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Using ZEN to Modify NTFS Permissions

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By James Davey

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Posted: 6 Jun 2002

I have found many useful solutions on Cool Solutions, and am happy to contribute one of my own.

How many times have we used NAL to distribute an application to a Windows NT/2000 user only to find that they have insufficient NTFS file system permissions to run the program? This is particularly true if users are only members of the Users group or if you're installing a legacy application.

I work in a school system where all students are very restricted on the Win2K workstations and where teachers have a number of old legacy applications that I must make work with W2K. Since we are dealing with several hundred workstations, remotely installing the application with NAL and then having a tech visit each workstation to modify file system rights where necessary was taking up way too much time.

With this solution, they all like me again!

I have found a simple way of modifying NTFS permissions during the installation of an application through NAL. It utilizes Microsoft's XCACLS.EXE utility which is available on the Windows 2000 Resource Kit or can be downloaded from Microsoft's site.

To incorporate the utility into your NAL object, create a batch file (e.g. NTFSRights.bat) with lines similar to below:

\\server\volume\path\xcacls c:\AppFolder /g administrators:f /y /t /c
\\server\volume\path\xcacls c:\AppFolder /g "Power Users":c /y /t /e /c
\\server\volume\path\xcacls c:\AppFolder /g users:c /y /t /e /c

The first part of each line simply points to the XCACLS executable on your network. The next part (c:AppFolder) is the path to the folder or file that needs file permission changes. The next part specifies rights to be given. For example, in the first line above it says "Give administrators full rights" (/g administrators:f). After that are parameters specifying how the rights are to be distributed. They are documented in Q318754 available at, but the ones above should be sufficient.

After you have created the batch file, add it into your NAL object under the tab "Run after Distribution". It should look like this: @\\server\volume\path\NTFSRights.bat.

That's all you need to do and your application and any NTFS permission changes necessary to make it run properly will be delivered in one clean shot! Be sure to run the application object as a system user.

Download a sample batch file.

If you have any questions you may contact James at

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