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Thread: I hosed winsxs

  1. #1
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    I hosed winsxs

    Windows 7, SP1.

    My C drive was running out of space and I needed to clear some space on it before replacing the drive with a bigger drive. Searching for stuff I figured I could delete, I stumbled across the winsxs directory. Not realizing that it contained critical stuff, I highlighted a big chunk of it and cut the highlighted directories, then pasted them to a different drive.

    After doing this, I realized I had made a terrible error... the system would no longer boot.

    Okay, I sez to myself... I'll just paste that stuff back in the winsxs directory and everything will be back the way it was before I screwed things up.

    Now the problem... Windows won't allow me to write to that directory. I don't have permission to restore the stuff that Windows helpfully supplied me with permission to remove. I'm working as a fully privileged administrator.

    How the heck do I restore the stuff to winsxs?

    Thanks

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    How are you accessing that system?

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    I can access the drives by connecting them to another system.

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    And Windows still won't let you move the things you want to?

    I don't know if it will work, but from checking winsxs, permissions are pretty much restricted. While you have the drive attached to another system, you can try and use TakeOwnership to take ownership of the folder and see if that makes a difference. If it does not, after taking ownership, check the permissions, making sure the user from the computer where you are using the disks now has full control over the folder, or at least write permissions.

    If you fix it, it will probably be advisable to restore ownership to TrustedInstaller, once you have the system working again.

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    polymike (2013-03-10)

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    I've tried take ownership; however, in this case, it's not working as it does in other folders. Normally take ownership applied to a folder establishes ownership for the selected folder and all its files and subfolders but when I've tried it, I'm still denied write privilege. I'm working on a batch file to iterate through all the subdirectories in winsxs and execute take ownership but the take ownership code has a variable embedded in it (%1) and I haven't had a chance to figure out what that variable represents. Even if I figure out what that variable represents and how to store and access that variable, I'm still not optimistic that take ownership will work.

    If I do fix it, I do not know how to restore ownership to TrustedInstaller; I've never encountered TrustedInstaller before. I'm guessing that's a user? If so, could it be that if I could figure out a way to log on as TrustedInstaller, I might then have the privilege I require?

    The hard way that I'm thinking I might have to use is to take a bare drive formatted as FAT32 and rebuild my C drive on that. FAT32 doesn't have all the more sophisticated permissions that NTFS and the newer version Windows Vista and above use (can't remember what it's called right now). If I can get the system working off a FAT32 drive I ought to then be able to then build a new NTFS drive from that.

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    You can try and play with the permissions manually, once you have set yourself ownership of the winsxs folder. That's all you really need, to have permissions on that folder, so that you can write to it.

    TrustedInstaller is a user, yes, so it will be easy to restore ownership back.

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    I should have said it earlier, you need to have Windows Explorer running as administrator to make this work. Right click the Explorer icon and choose Run as Administrator.

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    One quick question about Run as Administrator... I use that a lot but I've never understood whether that gives me greater privilege than running as my logged-in user which is also defined as an administrator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by polymike View Post
    One quick question about Run as Administrator... I use that a lot but I've never understood whether that gives me greater privilege than running as my logged-in user which is also defined as an administrator.
    It does. While you are the administrator, you don't really have the highest privileges when dealing with files, unless you choose the option to Run as Administrator. It's a security measure, since most people usually work in Windows under Administrator accounts and Microsoft tried to limit some of the permissions, to avoid malware related issues.

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    It does. While you are the administrator, you don't really have the highest privileges when dealing with files, unless you choose the option to Run as Administrator. It's a security measure, since most people usually work in Windows under Administrator accounts and Microsoft tried to limit some of the permissions, to avoid malware related issues.
    Is there a way to create a user I can log in as that's a real administrator instead of just a faux administrator. I own the system, I own the network and I want to have complete privilege when I log in to my system.

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    No, that is not possible. As I said, it's a safety measure intended to diminish the risk of malware messing up system important files.

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    It does gall me that Microsoft "helpfully" prevents me from managing things the way I consider appropriate. I've already diminished the risk of malware messing up system important files. <grrr>

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    Don't mind me saying so, but they should have prevented you from "hosing" winsxs .

    It's always a cat and mouse chase, actually. For more knowledgeable users, these restrictions are annoying, for others they may actually be a need. I don't like them, but I understand them. These changes came after the big security issues experienced by the early versions of XP and they did improve things a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    Don't mind me saying so, but they should have prevented you from "hosing" winsxs .
    Yes... if they're going to prevent me from adding files to that directory they should also have prevented me from deleting files from that directory. I made that very statement last night when discussing this dilemma with a friend.

    So where do I find the default password for TrustedInstaller?

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    Quote Originally Posted by polymike View Post
    So where do I find the default password for TrustedInstaller?
    There is no way that I know of to logon as TrustedInstaller.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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