Windows 7 – Upgrade or Another Fiasco?

Windows 7 is a great upgrade, except for Netbooks, which seem underpowered unless you give them Linux (Ubuntu or Jolicloud, for instance). If your machine meets the resource criteria, I like Seven a lot better in many ways. ESPECIALLY the 64-bit version. But if you upgrade to Windows 7, you may run into a number of permissions issues that you’re not used to in previous editions of Windows: “access denied”, needing “administrator rights”, etc. It’ll seem crazy at first – you’re logged in as you, there’s only one you, and you’re not allowed to copy, delete, or modify your own files.

Windows 7, the latest client version in the Mi...
Image via Wikipedia

There seems to be a lot of confusion in all the tutorials and forums I’ve looked at on fixing this. I usually only share tech tips when searching the forums yields no acceptable solution. I had to create my own method, and it works for me. So here’s what I did:

  1. Activate the administrator account, but don’t use it as your main account – keep using the user you created during install. Windows 7 picks up a security feature from Linux of keeping the Administrator account for serious maintenance. Your main user that you created during installation is an administrator too, but just with a more limited subset of admin privileges. The actual Administrator account in Windows 7 is the superuser, and should only be used for doing serious things like partitioning drives. [instructions]
  2. For any files you’re getting messages about copying, select all files on the drive, right click, and make sure Read-Only is unchecked.
  3. Test each drive/partition by right clicking in it and selecting New > Text Document. If all you can create is a folder, not a text document, then proceed with steps below. If you *can* create a text document on the drive, then make sure you can edit and save the document without permissions issues.
  4. If you created new drives/partitions, and they are *empty*, then format them in Windows 7 (right click and format), *before* putting your files on them.
  5. If you’ve already stored files on them, or they are not new drives/partitions, and you cannot create a text document on them, right click the drive, go to Security > Edit and eliminate “Everyone” and “CREATOR OWNER”, then click “Add” and put in Authenticated Users (under Enter the object names to select). Click Check Names to be sure you got it right. Then OK. Then give Authenticated Users permission to “Modify”. Then OK/OK.

Note: I didn’t do item#4 with my Windows and Swap drives/partitions, because I figure the system is managing those, and casually changing files on them, as long as it’s blocked, prevents macros and malware from doing it – that’s the point of the security. You might ask ‘What’s a SWAP partition?’ I won’t go into it deeply here, because there’s plenty on the web about it (use Google), but if you have two physical hard drives, you can get a significant speed boost by separating the drive occupied by Windows itself from the drive it uses for it’s page file (swap file) – the file it uses as virtual memory to swap out data. Best practice is to limit the original swap file to a small fixed size (e.g. 1gig) and have the big swap file on a second drive. I created a 10gig partition for mine. You get more performance gain from 2 swap files than 1, and because there’s only one head on a hard drive (like a needle on a record player), you get speed from having separate drives for the operating system (Windows, Linux, Mac OS) and the swap file, so they can both be going at once. Plus, Windows won’t store critical error data without at least a 400mb or so swap file on the original Windows drive. Again, all of this is well documented on the web, so no need for my further input.

I hope this solves any Windows 7 permissions issues you’re having. It’s working great for me.  Sure, I can turn off the security feature, or bypass it by running as the superuser, but I’m not going to do that, any more than I would in Linux. This is a good step forward, finally in Windows. It’s just that, as usual, Microsoft left a lot of kinks in it, because they just don’t think like you and I. Best wishes for your success.

Update 11/23/10: I’ve experienced a plethora of painful issues with Windows 7. At times I’ve contemplated going back to XP. I never fell into the Vista abyss. But the thing is, I’ve upgraded again to 64-bit Windows 7. The 32-bit version only recognized 3gb of RAM, and I have 8gb. So I need my 64-bit, so it’s all recognized. I could dig up a copy of Windows XP 64-bit, but almost nothing is compatible with it, so that promises to be worse. Until Google finishes their operating system, it’s going to be Windows XP-64. I had to upgrade some hardware to get sound, and dual video cards have been hell – pure hell. It’s not like XP in that regard. I need 3 monitors, and I just received today yet another 2nd video card I’m trying – this time, following the Vista standard of using only homogenous cards, that changed from XP, and was supposed to have changed back in 7. I’ll find out soon if I can get away w. two cards identical except for one being PCI and the other PCI-e. Dual video has been the biggest pain, 8gb of RAM the biggest gain. Since that was my goal for going up to 64-bit, I’d call this a success with caveats. Here’s a tip: if you have a 32-bit license key, it works on 64-bit also.

Experiment: Success (with caveats)

Leave a Reply