Root Directories in Recent Windows

While reviewing an upcoming article of mine, a friend mentioned that some of his students are having trouble creating root directories in Windows; for example a directory such as C:\project. This certainly isn’t the case on any Windows system I own, but they’re all running Windows 2000.

Has anyone heard of anything like this? Do recent versions of XP or Vista require that all user created files be placed in C:\Documents and Settings\Username or some such? Can anyone confirm or deny this? Maybe it depends on whether or not you’re running as Administrator?

4 Responses to “Root Directories in Recent Windows”

  1. Johnny K Says:

    I’ve seen this happen for users that have not been given a login (e.g. postgres user that is created to launch the PostgreSQL service) but never for ordinary user accounts.

    The Security tab on the Folder Options dialog (explorer.exe – Tools->Folder Options) will list all the permissions. It’s probable that the systems have been locked down to prevent such directory creation. I presume this is happening on machines in a lab?

  2. Augusto Says:

    There are some restrictions on Vista, I first read about this ironically in a Sun blog;

    There is another related issue also worth noting: Vista itself has proclaimed various directories off-limits for writing. For example, it is no longer possible (or at least no longer trivial) to save files to the root directory (C:\) or to other system-level folders; non-administrator users are typically restricted to writing only within their home directories. This change will affect not only applets, like the IE7 sandbox constraints noted above, but also standalone and Java Web Start applications. This is obviously not a Java-specific problem, but is one that our users must deal with just like they will have to deal with it in other native applications; files must be saved in Vista-friendly locations.

  3. anjan bacchu Says:

    hi Elliotte,

    I know of a system running win2k SP2 which lets non-administrators create directories on root . This non-admin user
    can create a directory on root on a FAT32 file system.

    can you update once you find a solution.

    Johnny K : Your answer sounds convincing.


  4. Jeff Says:

    On Windows XP, by default a normal user account (sometimes called ‘limited user’) does not have permission to write anywhere outside their user profile directories. If you want to allow users to do so, you have to adjust the default NTFS security permissions.

    Administrators can write anywhere, of course. (And FAT partitions have no security at all).

    Similalrly, a limited user cannot write outside their own user hive in the registry.

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