher levels... now have to wait for call back, tomorrow.

    What a nightmare. I can't believe how easy it is to completely cripple vista!!!
     
  9. Q*bert

    Q*bert Thread Starter

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    I DO actually have a Vista Express Upgrade DVD.... was used for another laptop, not this one. But perhaps I could still boot from it?

    If so, how would I actually perform an 'offline restore'?
     
  10. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Google the problem and you will see it has been around for a while :rolleyes:

    Best to ask your MS tech about the upgrade CD -- I don't know what options it provides; I really doubt that method though unless you reinstall to the same drive.
     
  11. Q*bert

    Q*bert Thread Starter

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    Ok, Microsoft has officially thrown-in the towel!!

    After 2hrs yesterday, and an hour today (they called back), we've exhausted all possibilities. Even booting off the Vista DVD (was able to do the 'repair your computer'>command prompt>takeown command) didn't work - access to the C drive remained denied.

    Tried system restore off the Vista DVD, but no-go: there have been no restore points saved on my machine - this was the case when I tried system restore using the default Administrator account as well. Isn't System Restore automatically taking snapshots all the time out of the box?!

    Anyway, MS refunded my $60 and I am now going to the very last resort - taking out the laptop HD, and sticking it in a 2.5 HD USB enclosure. Then, I will try to connect the drive to another machine and drag off my critical pictures, files, etc.

    I am so scared I will encounter the dreaded 'Access Denied' again.... what do you all think? MS says 80-90% of the time this will work. But, this is Vista!

    I need to go procure the enclosure tonight, we will see....can't believe it came to this.
     
  12. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Not sure what's up with System Restore -- constant activity can prevent restore points from being created. It will also not create them if you leave the system on standby for extended periods and do not give it enough normal idle time to work with.

    As would insufficient drive space -- or just not having the drive checked in the System Protection tab.

    However I'm not really sure SR works at all for Security and Permissions issues -- but I could be wrong.

    Good luck on the next method -- I think you will succeed with it. When I was "researching" your problem -- that was the only technique that succeeded and I think I saw about a half-dozen very frustrated Vista victims.

    What a hassle. I'm surprised they don't have a better handle on this by now.
     
  13. The Mechanic

    The Mechanic

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    UAC is Enabled by Default in Vista (User Access Control). And that alone creates many problems (mainly when you add third party programs). Once you are locked out of the ORIGINAL Creator (The account that created the program), you will not be able to gain access back period.

    Personally, I hope you can retrieve your files. But sometimes most learn the hard way. Please BACKUP everything on a set schedule (At least the important stuff).
     
  14. SoyYo

    SoyYo

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    If you were able to log in as an administrator there is no reason why you should not be able to take back ownership of the drive, trust me I have done this on several occasions after I first got vista. Once you are logged in as an administrator you can A) disable uac so that you won't have that problem when you log back in as a normal user and B) Right-Click on the C drive and choose properties>security>advanced on the permissions tab choose edit and then in the window that opens at the bottom there is a small box which says "replace all existing inheritable permissions on all descendants with inheritable permissions from this object" check that box and click apply then it will reset the permissions to what they were before. After this I would suggest that you turn on system protection for your c drive and/or backup all of your important files to another drive, disk or partition.
     
  15. The Mechanic

    The Mechanic

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    Yep, Have been there before. However the end user usually gets frustrated before this point and quits. What you are refering to also takes for granted that the files are NOT encrypted. Even if the end user gets to the point where they can log in with the Admin, and finally get the correct permissions setup to access the drive, the files are NOT available (I have been here before too - Attempted to get data files back online).

    This is why UAC was created in the first place, From what I understand. TO prevent others that hack (Admin) access from accessing others data? Correct me if I am wrong!:confused:

    The only thing the poster said that was strange, is the RESTORE files were not present. So either the system is disabled, or removed by a hijacker (Virus, etc). I have seen Root Kits do this before.
     
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